There are some books I tend to read over and over. Although this is a republished version of H. Beam Piper’s works, Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen is the lynchpin of this collection. How can you not like a story that has a definite good guy who helps a family in distress, and gets the girl at the end of the story!
For those not familiar with the Paratime concept, Piper has developed a race of humans that have discovered the secret of parallel dimensions and, more importantly, the ability to travel between them. The society had exhausted the resources of its world and is now an extra dimensional parasite feeding off of others. To maintain the Paratime secret and prevent unscrupulous exploitation of other dimensions, the Paratime Police were organized to keep tabs on activities outside of the home dimension. During one of the transitions between dimensions, Calvan Morrison was picked up accidentally by a Paratime Police shuttle and deposited in a parallel dimension that has technology which was current around our mid-1600s. (Kalvan was from 1950s earth.)The period Kalvan is dumped into is dominated by a gunpowder theocracy, Styphon’s house, which holds the secret of manufacturing. Gunpowder is doled out to the Great Houses (ruling families/nations) as Styphon’s house desires. The area in which Kalvan lands is under Styphon’s ban and is facing invasion. Our hero, who paid attention in high school and college chemistry, knows the secret and the remainder of the book shows what a challenge this is to Styphon’s house. There are a couple of solidly written battle scenes and the limitations of the military science of the age are on display.The second book in the series, Great King’s War, has not been available for some time except in used bookstores. (Mine has had the binding come apart and I hold it together on the bookshelf with a couple of rubber bands!) Now it is available in hardback along with the two successor volumes from Hostigos.Com. I have yet to purchase these, however, as they come in around $55 USD since they are self-published by the author. Even used they remain in the same price range as computer books.