PRINCE OF SPARTA BY JERRY POURNELLE S.M. STIRLING

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Copyright 1993.

Sparta has won a great victory over the Helots. Yet the survivors have escaped and with continued support from Senator Bronson have regrouped and rearmed. They continue a guerrilla war with acts of terrorism. They also get help from Bronson’s influence over the CoDominium fleet. They increase the flow of involuntary colonists to give the Helots more recruits and blockade the planet economically. In spite of this, the Spartans manage to deal the Helots a decisive blow at a battle, and it looks like they will defeat them. Only the CoDominium has collapsed, and Bronson’s faction enters the fight on the side of the Helots. Sparta and the Legion have a final battle that will decide the fate of not only Sparta but the future of mankind.

The final book in the series is the best of the series. It is a brilliant study in Low Intensity Conflicts of the twentieth century. That time when two superpowers would support guerilla movements. The guerillas existed solely because of outside support and safe havens to operate from. How the guerrilla movement starts out as a hit and run force to a conventional force. Also, how this movement is effectively fought. A really exciting ending that shows how a free and well-armed people can resist such a movement.

Naturally they win with help from defecting fleet personnel and ends with them basically declaring fealty to the Spartan king as the Roman emperors of old were. I love the characters including the Spartan king Lysander. A man who inspired his troops to fight on in adversity. The Helot leader Skilly who is a complete psychopath and massacres innocent women and children to achieve her goal.

Sadly, Pournelle decided to abandon writing at this time and go into retirement. I would have loved to see more stories about this fascinating universe. How Sparta continued on after the fall of the CoDominium and built the Spartan Hegemony. Falkenberg’s Legion series is my favorite of Pournelle’s work. I never get tired of rereading them.

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