The legends of Jaq Merril are legionóbut legends. Hark, ye, then to the true story of the pirate benefactor of Mankind!
and here and there American and Russian spacecraft were seen in company for the first time in the history of the Age of Space. Convoys were formed from ships of both flags to protect spatial commerce from the imagined "great fleet" of the Compact. None knew that only the Arrow and the Starhound, small ships, weary ships, were left to face the slowly combining might of Earth.
And then at last, the pickings--growing slimmer always--diminished to the vanishing point. Merril stood before us and gave the assembled crews their option.
"The treasure hunt is over," our captain told us, "And those who wish may withdraw now. Take your women and the space-boats and return to Mars. You have your shares, and you can live in comfort wherever you may choose. If you wish it, go now."
Some few did go, but most remained. I watched Merril's face, and saw one last plan maturing there. Then he spoke again and we all understood. One last raid ... to take Luna and command the world!
This is not so much a story as a historical narration (fictional, of course), and as such it fails to have any real drive to it. Worth a read, but keep expectations low.
Written in 1953, the story is set in a future where the cold war continued out into space. The story, told by an old pirate, seeks to correct the whitewashed history told about the peacemaking efforts of the pirates.
The story is a bit long in the tooth, the characters can barely be told apart, the men fight and die, the women weep.
Good but "the invader" by the same author, was better.
Great action tale of pirate warfare in space. Told with old-fashioned panache and drama, calculated to keep the reader engaged up until the final word. And it does. Highly recommend.