This book is a collection of four of the Dorsai novellas, written across a fairly wide period of time. Therefore, it makes more sense to consider each novella independently, though the rating reflects the collection as a whole. (As a side note, the order in which they were written does not reflect the chronological order of the stories as they take place in the world.)
The first book, Necromancer, was my least favorite. I was on the verge of giving up the collection after reading it. While it staThis book is a collection of four of the Dorsai novellas, written across a fairly wide period of time. Therefore, it makes more sense to consider each novella independently, though the rating reflects the collection as a whole. (As a side note, the order in which they were written does not reflect the chronological order of the stories as they take place in the world.)
The first book, Necromancer, was my least favorite. I was on the verge of giving up the collection after reading it. While it started in an interesting fashion, it quickly seemed like it was reaching for deeper philosophical points that were never made clear, and by the end the plot felt confusing and shallow. It is also worth noting that although Necromancer was supposed to show the events that led to the universe of the future as shown in the other three novellas, the connections between the two feel fairly weak.
The next novel, Tactics of Mistake, redeemed the series for me. I was really interested in seeing how the universe had grown, and the plot was engaging. I had conflicting opinions of the main character. He seemed to me to be a fundamentally unlikable person, but his personality also seemed to be understandable from his extreme focus on his goals. It was as though he had sacrificed an understanding of social behavior for an extreme talent with tactics.
Dorsai! was the third novel in the collection, although the first written. This is notable because the main character, Donal Graeme, seemed nearly identical in personality and ability to the character in Tactics of Mistake (Cletus Grahame). Because of the order in which they were written, it would be more accurate to say that Cletus was written to be nearly identical to Donal. Regardless, I was a bit disappointed by this one, as it felt so very similar to the previous novella, although I did appreciate reading more about the universe and understanding it as a coherent whole.
The last in the collection, Soldier, Ask Not, gave me the most mixed reactions. I enjoyed the change in perspective of a new character, with new goals. And I still enjoyed the universe. But I still found the main character to be somewhat unlikable. And I felt that the general conflict between the old "integrated" people of Earth and the specialized people of the splinter cultures could have been a little more interesting.
Overall, I felt the collection was worth 4 stars because I enjoyed the universe, and seeing how various characters fit together in that universe. But I wish I had more empathy for the main characters of some of the novellas, and perhaps that might have come with more human flaws.
One of the greats of military science fiction and a compelling future development of the human race. This may be unlikely, but it makes an interesting and thought-provoking metaphor for the varied and sometimes contradictory elements in our own culture and in most individual personalities.
Another of my favorite collections. Humanity has fractured into societies developed around intellectuals, religious sects, and the Dorsai, the mercenaries who find it difficult to remain the neutral hired hands. Much happens. They should be easily found at the library as individual books.
The Dorsai are a planet where the people make their living as professional soldiers for hire in low tech conflicts. This collection contains the novels Necromancer, Tactics of Mistake, Dorsai, and Soldier Ask Not. This is a brilliant mixture of adventure, war, and political intrigue.
Gordon Rupert Dickson was an American science fiction author. He was born in Canada, then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota as a teenager. He is probably most famous for his Childe Cycle and the Dragon Knight series. He won three Hugo awards and one Nebula award.