The first of David Weber’s Dahak Series, Mutineers Moon, came out in 1992, preceding his lucrative Honor Harrington books by a year. The series consists of a mere three books, but they’re not bad. Tightly written with a grandiose and outrageous idea. I enjoyed the hell out of them.
In this setting, Earth’s moon isn’t a moon–it’s a ship. A gigantic, intelligent warship with an AI named “Dahak”. Dahak is a ship of an ancient galactic empire (The “Fourth Imperium”) and has been orbiting the Earth disguised as a moon for 50,000 years. It turns out the entire population of Earth are descendants of the crew of Dahak. An ancient mutiny happened and both the loyal crew and mutineers escaped to Earth, where the outnumbered loyalists were hunted and killed. The ship was sabotaged and couldn’t stop the mutineers or aid the loyalists. It took many decades to repair the damage, and by then all the loyalists were dead or unable to contact Dahak. With conflicting sets of priorities in its last orders, Dahak disguises itself as a moon and waits. For fifty thousand years.
Wild enough? There’s more.
The mutineers reduce the surviving loyalists to the Stone Age. They lose knowledge of their origins and begin the long climb back to civilization. Essentially, the entire history of mankind comes from cosmic castaways. The story begins at a near-future point where Lieutenant Commander Colin MacIntyre flies a spacecraft around the moon to map the far side. When he goes out of radio contact, Dahak sends out remote ships to capture him and fake his death. Using twisty logic, Dahak declares that the indigenous life of Earth are considered the descendants of the loyalists. Therefore, he puts Colin in command of the moon-sized ship.
From there it’s discovered that many of the original mutineers are still alive. After the mutiny, there was a schism between the mutineers. One group was fine with the status quo and the other regretted the decision. They’ve been secretly warring with one another throughout human history. The original mutineers are led by Engineering Chief Anu and the rebels are led by Missile Tech Horus. Whole mythologies sprung up around the conflict.
Anu’s people dwell beneath Antarctica, protected by a force shield so powerful that it would take Dahak’s main guns to punch through. This, however would destroy most of the life on Earth. Ergo, Dahak cannot act. Colin and the rebels have to figure out how to take them down without Dahak’s direct help.
That’s right people. We’ve got an Ancient Alien Conspiracy. Moon sized ships. Godlike alien infiltrators. A goddamn Antarctic base! Oh yeah, baby!
But wait! There’s more. The original purpose of Dahak and ships like it was to fight off a fleet of extra-galactic extermination ships. The fleet periodically reappears every few millennia and destroys all technological civilizations. And they’re about due to pay another visit. And that’s just the beginning of the story! The original books were Mutineers Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance and Heirs of Empire. All of the books are collected in the compilation Empire from the Ashes.
World-smashing ships! Alien supermen! Cosmic mysteries! Invading fleets! Dead empires! Ravening beams of force! This is basically a homage to E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman books. I don’t say that as criticism. Smith would have loved these books. I know I did.
Weber’s later books become preachy and political. Not these. Lean, exciting stuff. Go pick up a copy and enjoy.