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Steel (The General, Book IV) Mass Market Paperback – 31 Dec 1993

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (31 Dec. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671721895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671721893
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.2 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,289,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 May 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 5 Book Series 12 Sept. 2000
By silliman89 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the standard by which I judge all military fiction. I have never found another that was it's equal. Even when the same authors got together again for books 6 and 7 (which I have reviewed separately) they couldn't recreate the magic of this series.
THE GENERAL series is about a fallen interstellar society which has climbed it's way back up to the technological level of the American Civil War. The hero, Raj Whitehall, has to reunite the planet in order to reach the stars again some day. This involves a lot of fighting and empire building. What gives Raj his edge is the pre-fall computer he has linked with that can see through his eyes.
This series has outstanding character development, a solid and well thought out overall plot line, and good story resolution in each book. The two things that really make the series the top of its genre are the interaction between the computer and the hero, and the realism of the situation. The interaction is a delicate balance that the authors perform magically. If the computer (Center) contributes too much, then the hero has too much of an edge, he doesn't have to try, and the story becomes boring. Without the computer, the hero is just this god like superhuman character that can do no wrong. The computer assistance makes Raj identifiable to the reader, even after he overcomes overwhelming odds to defeat the enemy. The realism comes from the fact that Raj is based on the life of a real person. The whole story is very similar to the story of Byzantine General Belisarius who conquered most of the Mediterranean world for his Emperor after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. That makes it very believable. The characters are very real. Their actions really happened a millenium and a half ago.
This is a must read for any fan of military fiction or empire building.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Old Residence Campaign 15 Feb. 2014
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Steel (1993) is the fourth SF novel in the Raj Whitehall series, following The Anvil. The initial volume in this sequence is The Forge.

In the previous volume, Raj visited Center in the tunnels under the New Residence. Thom had been fed information on Raj's actions during that time, but it was not the same as being there. He had also been taught much about Federation society and technology.

Afterward, the Governor was throwing a party with Raj as the guest of honor. Ehwardo, Gerrin, Bartin, M'Lewis, and the other surviving Companions were waiting with Raj outside the Audience Hall. Suzette swept in and they advanced into the party, with the Companions following in a column of twos.

Raj's exploits were listed and his title as Savior of the State was announced. The crowd cheered enthusiastically. Barholm also told Raj that there would be a war council after the affair.

Several items were on the agenda, but the main concern was another invasion of the lost territories. This time the Brigade lands were the target. Tsetzas tried to delay the invasion, claiming that the Civil Government lost money in the previous military venture. The administrator for the Southern Territories refuted this claim and itemized benefits coming from the invasion.

In this novel, Raj Whitehall is a man from Drescott County. He is married to Suzette, an aristocratic woman. For his actions during the past year and a half, he has been promoted to General. He is the most successful general in generations. He is also the Sword of the Spirit of Man, working with the Center for the reunion of the Federation.

Suzette Whitehall is a daughter of old and poor nobility in the Civil Government. She was raised at the court of the Governor and cut her teeth on intrigue and treachery. She is a close friend of Anne, the Consort of the Governor.

Thom Poplanich is a friend of Raj. Thom is a scion of the previous Governor's family. Now he is being held in stasis by Center.

Ehwardo Poplanich is Thom's older brother. Like Thom, he has no ambitions of becoming Governor. He commands the House regiment Poplanich's Own and is a Companion.

Gerrin Staenbridge is a Colonel in Raj's forces. He is a Companion.

Kaltin Gruder is a Major in Raj's forces. He is a Companion.

Bartin Foley is a Captain in Raj's forces. He is a Companion.

Jorg Menyez is an infantry Colonel in Raj's forces. Although a noble, he is allergic to dogs and thus could not be a cavalry officer. He is a Companion.

Grammek Dinnalsyn is the Colonel of Artillery for Raj's forces. He has sixty 75mm field guns and a few mortars. He is a Companion.

Antin M'Lewis was a private when he first met Raj. Now he is a Lieutenant commanding the Forty Thieves, Raj's scout platoon. He is a Companion.

Ludwig Bellamy is the son of a former Squadron landholder. He is now the commander of the 2nd Mounted Cruisers, a unit of former Squadrone soldiers. He is not yet a Companion, but is definitely a candidate for the title.

Center is a Sector Command and Control Unit AZ12-b14-cooo Mk. XIV. It is a very advanced computer that had served the Federation before the Fall. Now it is using Raj to reunite Bellevue.

Cabot Clerett is the nephew and heir of the Governor. He is a Major in command of the 1st Residence Battalion. He deeply resents Raj and his reputation.

Filip Forker is the General of the Brigade. He is a scholar rather than a soldier.

Marie Welf is the daughter of Charlotte Welf. Forker married her to legitimize his bid for the position of General and later had her drowned in her bathtub.

Ingreid Manfrond is the leader of the opposition to Forker. He is a soldier, but is not too bright.

Howyrd Carstens is the brains of the opposition. He tries to keep Manfrond from making too many mistakes.

Teodore Welf is a cousin of Marie. He backs Manfrond, but is much more flexible in his thinking.

In this story, Thom is learning about the Big Bang and the history of Earth. He is shown the first colonization of Bellevue and the subsequent rise and fall of the Federation. He is also shown the wars that destroyed civilization on Bellevue.

Raj's troops have reconquered the Crown Peninsula and Lion City. Now they are facing a Brigade army of one hundred thousand men. Raj only has about twenty thousand soldiers.

Raj sends his troops out to raid Brigade holdings and liberate towns on the way to the Old Residence. He has them knock down the defenses to prevent Brigaderos from reoccupying them as his troops more on. He sends a column to feint toward Empirhado, but he intends to stay near the Residential Gulf and the Blankho River for resupply from Lion City.

Only local Brigade forces are resisting Raj's troops. M'Lewis keeps Raj informed of massed Brigaderos so his troops can hit them from several directions at once. The drive toward the Old Residence is steady and relentless.

Raj has the walls of the Old Residence rebuilt with a thick rammed earth layer between the facing stone and the inner wall. He has the top of the wall paved to facilitate movement of troops and field pieces. He also has an earthen ramp built along the inner wall.

The commanders of the main Brigade forces are conferring at Carson Barracks. Manfrond suggests that Forker be impeached. Carstens agrees and announces that Manfrond is marrying Marie.

Marie has locked herself into her quarters. She refuses to talk to anyone. Yet Teodore gets her to agree to marry Manfrond. Then the Brigade commanders follow Manfrond toward the Old Residence.

Manfrond, Carstens and Teodore form a triumvirate over the Brigade forces. Teodore is the clever one that has ideas. Carstens convinces Manfrond to try the new approaches. Yet Manfrond is not happy with these innovations.

The Brigade has a railroad between Carson Barracks and the Old Residence. Raj has his troops mine the last bridge, but leave it open to lure the main body into the ground before the city walls. Then the charges can be blown to stop shipments to the Brigade troops.

Unfortunately, the leader of the Stalwart barbs within the Civil Government forces betrays Raj. The changes are not blown and the railroad bridge still stands. Raj and his guard are caught outside the walls when the hysterical militia refuses to open the gate.

In the ensuing battle, Raj's forces drive back the Brigaderos. Then an armored vehicle running on the railroad line attacks them. Raj jumps on the car and fires into the gun slits. The armored car blows up, but Ehwardo is killed.

Ludwig is sent to cause problems on the railroad line. His troops ambush a supply train and steal food from it. He also lets the locals have most of the food and convinces their leader to conduct a few ambushes on their own behalf.

Grammek removes Brigade artillery pieces from storage and sets them up on the new walls beside their standard field guns. They have a slower rate of fire than their guns, but fire a heavier round. Unfortunately, they do not have explosive shells for these guns.

This tale keeps Raj's forces very busy. Gerrin commands the wall, with Bartin commanding a section. Kaltin commands the reserves for the wall. Jorg is training the militia and selecting a few thousand for replacements in the regular infantry.

Suzette is still running Raj's intelligence service. Her agents discover an attempt to open a gate for the Brigade troops. The Brigaderos are surprised by their reception.

Cabot is leading an extended raid into Brigade territory. The next installment in this sequence is The Sword.

Highly recommended for Drake & Stirling fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of armed combat, siege operations, and political intrigue. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
Another great book by Drake and Sterling 25 May 2013
By Noah Nason - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't put it down. Each of the 4 books I have read so far have had different challenges for Raj and I love the strategies and tactics he uses to win. Seams like could have been real vice a fanciful SF solution.
Again good action, clever strategy - good continuation of the series. Recommended 13 Feb. 2015
By Ralph E. Farmer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Another good addition to the series - again plenty of action and clever strategy. Be sure to get this if you enjoyed the other books in the series.
best of the general series. 12 Mar. 2014
By russell lenhares - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
ive red them all and this was probaly the best of them. ofcourse raj can not be stoped and is as always infalible but it is still a fun read.
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