Jerry Pournelle/S.M. Stirling
Go Tell the Spartans (1991)
For this direct sequel to Prince of Mercenaries, Jerry Pournelle seamlessly blends styles with fellow military fiction writer S.M. Stirling. While Falkenberg takes his mercenary legion on the New Washington campain already told in Falkenberg's Legion, Major Peter Owensford along with many characters introduced in the previous novel accompanies Prince Lysander with the Fifth Battalion back to the world of Sparta, there to help the Spartans create a standing army, possibly establish a permanent home for the Legion, and also lend some assistance to the suppression of bandit activity in the backlands. The latter should be familiar to readers of the series and, apart from the training of a native army, again becomes the focus of this book.
With support from Falkenberg's archenemy Grand Senator Bronson of the doomed CoDominium back on Earth, a group of ambitious criminals and self-styled socialist revolutionaries prepares to overthrow the Dual Monarchy of Sparta. A small, ruthless clique bent on coming to power, they recruit a guerilla army from the mob of deported Terran welfare recipients who prefer banditry over honest work. Bronson's money buys a unit of off-planet "consultants" to bring in additional military and technical expertise and equipment. The kings of Sparta call on Falkenberg's Legion to support the overwhelmed local police force and militia, leading to an ugly but reasonable and (arguably) morally justifiable slaughter of the bandits. Used now for the third book in a row this scheme is getting repetitive.
The plot is straightforward. The first part of the novel serves mostly as set-up for the final extended infantery battle in the hills of the Spartan countryside. Although there is never any confusion about good and bad, this is not a war against faceless enemies. The authors expend an equal effort to characterize the leaders on both sides, resulting in villains with understandable although not excusable motivations.
For fans of the series.
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