Janissaries – Jerry Pournelle

The story is rather cliche and it has been done before. Alien race kidnaps band of earth soldiers. Commander of band is a student of military history. Band is plonked down on an alien world inhabited by primitive humans. Mayhem ensues.

Nothing like an old seventies classic, down to the black and white illustrations. Pournelle does well when there is a strong military component. I did not have great hopes for this title, but it grew on me. Both the macroplot (the aliens) and the microplot (showing the locals how to use a pike) work very well. As usual, feelings and relationships are almost painfully caricaturised, but I suppose you read this sort of thing for the battles and the strategy. Good clean fun if you like this sort of thing, but hardly a book for the ages.

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