s you’ll recall, in the original book of this Ark Royal spin-off, Warspite, the crew of this experimental cruiser found a planet Vesy, which Russian defectors (who’d fled the initial crushing battle against the then enemy race, the Tadpoles, had settled on). Using it as a pirate base, they’ve been raiding shipping for supplies (and women) and slowly corrupting the indigenous people.
Things heat up in this book, sub-titled as Warspite II. The indigenous race on Vesy live in small city states. Everything is about war, about knocking off rival cities and forming your own little empire. So since it’s about war, it’s also about weapons. Of course, while the five big powers of Earth attempt to diplomic the issue of limited contact, everyone else – missionaries, arms dealers, and minor nations – they are all having a landrush. And, from the Vesy’s point of view, it’s ALL about weapons. Farm equipment? Makes your city a target. Tech and medical? Ditto. All they want are weapons.
Interestingly, the nation of India sees the historic irony in this entire issue. Just as the English played off Indian city states and took over their own country, the Indians play that game here. While the Great Powers huddle in their little fort, the Indians are pouring weapons in, agitating the natives and stalling on the diplomatic front. And our heroes play right into this.
While there isn’t a lot of space action in this one (Warspite just hangs helplessly in orbit for the most part), the ground action is intense. When the time is right, the Indians’ subject-nation is attacking the fort from all sides, forcing the rest of the nations to eventually evacuate and depart the system. India triumphs. Things look bleak indeed. But that’s not the end of it – there is a long game that the Indians are playing which all becomes apparent in A Small Colonial War, to be reviewed next week!
See you then!