Getting military sci-fi right is tricky. As with any genre fiction, there are certain rules to be followed. When you pick up a book with a cover depicting a sword-wielding Roman-type firing a primitive cannon under the shadow of a swirling nebula, you have certain expectations and woe unto any author who fails to meet them. Fortunately, S.M. Stirling and David Drake are both decorated vets (Stirling for the bestselling Anne McCaffrey collaboration The City Who Fought and Drake for the well-loved Hammer's Slammers series, about "the meanest bunch of mercs who ever nuked a world for pay.")|
The Reformer continues their Raj Whitehall series, with its intriguing schtick of the cloned consciousnesses of a military commander (Raj) and a battle computer (Center) becoming voices in the head of a would-be hero on a primitive world who is trying to coax humanity back--one planet at a time--to the level of progress it had acheived before a crippling galactic civil war. In The Reformer, Raj and Center are guiding a clever, scrappy philosopher named Adrian and his studly soldier brother Esmond, helping them introduce gunpowder and civic order (eventually) to the quasi-Roman civilization on Hafardine. Fast-paced, but not quite as meaty as earlier installments in the series, Reformer still gets the job done with believable battle scenes and knowing descriptions of early weapons and technology.
source: Paul Hughes, Amazon.com.