A novel of power, love, war and spirit
The Philosopher in Arms is the massively-revised version of my two traditionally-published fantasy novels, Lion’s Heart and Lion’s Soul (Baen Books, 1991) set in the “Fifth Millennium” world collaboratively created with S.M. Stirling and Shirley Meier.
Almost 3,000 years after a human-made cataclysm reduced both human population and technology back to primitive levels, civilization is rising again slowly. Here and there, tiny relics and pockets of the old knowledge are left, some useful, some merely intriguing, which their possessors sometimes guard secret, sometimes use and sometimes spread, so that there are all kinds of possibilities. The different cultures, their values, customs, languages and so on are portrayed in great detail, so as to give the reader a feel of being there.
Destined by birth to serve his strictly-democratic people as “the-people-wills-one” and war leader, Fourth Chevenga Shae-Arano-e has a vision at the age of seven showing him that he will not live past the age of thirty.
Growing up brilliant in war and unlucky in love, Chevenga faces his greatest challenge when his nation is invaded by the same empire that is holding him captive as a gladiator. Tortured to insanity, healed on the island of healers, aided by the wild and foreign woman he loves and her secret technology of flying, he is still key to liberating his people—and then changing defense into conquest. He then faces an even greater danger: the deep distrust of his own people for anyone competent with power.
At once intensely spiritual, grittily realistic and shot through with humour, The Philosopher in Arms is about war, sacrifice, friendship, loyalty and love, but perhaps more than anything else, the meaning and ethics of power and fate.