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King David's Spaceship Mass Market Paperback – July, 1991

38 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, July, 1991
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671720686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671720681
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,770,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write science fact and fiction. Themes range from trivial amusements to how to save the world. In 1980 I predicted that by the year 2000 anyone in Western Civilization would be able to get the answer to any question that can be answered; that happened a bit faster than I thought it would. My column in BYTE is the longest running column in the computer industry.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Markley on November 11, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is a real shame to see this book out of print. Janissaries by the same author seems to have been a popular book, and for those who liked that, they should definately give this a look. It combines similar themes of modern military knowledge with ancient military situations, but without the hardware available to Tran's mercenaries. It is set in the same universe as the Mote in God's Eye, at almost exactly the same time, which gives it an interesting context for those who follow this author. However, the plotline has almost nothing to do with Moties. Rather it is the case of a world at roughly industrial revolution level which is faced with the prospect of forceable reunification into the human empire. They discover that the only way to retain any kind of autonomy is to show that they can independently launch a spaceship. People from their world are forbidden to travel to any "higher" level planet, but are allowed to travel to planets classified as being in a primitive state. They send a team, led by one of their soldiers to another planet which is in a state of medieval technology, but where a galactic library survives. In the process of recovering vital information, they are forced to mobilise the local population to defeat the equivalent of a Mongol horde. An interesting military situation, mixed in with all sorts of historical and science fiction elements. It deserves wider attention, and certainly to be available in print. Thank God I already have a copy!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on August 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Colonel Nathan MacKinnie is bitter about the world. The Imperial Navy has propped up the Havenite government and wiped out MacKinnie's resistance killing the woman he loves while doing so. When King David of Haven asks for MacKinnie's assistance, he has decidedly mixed feelings. Still, the choices available for a retired colonel in a losing army are limited.
With help from the Imperial Navy and Imperial merchants, MacKinnie and a small group of associates leave Prince Samual's World to journey to Makassar, an even less advanced planet which happens to contain an ancient First Empire library. If MacKinney can learn enough, Prince Samual's World stands a chance to become a full member of the Empire rather than simply another colony world.
KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP is an intriguing 'fish out of water' story. MacKinnie and his collegues are from a low-technology world by the standards of the Empire, but have far more advanced technologies than those available on Makassar. Unfortunately, they are forbidden to use these technologies, and Makassar is bound and determined not to let anyone have access to the library, which they regard as a holy place. Somehow MacKinnie must take what he knows and dominate the Makassar civilization--without Imperial soldiers learning anything about it. His military background gives him hope, but what can he do against the tens of thousands of barbarians threatening the ancient temple city?
KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP is set in the motie world created by Pournelle and his frequent collaborator Larry Niven, but can be read without any knowledge of the excellent MOTE IN GOD'S EYE novel.
It's great to see this novel back in print.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I liked this novel a lot. It is set in the same universe as "The Mote in God's Eye" and takes place contemporaneously with that novel's story. In this one, the Empire of Man has discovered a colony world of humans that had been bombed back into a technological level about equivalent to Earth in 1900 or so. The Empire's technology is obviously centuries ahead of the colony's, and the Empire has strict rules about how such backward colonies, which lack space travel, are to be assimilated into the Empire. The plan involves bringing in favored persons from the Empire and more or less supplanting the local aristocrats with a new nobility. The locals are expected to submit or else.

The ruling folk on the colony get wind of this plan, which the Empire is concealing from them, and hatch a scheme of their own to avoid being subjigated. More would be telling, but this is actually an engaging and imaginative tale that I have returned to and enjoyed several times.

As always, Pournelle does a great job describing ground warfare with ancient weapons (pikes and spears, mostly) and the characterizations in this novel are pretty good. I enjoyed this one more than "The Mote in God's Eye" and I highly recommended it to anyone who enjoys a good military-political science fiction novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Dennis Murphy on September 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
King David's Spaceship... NOT about the Biblical King David! It's a fascinating story that includes medieval, early 20th century, and far future cultures and their technologies. Its main characters we come to know and care deeply about in the course of the story. Their use of early 20th-century knowledge in a medieval world is as interesting as the relationship of their world to the far-future technology of the stellar empire that their world wants to join. There is a brief reference to contemporary events in Pournelle's "Mote in God's Eye" novel, but other than that, the stories are independent.

I first found the book in my local library, but enjoyed it so much I bought it from Amazon as a gift for someone else.
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