Although Cyril Kornbluth devised the initial outline of Gunner Cade, he and Judith Merril collaborated in a full sense in the actual writing, alternating rough drafts of chapters and revising each others work. The story follows the adventures and misadventures of Cade, a Gunner-ranked Armsman of the Realm of Man, from the time of his ignominious capture by a rebellious religious cult to his moment of victory, both personal and military, during the first battle between Earth’s Armsmen and rebellious Mars forces.
Cade follows a path of discovery, seeking better understanding of himself and his world. The greatest obstacles on his path lie within himself. As a Brother in the Order of Armsmen, he has thoroughly assimilated the ascetic doctrines of Klin Philosophy, a set of verbal formulas that focus his mind on devoted service to a triumvirate: the Gunner Supreme, the Power Master, and the Emperor.
Shortly after his capture by the cult, Cade meets a woman who becomes his obsession. Constrained by his brainwashing, he can only equate her with the idealized woman who greets a Gunner at the point of honorable death. He later learns that she is Lady Jocelyn, niece of the Emperor. Believing that he has learned important secrets while with the cult and knowing no other course of action because he has been officially pronounced dead, Cade seeks out the Gunner Supreme and the Power Master. He obtains interviews but finds his life put in...
(The entire section is 474 words.)