Sir Dominic Flandry The Last Knight of Terra
Baen, Dec 7 2010, $13.00
“Earthman, Go Home”. Although the natives prefer he leave, Captain Sir Dominic Flandry of the Intelligence Corps, Imperial Terrestrial Navy visits the lost world Unan Besar. His mission is to bring the planet back into the Terran Empire before the Merseians use it as a military base.
“Hunters of the Sky Cave”. Flandry helps a woman escape from a Merseian supported insurgency while setting up a counterinsurgency, but ponders that “We Claim These Stars” even while the Terran Empire will go the way of previous superpowers during the Long Night
“The Warriors from Nowhere”. Flandry battles his Merseian adversary Aycharaych, who has the advantage of telepathy.
"A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows". The Terran Empire is rapidly decaying as fortyish Flandry knows due partly from high level corruption. When Molitor seizes control, Flandry supports him as he believes a strong military leader is the only hope to prevent the Empire from imploding immediately. He also recently learns he has a son after a tryst with Persis the dancer and begins one with aristocratic slave Kossara from Dennitza. However, he will soon find out that his greatest success leaves him empty with nothing more than pride for accomplishing his job, no challenges left that matters, and a despondent look back at what he achieved and what he failed at.
The four reprints are entertaining tales of outer space daring do. The first three star the carefree James Bond in space swashbuckling hero, which feel somewhat repetitive although Hunters of the Sky Cave hint at a darker outlook. The last contribution is superb as a middle age Flandry muses that all he did over the last couple of decades was place his thumb in the dyke while the slow flood of rot and decay spreads; he concludes he slowed down the death of the empire as all nations turn to stardust.