Alexander Thorsson is a frustrated ex-football player and a cashiered Air Force officer, now living life out of a suitcase as an airline pilot. He always thought he’d amount to something more-the people of the galaxy think so too. The Galactics have watched Humans for thousands of years; Humans are the most physically powerful, most adaptable and most brutally brilliant sentients in the galaxy. However, when Alexander the Great boasted that his conquests would continue, “Even to the everlasting and innumerable stars.” the Galactics took him at his word. They live in constant fear that someday Alexander will rise again and lead his legions to conquer the stars. Everyone knows this except Humans-and Alexander.
Still, the exotic and masterful Nazeera of Chem kidnaps Alexander from Terra and sentences him to death on the fantastic prison planet of Pantrixnia. That should have been the end of Alexander but somehow he refuses to die quietly; given one final chance at destiny Alexander forges ahead and becomes the legend everyone was afraid of. Galactic conspiracy revolves around him, splintering the Galactics into factions vying to ally with Alexander, negotiate with him or to destroy the threat of Alexander and Earth for all time. Earth is caught between its own brutal history and the reality of its insignificance; only Alexander can save his planet from destruction and save the Galactics from destroying themselves.
The background story of this book is weird, bordering on the ridiculous. The inhabitants of the Galaxy (who are way beyond the humans technologically) are so damned scared of the humans, primarily because of a statement that Alexander The Great made in the past, that they literally tremble of fear just by mentioning the name Alexander. That is just so much bullocks.
If you can get past the silly background story the book makes for a quite enjoyable reading. Unbelievable but enjoyable. To some small extent it reminds me of Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter books. Lone hero stranded on alien planet. Of course the hero can alternate between dinner chatting, amazing speeches before the “senate” and killing dinosaurs with swords. Oh, did I mention that he is a strategically expert as well, both political and in space warfare. Not bad for a former ex-football player. As I wrote already, the story is somewhat unbelievable.
Some of the book is spent with dialogues between the aliens which can become a bit tedious at times. They are still well written though. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of political intrigue and treachery going on among the aliens. Something which is definitely not my favourite topic. I found myself, perhaps not really skipping, but reading a wee bit faster on most of this so that I could get back to the chapters that were about Alexander himself instead.
The book also uses the old, let’s convert our wet navy ships to space ships that have been used quite a few times in various books. I do not know why it is so popular. It is not exactly a scientifically sound concept. It would probably take at least as much time to make an old battleship airtight, not to mention all the other stuff that needs to be done, as making a new hull from scratch. Then we have other facts such as a wet navy ship would not have firing arcs on 50% of the directions in space. It is just a silly idea.
The ending is fun although it is also a bit on the unbelievable side in how incredibly rapidly it plays out and the stupidity of the aliens. It does really set the stage for the next couple of books though. Some people complain about the poor editing and loads of grammar and spelling errors making the book unreadable. I have to say that I found nothing that had any great impact on the readability of the book. In general I found the book enjoyable. Maybe I got a revised version. If it had not been for the weird background story and the fact that most of the book took place down on planets it would have gotten a higher rating.