Originally published in serial form in 1974. Also known as Knight Flandry.
Sir Dominic Flandry, Knight in Earth's Imperial Space Navy, gazed at the many pinpricks of light that filled the viewscreen of his starship. This important bit of Imperial space held an estimated four million solar systems. Maybe half of those had been visited at least once. About a hundred thousand worlds of theirs belonged to the Terran Empire, though for most planets the connection was tenuous. There were too many environments, races, cultures and lives. No mind, no government could know the whole, let along cope.
Nevertheless that sprawl of planets, peoples and provinces had to cope somehow – or see the dreaded Long Night fall. Barbarians, who had gotten spaceships and nucleonics too early in their history, prowled just outside the Terran borders – waiting for an opportune moment to attack and bring new worlds under their domination.
Genres: science fiction
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) was born in Pennsylvania of Scandinavian stock. He started publishing science fiction in 1947 and became one the great figures in the genre, serving as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winning many Hugo and Nebula awards, and also winning the Gandalf (Grand Master) Award.