Ensign Flandry by Poul Anderson
Ensign Flandry Over ten years before we were introduced to young, naive Luke Skywalker, we could meet Ensign Dominic Flandry, also young and naive. Ensign Flandry was assigned to the primitive planet Starkad to assist the natives there. The Terran fleet was only helping one race of the planet’s natural inhabitants to resist their natural planetary enemies who had been bolstered by the Merseians. The Terran Empire is old and hidebound. The Marseians want to take over the galaxy from the Terrans. They develop a plan that involves Starkad to assist them in this takeover.
Ensign Flandry finds himself in the middle of some crucial turning points in the war. He helps save a city of the natural inhabitants of Starkad. He finds himself drafted into Intelligence when he joins a team visiting the Merseian home world. He then tries to steal Merseian government top secrets and deliver the information to the Terrans.
This is a space adventure saga written to appeal to the adventurer in all of us (especially young men). There are terrifying secrets, beautiful women, and near misses with death. Ensign Flandry gets a chance to try to save the Universe as we know it. What is so important about this backwater planet, Starkad, anyhow?
I felt the book started slowly. It picked up as the action became more intense. This is the beginning of a series of books about Ensign Flandry. Since it was written in the 60’s there are some ways it shows its age, but it has worn well.
This book is currently out of print. Try checking your local library for a copy.