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A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows Hardcover – Unabridged, 1974

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 13 of 14 in the Technic History Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The bestselling author of such classic novels as Brain Wave and The Boat of a Million Years, Poul Anderson won just about every award the science fiction and fantasy field has to offer. He has won multiple Hugos and Nebulas, the John W. Campbell Award, The Locus Poll Award, the Skylark Award, and the SFWA Grandmaster Award for Lifetime Achievement. His recent books include Harvest of Stars, The Stars are also On Fire, Operation Chaos, Operation Luna, Genesis, Mother of Kings, and Going for Infinity, a collection and retrospective of his life's work. Poul Anderson lived in Orinda, California where he passed away in 2001.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Nelson Doubleday (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0839825234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0839825234
  • ASIN: B0006CLRXQ
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,647,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anderson's recurring hero, Dominic Flandry, is like Horatio Hornblower, shown at different points of his career. In this, he is middle-aged, with a grown son...and in his final battle with a mind-reading foe from an elder race he has fought many times before. It is their final battle, and in it Flandry is not only betrayed, but goes through a self-betrayal of many of the principles he believes in. In this one, Flandry ceases to be a pleasure-loving, decadent Simon Templer, and instead shows true depth of character, and indeed, true tragedy, on several fronts. Easily the best of all the Flandry books, which is high praise indeed
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In "A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows," Poul Anderson did the nearly impossible and unthinkable before this book. He managed to get Dominic Flandry to grow up.
Before this book, Flandry, while a brilliant secret agent for the Terran Empire, always was a bit juvenile, and reveled in it. He figured that if he was going to die soon anyway (as secret agents rarely live long lives), why not make the best of it? So, he slept with many lissome women, ate lots of good food, and drank lots of great liquor along the way.
His other attributes, of loyalty, self-sacrifice, intelligence, a certain type of shifty honesty unusual in a secret agent -- well, they always were underplayed, partly because Flandry was an interstellar James Bond and that might not have been "sexy," and partly because Flandry looked at them as bad qualities.
Well, no wonder. The Terran Empire was in decay, and only people like him were holding it together, before the advent of this book. At the start of this book, Hans Molitor has seized the throne -- with Flandry's blessing, as at least he was a strong military man, and as he was better than any of the other contenders for the throne. And trouble's brewing all over the Empire . . . .
Without the trouble, there's no way Flandry would have been able to go off on his own. He's now in his 40s, and although he's still an international bon vivant, he's not the same man he used to be. He's found out he has a son, Dominic Hazeltine, by Persis D'Io (the dancer in "Ensign Flandry), and he's starting to perhaps slow down a bit in his travels.
But his mind is as keen as ever, so when an exotic, aristocratic slave girl from Dennitza shows up, his interest is piqued. The more he finds out, the more upset he gets.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's amazing what a slight shift in venue can do. For those who have been following the Flandry adventures in their rough order, there's not a huge amount of difference between the very first one and the ones that make up the middle sequences. In his first story we get to watch him learn how to be Flandry, and then once he hits his stride he tends to coast on that in all the subsequent stories. He wants to wine and dine, the Long Night is constantly looming and Mersians are around every corner trying to make the Empire cave in on itself. What's a man to do when all he wants to do is wear some stylin' clothes? Despite all the serious espionaging going on, there's sometimes an oddly frivolous sense to these affairs, that both he and the Mersians are just going through their paces, confronting each other with bizarre death traps and scenarios to see who can blink first. Flandry schemes his way about of just another one and with a sigh heads off to find the next lovely woman or delicious meal.

But sometimes the stories cut a little bit deeper. It's that heavier philosophical foundation, a little more self-reflection, that mark the very good Flandry stories from the merely decent ones. "Ensign Flandry" is one, if only because its the innovator. "The Rebel Worlds" is another, showing what happens when Flandry decides to get as serious as the universe around him, and quits playing around. The stark inevitability of it all feels realer, the stakes slightly higher.

This is one of the better ones. We have an abrupt shift into the Latter Days of Flandry, where suddenly our old friend has a son (probably more than one, the book realistically admits, as Flandry is a fan of the ladies and there's rarely time to ponder about birth control . . .
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Format: Hardcover
In his never-ending battle to hold back the Long Night that faces the crumbling empire, Sir Dominic Flandry investigates a planetary system where some sort of intrigue threatens unity. The intrigue turns out to be more than a local incident, but a major threat to the empire from the reptilian Mereians which seeks to weaken the empire for future war. Good story. Great finish from one of the best of the science fiction fraternity of writers
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