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    JANISSARIES by Jerry Pournelle

    ACE Books, 1979

    Rick Galloway's CIA sponsored company is on the verge of being wiped out when an alien starship descends, 'rescues' them, and carts them off to a distant world (Tran) where they are expected to fight for their rescuers and deliver an important drug crop. They are Janissaries, (named after the medieval soldiers, adopted as children from Christian families and trained to be the elite forces of the Muslim Ottoman Empire).

    Once on their new planet, Rick's second in command leads a mutiny. Rick is on his own, accompanied only by an Earth woman abandoned by her alien-but human boyfriend and one loyal soldier. Alone, the three humans must carve out their place in a world filled with enemies. The planet shows evidence of multiple harvests over the centuries. Civilizations representing the Byzantine Romans, Medieval Scots, and others. Worse, Parsons, Rick's former second in command, is now gunning for him and, waiting to see what happens, the aliens wait for delivery of their crops.

    Jerry Pournelle (see other reviews of novels by this author) writes a convincing military science fiction novel. Facing the highly organized Roman cavalry, he develops an effective infantry force that combines the long bow and the pike. Exciting marches and battles follow as Galloway learns more about the secrets of the aliens and the mysterious death that seems to follow the harvest.

    Four Stars

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