War Dogs 31 was an easy, fun read about the exploits of the Battlesuit Bastards of Kilo Company, War Dogs, Inc. The style is first-person, told from the view of Tommy Falkland, line infantry, and not in the least a ”plaster saint.” The writing style is fast-paced, setting up action and operational vignettes on the planet Ulixis, and leading the reader through transport, logistic, and small-unit engagement. There are a lot of lessons to learn, and a good appreciation for what campaign life can be like for the man at the tip of the spear. The only thought missing was from Kipling’s “Tommy”:
“An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!”
Adding: "An'' Tommy's watched the ticker, the P/E he tracks,
'Cause Tommy plans to have a life beyond dull barracks."
War Dogs, Inc. takes a step into the life of a successful mercenary, in a milieu based on a Traveller game system. The books steps down their mercs' tech level to something near present-day, for reference, and to tell the story of men in combat. None of the characters were immortal or undamaged; we get introduced to good troopers, learn something about them, and then deal with the consequences of death or serious injury. This future has its share of wonders and more than its share of mud, chaos, and blood. These soldiers fight for glory, good pay, and shares in their company, something not seen since the days of the condottieri and the Thirty Years’ War. Whether it’s advanced weaponry or a deliberate step-down to something similar to current day, the Bastards fight, live, and die by the same rules: know yourself and your equipment; trust the men in your squad; follow orders; and take the other ^&($ out first, with a picture or bio sample, because you’re paid by the kill.
This is highly recommended for readers of Drake, Ringo, Larson, Pournelle, Piper, Cole & Anspach, or other writers of space opera, military sci-fi, or who like futuristic adventure stories.