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    KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP by Jerry Pournelle

    Simon and Schuster, 1980

    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 Jerry Pournelle (see other reviews of novels by this author) and his frequent collaborator Larry Niven, but can be read without any knowledge of the excellent MOTE IN GOD'S EYE novel.

    Four Stars

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