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Caught in the Crossfire 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.
Here are more stories of their battles, from the stories of men facing impossible odds with the best bravery they can manage to those of men pushed too far and doing terrible things. There is the story of technological interrogation that creates a sort of irresistable mechanical telepathy, so that even the strongest will cannot avoid giving up its secrets. And there is Drake's own essay on the personal element behind these stories, how his own experiences in the Vietnam War shaped him as a writer.
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 Caught in the Crossfire in mass market paperback.
Review posted October 25, 2000
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