There was a book I read that humans were used to fight for another race. They were trapped on an alien ship with a really twisted being. The humans fooled him into allowing them to build weapons for training and eventually take over the ship. I don't believe it was a Chris Nuttall book though.

  • 2
    Was there anyone else who didn't write it? You haven't given us much to go on.
    – Blackwood
    Jul 8, 2016 at 3:20
  • The way you put your comment made me laugh, but, to be fair, the idea that the book being sought could easily be mistaken for a Christopher Nuttall book does give anyone familiar with that author something to go on. People often say that the style of a book reminds them of Robert Heinlein or William Gibson and people know what they mean. But the question still could do with more detail. Jul 9, 2016 at 9:12
  • I'm sorry I haven't been able to give more detail. It's been a while since I read it. Jul 9, 2016 at 13:48
  • The Berserker Wars maybe? The aliens are huge AI controlled ships that are on a mission of eradicating all life. One Berserker has captured some human prisoners and put a sadist in charged of them. The backdrop is impending massive Berserker invasion and humanity preparing for it. I think maybe about 40-50% of the book takes place on the Berserker ship.
    – ventsyv
    Dec 31, 2019 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Might this be "The Excalibur Alternative" by David Weber?

  • Humans were used to fight for other races

They were actually used to fight for companies, rather than races specifically - because advanced races and weaponry could not be used against low-tech worlds by law, but using other low-tech races as proxies was not forbidden. The companies were all owned, and staffed, by members of "advanced" races (who were by treaty part of the galactic federation), and served by members of 'protectorate' races (who were essentially exploited and used as servants). There was a Roman Leigon who had been taken for this purpose in the past by another company, but the novel follows part of a 14th century English army taken from a fleet in a storm (so their loss would be covered up).

  • They were trapped on a ship with a twisted being

The commander of the ship which took them was called the 'demon-jester', both for its grotesque appearance and its lack of empathy. It is the only one of its species on the ship, since mostly the humans interact with other servant species. However, it is in control and can force compliance through its technology and through the use of other servant races used for security.

  • The humans allowed them to build weapons for training

They had to argue and explain the weapons, tools, and training they needed to be effective - including horses, arms, and armor. They also explain, or trick the demon-jester into providing, for psychological comforts including a certain amount of independence (camping in the open instead of on ship where possible). This later allows them the degree of freedom needed to plot against the demon-jester and company.

  • They eventually take over the ship

This was done in combination with one of the other servant races, they cooperate to pool knowledge and resources. It was possible because of their limited independence, giving them areas not under surveillance with which to plot. They manage to kill the demon-jester, overcome the other security forces, and take over the ship.

Later they use the ship as a base from which to build a civilization, since returning home would alert the federation what had happened and risk their homelands. Instead, they build themselves up in secret so when their homeworlds are threatened, they have enough resources to come to their aid.

  • I will check it out. Thanks. Still not sure it's right. I want to say it's a little more modern forces and the central character was former special forces. Thanks for your time. Jul 9, 2016 at 13:51
  • @SavageMind - sorry it wasn't more helpful, it seemed close enough to the description to be worth trying. I really suggest you edit that information about modern forces into the question, though, or any little tidbits you might remember - you should even include impressions or things you aren't sure of. It really helps to figure out what might or might not fit, or spark off somebody else's memory.
    – Megha
    Jul 9, 2016 at 13:58
  • It's also similar to Ranks of Bronze, set in the same universe. Aug 14, 2016 at 17:49
  • 1
    @AaronGullison - Whoo! I did not know there were other books in the series, thanks for that! I found this book by following the author (Weber) from other works - the other two books have a different author (Drake), and weren't advertised as connected back when I got the first book. Now I have new books to get reading :D
    – Megha
    Aug 14, 2016 at 18:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.