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The Tank Lords 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 stories of the various worlds where the Slammers fight, of courage and loyalty, of fear and failure, of what happens when war gets started without any clear set of goals or objectives, or even of why one is fighting. There is the story of two brothers whose shifting loyalties have torn them apart, and how they must choose whether loyalty to family is more important than loyalty to an ideal. There is the story of Elisha, a youth gelded to serve in the ladies quarters of a world that is a strange mixture of feudal Europe and Arabia, and who finds his own liberation by escaping to join the Slammers. And there is a lengthy technical appendix on the background of the stories.
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 Tank Lords in mass market paperback.
Review posted October 25, 2000
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