I picked up a copy of this on the recommendation of Jeffro over at the Castalia House blog, and once again he did not steer me wrong. The Cold Stars series is less a long string of novels and more a string of short stories all set in the same universe. It’s a bit like a one man Berserker series with a few threads running through the background, but a primary focus on one story at a time.
The first tale in the series is actually The Thorne Legacy, which presents a sad sack corporal deliberately sabotaging his career because, “Screw you, Dad!” When the big bad shows up, he doesn’t necessarily see the error of his ways, but he does redeem himself by the end.
The star-drive conceit is a nice touch – an hour of subjective time for the star-farers costs them twenty hours of time in the outside universe. It’s a hand-wavey way to deal with relativity that opens up a lot of potential for drama. Although FTL is present, there are no hop-skip-and-jump voyages. Even a short round trip will see the star-farers returning a day later. Which allows for considerable tension as a ship races to a planet, knowing that they will get there too late to do the defenders any good.
It also means that those travelling on starships age slower than their ground-pounder cousins, which results in space marines being ‘men out of time’. It means that space travel is conducted only by those who leave nothing behind or who have nothing to lose.
It’s an interesting series, and one that I’ll be watching as it develops.