Captain Flandry, Defender of the Terran Empire by Poul Anderson, compiled by Hank Davis (2011, 591 pages) – This compilation of Flandry stories is an enthusiastic effort by Hank Davis to gather the Dominc Flandry stories into a comprehensive collection. This is the second of four Flandry collections, but, oddly enough, its first two stories (one a lengthy novella) don’t feature our well-dressed hero at all. The stories are, however, set in the same universe, and the novella does mention Dom as it deals with his mind-reading nemesis.
Even without Flandry, Poul Anderson sticks to the Flandry Formula. An overworked hero has to outwit his adversary while seeming to be less intelligent than they actually are while remaining eternally chaste in spite of shapely temptation. Although the stories were written in the fifties and the sixties, Mr. Anderson “tweaked” them before they were collected by Ace in the seventies.
I didn’t know they were allowed to do that. Here are the stories included in this collection.
Outpost of the Empire – A bureaucrat arrives on a backwater planet where the city folks are being destroyed by the country folks who want to keep their planet pristine. The official, sent by the empire to protect the citizens, agrees to be captured by the outbackers to allow the royal navy to sweep in and gather them up when he pinpoints their location. As all plans go astray, the bureaucrat must reach a compromise before the entire planet is destroyed.
The Day of Their Return – Really a novel on its own, this addition to The Formula has the prerequisite unassuming bureaucrat on a planet seething with political and religious unrest. Since the commissioner is married, a young rebel has to take the role of the chaste hero (it was the fifties). His adventures fleeing from the commissioner include adventures with gypsies, pirates, and Flandry’s mind-reading villain. The commissioner has to juggle the situation carefully (very Flandry-like) to ensure the people aren’t swept up in the alien’s evil plan.
Tiger by the Tail – A fun Flandry tale where he’s kidnapped by a warring race who prize honesty and honor. By the time the Royal Fleet arrives on the scene, Flandry has introduced assassination, blackmail, infighting, and personal gain to his captors. They didn’t stand a chance.
Honorable Enemies – The story where Flandry meets and spars with his mind-reading adversary. I’ve recently reviewed this in “Flandry of Terra” so I won’t re-review it here.
The Game of Glory – Flandry uncovers unrest on a water world. Also reviewed in “Flandry of Terra.”
A Message in Secret – Great example of the Flandry Formula on an ice planet. Also reviewed.