The High Crusade Author:Poul Anderson In the year of grace 1345, as Sir Roger, Baron de Tourneville, was gathering an army to join King Edward III in the war against France, a most astonishing event occurred: a huge silver ship descended through the sky and landed in a pasture beside the little village of Ansby in northeastern Lincolnshire. — The Wersgorix, whose scouting ship it was... more », were quite expert at taking over planets, and having determined from orbit that this one was suitable, they initiated standard world-conquering procedure. That is, one of the crew showed himself--a sight that customarily terrorized backward natives.
The tactic had never failed; superstitious aborigines were always quickly subdued--or wiped out--leaving the Wersgorix free to establish a base, gather specimins of indigineous plants, animals and minerals, and report their findings home, facilitating future conquest.
Ah, but this time it was no mere primitives the Wersgorix sought to slaughter or enslave. They'd launched their invasion against Englishmen!
...Also Englishwomen, children and old folk of every rank, who were duly horrified by the demonic, blue-skinned creature that emerged from the strange ship. Not even the friar's reminder that sorcery could not harm good Christians calmed the throng (for there were many miserable sinners among them).
But Sir Roger was undaunted. When the monster dared attack, that brave nobleman led his army charging into the ship--cavalry and foot soldiers fighting the bloody hand-to-hand battles they understood so brutally well. A form of warfare the Wersgorix hadn't seen in centuries.
In the end, only one alien was left alive--and Sir Roger's grand vision was born. He intended for the creature to fly the ship, which was large enough to hold Ansby's entire human and animal populations--and all the comforts of home--first to France to aid their King, then on to the Holy Land to vanquish the infidel!
But instead of taking them to France, the treacherous alien locked the ship's controls on a course set for one of the Wersgorix's previously conquered planets. And Sir Roger's Crusaders found themselves fighting against the strangest infidels they'd ever seen to win the most unholy land imaginable.« less