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As best I can tell, I read this book about 25 years ago when I borrowed it from the local library, and yet I never managed to pick up a copy for my very own, a failing I remedied when I saw the Baen 50th anniversary edition, with a plethora of loving introductions and the 1983 short story sequel "Quest". All of those parts add a little more meat to the book, for all in large part they consist of modern sci-fi authors admitting "I ripped off The High Crusade when I wrote X". Silverberg's introduction also points out some of the humour and in-jokes Anderson slipped in to his work: I'm sure there is a lot more there too.

As to the story itself, what can I say? All the other reviews are right: this is about knights in space, full of God and the right and Englishness (in all its Saxon-Viking-Norman glory). The tale is both completely improbable and improbably gripping. You think "that could never happen" and then you think - because you want to - well, hold on, I suppose...

It also helps if you sometimes look around at civilisation and wonder how we'd cope with a sudden invasion of take-no-prisoners barbarians.

This is sci-fi, adventure, tragedy and comedy. You laugh out loud at the audacity of writing it, and wonder whether Anderson ever read (and expanded the concept in) Manly Wade Wellman's "Day of the Conquerors" out of Amazing Stories magazine. Its just good clean fun at its finest. You can't ask for more than that.
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on 1 September 2009
There are far too few sf works that are humorous in nature, most choosing instead the biting form of satire, often with very bleak outlooks. Not so this book, that has to be one of the funniest romps ever conceived. For when the blue-skinned aliens land in 14th century England, they are met by that nastiest of creatures, humans, all dressed up in preparation for a war against France, but more than happy to seize this opportunity to defeat these obvious spawns of Satan.

'Tis a rollicking good adventure spun here, as our knights overwhelm by force, guile, diplomacy, and threats of torture (as only good English knights know how to administer). As the saying goes, the poor aliens never knew what hit them. And there is just enough plausibility to the scenarios and actions that your disbelief can easily be held in abeyance while reading this, as your humor meter keeps itself pegged well into the laugh zone. There's even a message here that many military commanders should heed, that decisiveness, surprise, and strength of will can often defeat an enemy with far greater weaponry and numbers.

This work was nominated for the 1961 Hugo Award, where it had the misfortune to be up against the great Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, but certainly belonging in the august company of Hugo worthy works.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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on 23 August 2013
One of the all-time classics of science fiction/fantasy literature. A tremendously enjoyable romp. If you like spaceships and you like longbows you'll like this.
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on 6 April 2015
Medieval English village is visited by aliens. Chaos ensues. A companion for a long time, this book explores the notion of medieval society being affected, and in turn affecting an advanced civilsation.

Great fun from one of the masters of SF.
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on 18 September 2006
If you liked David Drake's Legion of Bronze then you should enjoy this masterfull romp as Norman/English take on the aliens on the aliens home turf.
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on 8 May 2014
8/10
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