haven’t read David Drake in a while – not seriously since college and his Hammer’s Slammers break out novels. And here we have another one written in 1996 (which is more than twenty years ago, a fact that continues to surprise me). Saw this in a used book store and figured why not.
So this story is a thinly veiled allegory (so I’m told) of the Revolutionary War, and what took place in Vermont with Ethan Allen (whom I knew just from the PR he gets in America and if it’s anything like what Sam Adams got, then yes, it’s wildly inaccurate). But in this case, it’s the planet of Greenwood which is being threatened by developers who are getting tracts of lands claimed by off-world authorities (which also occurred in Vermont). So settlers come in and clear, adding effort and value to their homesteads, only to have it snatched up from them by outside interlopers.
Standing for the locals is Yarby Bannock, a tavern-smashing mountain of a man (apparently just like Ethan Allen). And while he’s big and wily, he’s just saved an offworld student lawyer from a beating. Of course, with will all come together when the offworlders try to push the settlers off their homesteads. The heroes are bold and true, the invaders vain and posturing, and it’s what you’d expect from classic Space Opera.
Patriots was a fun enough novel, a little light and breezy in places yet not attempting to be otherwise. I did enjoy it. It did feel (and this is my own personal inclination) that for a novel written by a military scifi guy, the forces of good and bad never quite came together, not in the jungles of the edge of space, in the frontier battle I was half-expecting. There were one or two inept tries at a landing, some courtroom drama, all that stuff, but no back-woods fighting. But outside of that, yes, it was a good read, worth picking up if it comes to a used bookstore near you.