Lord of Janissaries
by Jerry Pournelle and Roland J. Green
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Jon Guenther
Baen Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476780795
Date: 01 September 2015
List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: J. Pournelle's Website / R.J. Green's Wikipedia Entry / Show Official Info /
I suppose if I were asked to summarize the idea behind Jerry Pournelle's work in this anthology of books, I could say it was something like "Bravehart with spaceships but with much greater depth of character." Doubt that would do it justice.
Lord of Janissaries contains the three-book cycle, Janissaries, Clan and Crown, and Storms of Victory. It follows the adventures of Captain Rick Galloway, a US Army captain who is transported along with his men to the planet of Tran. There they are engaged to oversee various societies from different times (Roman, Medieval, Celtic, etc) transplanted there by a league of aligned alien worlds known as the Galactic Confederation. The first book in the series had a bit more of the military slant to it than later, which seemed more focused on society building as Galloway attempts to unite all of the societies on Tran, an alliance forged by facing natural disasters. Make no mistake that the militaristic situations are present, but more as an undercurrent to the more human drama.
I found the first title classic Pournelle, exploring the pathos of such themes as military history, politics, and socioeconomic barriers that are constants for any societies. I also discovered a haunting echo of many of the things we're facing today with what's happening in the Middle East, which only made the book(s) more interesting and prevalent.
Stylistically, I actually saw a number of differences in the second and third books, collaborated on and co-written by Roland Green, but Mr. Pournelle's influence is there throughout, and it was pleasure to read something that while written 35-plus years ago still holds up so well.
Baen has been doing the comeback of a lot of their classic works lately, a shift in their publishing program, and I feel these books stand out as very good selections for that undertaking. At nearly 900 pages this one is unarguably well worth the price. The characters are interesting, the plot and action narrative well paced, and high entertainment as any fan of this author would expect. Ultimately, Lord of Janissaries is highly recommended and will make for an especially nostalgic holiday season read.
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