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The Butcher's Bill by David Drake
Published by Baen Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Hammer's Slammers are back in this new collection of stories. For those who don't know, Hammer's Slammers are a far-future mercenary company, created by a veteran of the Vietnam War.
This is not a story of prettified heroes, where men make heroic statements and fall over neatly in sanitized death. No, this is war with no punches pulled, where soldiers die in squallid horror with their guts spilling out of bellies ripped apart by shrapnel. Even the survivors bear the scars, and not just the obvious ones like missing limbs.There's no Star Trek medicine here, that can cure everything short of total disruption. The memories of combat run deep, long after the fighting is over.
The Slammers fight on many worlds, against their fellow humans and against other species. In some stories a favorable solution is found, but in others conflicts with pre-industrial non-human natives often ends up far too much like what happened to the natives of the Americas and Australia when the Europeans arrived with guns and germs to dispossess them.
Table of Contents
Nota bene for long-term Slammers fans: some of the stories in this collection have appeared in previous Hammer's Slammers collections. Your call whether the new ones are worth the duplications.
Click to buy The Butcher's Bill in mass market paperback.
Review posted September 14, 2000
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