About the Author
Jerry Pournelle, a master of military science fiction, is the author of the series of novels about John Christian Falkenberg and his legion of interstellar mercenaries, and many other books, such as Janissaries and Exiles to Glory. He has also collaborated on a string of bestselling novels with Larry Niven. Pournelle served as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1973. As well, he holds advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science, and has been involved professionally in all these fields.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fairly average mil-SF, but not too bad for all that. This is set in Larry Niven's Mote in God's Eye universe, one of the tales of the CoDominium. Chronologically it appears to be the first, starting shortly after the US/Russia treaty of 2030 or so. As the title suggests it deals with the establishment of a Mercenary company lead by one Falkenberg. His troops are all from his prior CoDominium Marine force. We don't get to experience Falkenbergs rise through the ranks, merely his induction to the already weakening Fleet, followed by the politicking that requires his dismissal from his post at full Colonel. The story then jumps to his first engagement on a world called Hadley. Always out numbered, often out-gunned, and frequently in poor tactical terrain, the one thing that sets the Merc units apart from the enemies is the rigid discipline and within troop loyalty. They have nothing else - apart from a brilliant commander of course. Against them there are also the political issues, because nothing is ever simple.Short and fairly direct, Falkenberg is the focus of course, which means we are spared much of the nitty gritty details of way, shots fired whites of their eyes stuff. However we also don't get to experience much of Falkenberg's thoughts, only rare glimpses show how (or whether) he is concerned over the actions he takes to complete his contracts. There is a little bit of insight into the societal models around though - not just the straight capitalist of the US versus Russian Socialism, but more nuanced views of looking at Independence and bureaucratic inertia and corruption. There is a grander over-arching scheme, but it is only revealed towards the end, and I'm curious to see how the rest of the series builds (or doesn't given the publishing order) upon it. Worth reading for Mil-SF fans, and probably of interest to anyone who likes space opera style SF.