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A Circus of Hells (Flandry #2)

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  10 reviews

Crack Lieutenant Dominic Flandry was not a man easily swayed from his duty to the Empire... not, that is, until galactic vice king Leon Ammon offered him a million credit bribe, a voluptuous woman called Djana, and a commission to explore a dark and treasureladen moon.

But within the desolate peaks and valleys of that strange world of ice and shadow, Flandry foun
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Published May 1st 1970 by Roc (first published 1970)
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Written in the 60s, I see Poul Anderson’s character Dominic Flandry as a Jonny Quest who made it big and went to outer space, and took on a James Bond / Austen Powers hype.


He was bold, cool, and had a certain way with the ladies.


Anderson’s complex characterization again takes the top prize, reeling in a spaghetti western mess of a plot into something worth reading. Poul’s ability to tell a balanced story with good, bad, and ugly on both sides of the Berlin Wall is in rare form here as the “evil”
The plot falls apart about halfway through, and Flandry's character takes a weird turn for the worse. A lot of the idealism seems to be missing in this book. It wasn't nearly as tightly paced as the first, and overall just plain not as fun.
A interstellar soldier/spy/adventurer at a remote outpost of the Terran (human) empire seeks personal fortune and military advantage over the alien Merseian empire. The main character Dominic Flandry embarks on a excursion to scout out a planet for mining resources for a local gangster. Along with him, in the role of sidekick, goes the prostitute Djana.

This could have turned out to be a terrible book, in particular its plot is abysmal and makes almost no sense. But unusual aspects improve the b
Frivolous, discursive, and lacking the pull and cohesion of the first book. The brusque wit, thoughtful plotting, and classic 60s cosmophilia remain thankfully intact, pushing the book slightly above average.
This is a story about two empires in microcosm, seen through the eyes of Lieutenant Dominic Flandry as the empire of Man wanes and that of Merseia waxes. Flandry is on a routine survey mission (with a bit of "unofficial" work on the side for a local crime boss) when he is captured by a Merseian vessel.

The book had an odd feel to it. None of the characters were hugely sympathetic and the dry tone of the writing didn't help make me warm to any of them. I was slightly disappointed by this, since I'
This is the second in the Flandry series. I wish I liked it more. The concepts are intriguing, the set-up decent... the characters fairly flat and unlikable. Flandry -- our hero -- is vain, self-absorbed, chauvinistic. This wouldn't be so bad is he had any charisma at all. Oh well. And having the hero wording out his calculations in his head... about as exciting as, well, calculations.
I've already reviewed most of the Dominic Flandry books. Flandry is a kind of James Bond of space but the books have lots of action and intrigue and Anderson's patented exotic worlds and species. Very good stuff. One of my favorite SF series.
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
This is a good space opera, with some very interesting aliens but while the deus ex machina that saves our hero at the end is set up earlier in the story it's still poor story-telling.
Rick Mcgarry
Fun, easy to read science fiction adventure story.
Grade B+. Book A4.
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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 about Poul Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Flandry (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Ensign Flandry (Flandry, #1)
  • The Rebel Worlds (Flandry, #3)
  • The Day of Their Return
  • Agent of the Terran Empire (Flandry, #3)
  • Flandry of Terra (Ensign Flandry 3)
  • A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows
  • A Stone In Heaven
  • The Game of Empire (Flandry)
  • We Claim These Stars (Dominic Flandry)
  • Earthman, Go Home!
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