Reluctantly volunteering for a dangerous mission, Captain Rick Galloway and his men are cut off in hostile territory when the CIA pulls out their support, an event that is further complicated when an alien spaceship arrives.
At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Jerry Pournelle is a reigning master of military science fiction, author of the series of novels about John Christian Falkenberg and his legion of interstellar mercenaries, and many other works, such as Janissaries, Exiles to Glory, High Justice, King David's Spaceship, Starswarm, and others. With Larry Niven he has collaborated on a string of bestselling novels, including Lucifer's Hammer, The Mote in God's Eye, Footfall, and many more. He holds advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science, and has been involved professionally in all these fields. He and his wife live in Los Angeles.
This is a series (Janissaries is just the first book of a series of 3) that is hard to find. I bought it just because I liked J. Pournelle's work and it was a good move.
Captain Rick Galloway finds himself in a bit of a pickle when his (CIA) support in Western Africa falls through and he and his men are left to their own devices. Certain death (torture etc. etc.) at the hand of Cuban mercenaries seems unavoidable until an UFO appears (bear with me).
Between a hard place and a rock... Galloway orders his men aboard the UFO. They are sent to a remote planet - their mission is to carve out an empire and grow a crop of alien narcotics before the UFO returns... (if not the planet will become the target of orbital bombardment by the aliens)
The planet quickly turns out to be quite a challenge as people from different cultures, time-periods and ethnic backgrounds have been dropped there during earlier 'drugruns' by the aliens . Scottisch highlanders, Imperial Romans etc.
Galloway's knowledge of 'the art of war' (modern, classic and medieval warfare) and basic military technology prove essential to their survival...
A very original spin on the space-marine concept...
P.S. Janissaries were slave-soldiers of the Ottoman empire -
they became all powerfull although they were 'mere' slaves.
If you have read H Beam Piper's "Gunpowder God" you'll be struck by some remarkable similarities in plot development and in the background details. Not that I'm accusing either of plagiarism. Both books deal with similar situations and have as a background human societies of much the same cultural age. Ignore that minor detail and you have a good story, well told and rattles along at a great pace. It does end rather abruptly and although not a cliff hanger there is obviously a sequel looming - which of course there is. On the contra side, tone or two things do put a bit of a strain on the reader's ability to believe. The main one is the time it takes for things to happen - or rather the lack of it. I know that the pace of the story has it's price but I just don't believe that anyone could become so completely fluent in any Celtic based language which has very little common basis with English in no more than 8 months (going by the timing of Gwen's pregnancy). If anyone has ever tried learning Gaelic you'll know what I mean.
The other review gives the background to the book and mentions that this is book 1 of 3. Please be aware that the publishers decided to make book 2 illustrated and due to the production costs, did not print many, so the 2nd part is very difficult to get hold of. I suggest you find a copy of the second book first before buying 1 and 3. It is worth it, quite a brilliant read.