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The High Crusade

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,871 ratings  ·  127 reviews
In the year of grace 1345, as Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville is gathering an army to join King Edward III in the war against France, a most astonishing event occurs: a huge silver ship descends through the sky and lands in a pasture beside the little village of Ansby in northeastern Lincolnshire. The Wersgorix, whose scouting ship it is, are quite expert at taking over pla ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published March 1st 1978 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1960)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nataliya
Your regular garden-variety Englishman in 1345 had a few things to worry about: the Hundred Year War, the general conditions of life in the not-so-pleasant Middle Ages, and - if they had a working crystal ball - the merciless arrival of the Black Death in three short years.

None of these worries normally included traipsing through the galaxy on a captured spaceship ("Lo! It was as a miracle!"), fighting the aliens' advanced technologies with lances and trebuchets, and reshaping the galaxy in acco
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
The aliens landed in Medieval times and were ready for an easy conquest of a backward world...till the knights rushed the ship and got inside and the aliens were defeated..and the ship lifted off in auto-pilot....

The plot sounds a bit hokey but it made such a good story. I think it could have made an ever better one, but my imagination took the original and ran with it. Fun, enjoyable, imaginative, original (nothing like it then and only variations since). As I said I like it. If it were written
...more
Apatt
The idea that earth can resist an alien invasion is fairly ludicrous given that the aliens would have to travel light years across the universe to get here, so their level of technology and weaponry must be vastly superior to ours. Poul Anderson, a scifi legend, was well aware of this, and he carefully created an amusing scenario where such a thing is at least plausible. Anderson was a versatile author, books like Tau Zero and Brain Wave and The High Crusade are all very different (not to mentio ...more
Nikki
I love Poul Anderson. It amazes me that he can write such masterful and complex works as The Broken Sword and something as silly and fun as The High Crusade, and make both equally enjoyable to me. The basic premise of this book is medieval Englishmen from around the time of the crusades, in space, brazening it out and taking over the universe. It is all dealt with very lightly, but there's still moments that are touching and emotionally compelling too -- Lady Catherine's words at the end of the ...more
Erik Graff
Jul 23, 2008 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boys
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
During the long summers without playmates at grandmother's cottage in southwest Michigan, I drew and read a lot when it was too lousy outside to spend a day with my dog, Jimmy. The beach, though nearby, had lost its charm after the first days of summer. There was none of the aesthetic concern for having a good tan which became a motivation in adolescence. If I joined the folks down there at all, I'd mostly read, only stepping in the water to cool off on the hotest days. Sometimes, however, I'd r ...more
Nate
The premise of this book made it an instabuy for me; a bunch of rough Hundred Years War era English dudes preparing to cross the channel and fuck up the French when this alien lands and starts being a total dick. The soldiers do the predictably human thing and slaughter the hell out of him and his buddies. Then they take over the ship and are forced into flying to the aliens' homeworld by a sneaky use of autopilot by the alien captive. I don't even remember what the hell these aliens were called ...more
Werner
Nov 12, 2010 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science fiction fans
The late Poul Anderson was one of the giants of the SF genre (actually, he wrote in all of the speculative genres) in the later 20th century, and this work is certainly a classic. (It's also the only Anderson novel that I've read, though I've enjoyed several of his short stories as well.)

With one of the most original premises (accurately set forth in the Goodreads description above) that I've ever encountered, Anderson uses a mildly humorous tone in much of this book, but it has its serious side
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This novel is a wonderful romp. In 1345, Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville repels blue-skinned aliens who land their ship in his pasture. He boards his forces and the entire village of Ansby on the ship and demands a captured alien take them to France to join the English king. Instead the alien takes them to his planet where he's sure the Earthmen will be easily disposed of. Except... Well, you'll have to read.

The novel is great fun--a short, fast-paced read told as the first person account of Bro
...more
Lyn
The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, tells the unlikely but made to seem plausible tale of an alien invasion of earth in the 1300s.

The aliens made a cosmic blunder by messing with an English baron and his fiefdom. What ensues is a story that must be read to be believed and it is hard to put down. While reading this I could not help but recall scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, especially the scenes with Michael Palin as the lord of the castle in the swamps, saying, “Please! This is supp
...more
Jack
Okay... he wrote this one for fun. It has a Monty Pythonish meets Black Adderishly flavored absurd plot; A scout-ship/UFO from Wersgorix, crash-lands in the fields of the bumbling Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville who is trying to raise an Army to head off to the Crusades to "kill Saracens and bring back a fortune in gold and silver." Mostly to bring back the fortune.

de Tourneville is almost a stereotypical jock, more concerned with the sport of killing Saracens than in wooing his beloved. But ther
...more
Travis
Aliens take an entire medevil village into space so they can study humankind.
The local knight isn't thrilled with this arrangement and decides that he's going to find a way to take his people home no matter what.
and Poul Anderson does it all in about 150 pages. Great story.
Carol Storm
I read this book as a kid and liked it a lot, because there were lots of battle scenes and the medieval knights really conquer the aliens.

At the time I didn't understand why this story wasn't a huge success like STAR WARS or LORD OF THE RINGS. Now I think I see what's missing.

1.) No Underdog to root for. The English as a group are underdogs, but the main character, Sir Roger deTourneville, is too much of a super duper football hero. (Someone else called him a stereotypical jock.) He's not a cha
...more
Ariana
This book sounds ridiculous, and a little awful, but I must convey to you how much fun I found this book to be.

The High Crusade is the chronicle of a Roger de Tourneville, as recorded by Brother Parvus and the events that took place after a spaceship landed near the town of Ansby, where Sir Roger was preparing to depart on a crusade. The aliens disembark their spaceship wielding a phase guns, but are quickly overtaken by an English heavy cavalry charge. Sir Roger intends to take the spaceship w
...more
Nath
Wow. This was something else, I tell you.

I wonder what Poul Anderson thought the first time this idea popped into his head. Because it's completely bonkers, and what did you expect, it works out in a crazy way.

Many have endeavoured in the world of medieval fiction, others have tried their hands on science fiction and trying to answer the question whether we're alone in the universe.

Poul Anderson probably wanted to write historical fiction and science fiction, but couldn't choose which one he l
...more
Thom
The High Crusade is a riotous adventure story.

A spaceship arrives in a medieval kingdom. Instead of being paralyzed with surpris, the English Knights charge into the fray and take the battle to the aliens. From here, the story escalates to one of increasingly lucky conquest. Far more Pulp SF than Hard SF, I imagine a serialized audience becoming more incredulous with each weeks installment.

The characters are mostly static, encountering a small difficulty then resolving it fairly soon. The narrat
...more
Janine Southard
I have been looking for this book for years.

Basically, it's "advanced aliens come to Earth with the intent of taking over and killing/enslaving us all, but the English/Americans fight back!" The only difference from the standard version: the English in question are from the 1200s. They defeat the blueskinned hordes with horse and mace.

Sure, a bit contrived, but it pares down to the best part of these invading-aliens plots. So what if the Englishmen aren't as advanced as we were during, say, Ind
...more
Kevin
I picked this up after seeing a large number of reviews on Tor.com, and I am very glad that I did. It's a short sci-fi novel written in 1960, originally as a serial. The novel is written from the perspective of a fourteenth century English monk, whose village is attacked by an alien race. Despite the impressive technology, the men of the village, led by their Baron, defeat the aliens and capture their ship. Intending to take it to war in France, the men, along with essentially the entire town, f ...more
Ellie
This book was captivatingly creative! Not at all your standard alien invasion book. Because Earth is invaded. Wait, in medieval Europe, when people fought with swords and trebuchets? Wouldn't human civilization have ended right then? The synopsis on back pretty much sums it up: "Ah, but this time they've launched their invasion against free Englishmen!" The English (or some of them) decide to hurt the aliens so they can never invade England again. I'm not sure if the Christianity serves any purp ...more
Allen
I'm guessing at my rating on this one, as I read it long ago and my tastes have changed a good bit. It was entertaining, though -- aliens invade Merrie Olde Englande, and knights in armor charge up the gangway and take over their ship, then fly to their home planet, etc.

I only put this in here because I was reminded of it when I read Cieza de Leon's The Discovery and Conquest of Peru. The wild improbability of a bunch of smelly barbarians conquering a powerful and highly developed society would
...more
Stuart
Poul Anderson does everything right in The High Crusade. From the choice of the narrator (slightly dim medieval monk) to the overall structure of the tail (rollicking comedic adventure pitting cleverness against impossible odds) to the pitch-perfect chivalric tragedy of Sir Owain towards the end of the book.

The book is an enjoyable read as a novel, but as an exploration of feudalism, diplomacy and institutional change the book show's Mr. Anderson's true genius. Space feudalism not only prevailin
...more
Denis
This was one of the most entertaining of Poul Anderson's novels I have read thus far. The idea of a bunch of Medieval English soldiers capturing an extraterrestrial spaceship, which they originally took to be some weapon of war by the French with whom they were currently at war with. From there the plot is allowed to get as wild as Anderson can imagine it.

A wonderful book.
Keith Beasley-topliffe
This is a great 54 year old sci-fi classic, from back when SF was supposed to be fun and educational and stretch one's vocabulary. This story of a village from medieval England taking over an interstellar empire hold up amazingly well, partly because it's written in first person by a monk, so Anderson only has to get his (historical) worldview, not predict future Earth technology. And since we see the alien tech through his eyes, it's all sort of magical. The moral of the story is something like ...more
Jason
Really enjoyed this, first time i`v read it good old fashioned boys own adventure, with space knights and the like. Can see how this became an inspiration for the authors who gave forewords in the 50th anniversary edition.
Dan
I gave this an "amazing" rating mostly for sheer chutzpah. It's the story of an encounter between a hostile alien spacecraft and a medieval English manor-town, with improbably thrilling results.
Charles
Somewhat less fine than The Broken Sword or Three Hearts and Three Lions, but it was fun. A bit more humorous than the others, which may be why I didn't rate it as high.
Wanda
Ugh, I wrote a Long review which was deleted by this buggy app. Oh well.... In summary, it was an enjoyable, albeit quick, read!
Ed
I wanted this book for weeks, and finally was given it on a Friday night. That usually being my night to use the computer, I read the book intensely and was done by Saturday night. Granted, the book was rather thin, but it was a very fun read the entire way through. There is everything a book needs: action, humor, and some philosophical thought. They are so well intertwined in this book that you barely notice the philisophical musings of various characters on humanity. At the end, I was disappoi ...more
Sally
Any book which I enjoy just as much as I did when I read it 40 years ago has to be a classic.
Anthony
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and certainly the most amusing sci-fi book I've ever come across.

In 1345, an alien spaceship lands in an English fiefdom. The alien landing party, intending to quickly subjugate this backwards planet, steps out and toasts one of the astonished man-at-arms, the standard way the alien empire has found to make indigenous species fall at their feet in shock and awe. The Englishmen are shocked, all right — shocked into immediately peppering the aliens
...more
Sean O'Brien
Poul Anderson is one of those science-fiction writers who is well-known inside the field but almost completely unknown outside of it. That's a shame, since he is not only a strong writer but a prolific one as well. In many ways, he reminds me of E.E. Smith, and The High Crusade is certainly space opera on a grand scale.

The High Crusade is about as easy a read as you will likely come across. It is fast-paced to a fault, unchallenging, and fun. I believe I read the entire novel in two days (on wor
...more
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What's The Name o...: Alien spaceship lands medieval times [s] 9 53 May 27, 2013 09:50PM  
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32278
Pseudonym A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, Winston P. Sanders, P. A. Kingsley.

Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous a
...more
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