NO GOVERNMENT, NO PROBLEM... FOR THE INVADERS.
During his last fight for peace and democracy on a forgotten planet, the interplanetary liberator Gar Pike somehow managed to get himself a new traveling companion: Alea, a young with a certain amount of psychic ability - and a heavy dose of attitude to boot.
Now the ship feels like it's shrinking, and Alea's always around, asking questions, sticking her nose in, and tensions are rising. But when they finally land on their next target planet, it's... strange. There doesn't seem to be ANY government to overthrow, good or bad, yet life still seems to be orderly, peaceful, and happy.
Until a forest outlaw builds an army and starts conquering villages, that is. With no government and no military, there's nothing and no one to stop him. The locals pray the mythical "Scarlet Company" will, but it's nowhere to be seen... and may not even exist.
Can Magnus and Alea alone save these peaceful people from brutal conquest? One thing is clear: when a wizard and a warlord square off, you can expect the unexpected.
Magnus d'Armand, son of the warlock from Stasheff's popular The Warlock in Spite of Himself, travels the galaxy to save Terran colony worlds ruled by corrupt governments. The seventh novel in the Chronicles of the Rogue Wizard (after A Wizard in Midgard) finds Magnus--aka Gar Pike--and his Midgard-born companion, Alea Larsdattar, exploring a planet with no apparent government. The colonial society seems placid, prospering at a Neolithic level, with the world populated by small farming villages. The only technology is in the hands of priestesses who believe each machine and bit of hoarded knowledge is magic from their gods. Unwilling to take the culture's peaceful nature at face value, Gar and Alea travel the land to learn more. A local warlord threatens villages, yet no one seems concerned. Villagers assure Gar that if the warlord becomes a real threat, he'll be dealt with by a mysterious group known as the Scarlet Company. Alea eventually solves the riddle of this secret organization thanks to ancient history books, and she and Gar meet the group firsthand as the warlord is finally, easily, vanquished. Despite Gar's previous experience, here he seems blind and deaf to obvious questions. Meanwhile, Alea's surprising encounter with a native whose life there precedes the colonists' arrival fails to add any real depth to the story. While Stasheff's fans are sure to want to read the latest of Gar's adventures, others will find the plot and characters lackluster.