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Dorsai! (Childe Cycle Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I might argue that the fourth book in the Cycle, "Tactics of Mistake", is the most approachable presentation of Dickson's conception of the future soldier, in which he focused most explicitly on the future of conflict in the person of the commander, pre-Dorsai tactician-scholar Cletus Graeme. The tactics Graeme touts are equally applicable to ancient weapons and fighting techniques, like fencing, and this too is common with Dickson's future soldiers.
The protagonist of "Dorsai!", Donal Graeme, is a descendant of Cletus Graeme, taking command of his contract-troops in a universe in which the fragmentation of the family of Man into septs—soldier, religious fanatic, Zen philosopher-mystics and physical scientists—is already well established.
Dickson was concerned with the personality, knowledge and warrior-abilities of the commanders. In his wars, individual soldiers, except where they impinge on the actions of the commanders, are sketchily drawn, as are the weapons of the future. We know they fight because they are contracted to do so; we never learn any more than that about their motivations.
So generally very happy!
This book appears to have been an OCR recovery from an early printed version, as it contains some OCR type howlers; my favorites (no spoilers):
1. Our hero's grandmothers were born on the planet 'Mara', hence one chapter heading describes him as "Part Moron".
2. At one point his emotional state is described as being "born apart'. Interesting situation if you can achieve it, to have some parts of yourself born separately from other parts. I suspect "torn apart" might have been the intent.
3. Our hero's father is named 'Echan Khan' although he apparently changes this at one point to "Each An Khan"
Still a great read.
Have you ever looked in a pile of bargains, finding a good deal on the right-size shirt? Bought it and tried to wear it- discovering that it looks good, never felt right? This book is like that. It is light on details and motivations.
It forces me to wonder why did Donal Graeme feel this great purpose? It becomes evident that he works on varying-length contracts, but during intermissions, he can accept or turn down new ones- and there are hints of intuition, especially when he seeks out people like Ardell Montor. Ardell studies predictive history, much like Hari Seldon in Foundation and Empire (Foundation Novels). Also, have other men, like Lee, sold him their contracts- how did he pay, when Donal himself is contracting to other leaders? What unarmed combat does he use? Where on his transport does he work out?
The group of humans Donal belongs to are warriors; the men have telepathic links with each other, and are equal to multiple normal humans. But not much is mentioned of their code of ethics. The comparison to Starship Troopers is apt; the Dorsai meet like Marines, graduate from academy and go out to fight without knowing the context of politics on any battleground. It is unclear how he engineers the promotions unless he is also reading the minds of adversaries. However he does it, he advances from one post to another until called upon to take sides in a Civil War among the loose confederation of planets.
All that said, I am rather curious concerning the rest of the Childe Cycle Series.