Dorsai! by Gordon R Dickson

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I have no idea why but Dorsai! – the first book in the Childe Cycle – is the first book I’ve read by Gordon R Dickson, which is a bit of a sin especially when I enjoyed it so much. This is an uncomplicated piece of early military space opera in which a young officer, from a planet focused on producing the best mercenaries in the known galaxy, graduates and rapidly (rather implausibly though easy enough to suspend the disbelief) progresses to be a major interstellar player.

A thoroughly enjoyable, if now slightly clichéd adventure, story. It is a little dated and in particular I found the splintering of humanity – categorised by tree-huggers, religious Zealots, mercenaries, capitalists and pretty much nothing else – to be a somewhat naïve, and the gender stereotyping was a little irritating though pretty much inevitable for when it was written. Another common aspect of books from this era, that Dorsai! also suffered from, was the almost omnipotent abilities of the hero; our modern fictional heroes tend to be rather more flawed.

The pacing was always brisk and I sailed through the book in just a couple of days. Great fun and I shall certainly be continuing with the series.

4/5 stars
 

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