Janissaries: Storms of Victory [Amazon link] by Roland Green and Jerry Pournelle is the third volume in the Janissaries series. At least until this year, it was also the last. I think Jerry and Roland did a pretty good job wrapping things up in the original three, but clearly there is more to be sung in the ballad of Rick Galloway.
My physical volume isn’t the one with the cover image I put in the post, but rather the Baen combination volume Tran [Amazon link] that unites Clan and Crown and Storms of Victory into one. The last Ace paperback is a mass market paperback, and not Massively Illustrated! like the previous two volumes. I guess Ace was done with that program by 1987. I imagine it was expensive. If you are getting into Janissaries now, I would recommend the Lord of Janissaries omnibus ebook [Amazon link], which has the first three volumes collected as one, unless you just love that sweet sweet smell of slowly oxidizing paper. I certainly do.
Storms of Victory is not going to offer anyone any surprises who has read Janissaries and Clan and Crown. Sure, we get new plots and conspiracies, and the fortunes of war will bring some men to halls of Vothan while sparing others, but this is very much more of the same thing. But what a thing it is! Battle, intrigue, and adventure await.
There are a couple elements of Storms of Victory that stand out to me. First is the unification of the dominant faiths of Drantos and Rome, a kind of pan-European paganism mostly minus human sacrifice that merges with pre-Constantinian Christianity. Jerry certainly mused about the re-unification of Christianity in his Co-Dominium novels, but this is a common enough thing in science fiction stories of this era. In this case it partly recapitulates the process by which Christianity became inculturated in Western Europe. It seems likely the New Christianity fostered by Rick Galloway will forever alter Tran. Although we haven’t seen an Investiture Controversy yet.
Second is the painful estrangement of Rick and Tylara throughout the book, the bitter fruit of habitual conspiracies, dynastic politics, and infidelity. It is hard to read, but even here, you can see the Hand of Providence working. The Sacrament of Penance figures prominently in the story, which is less common than stories about the reunification of Christianity, at least in my experience. The resolution of this thread of the story is what makes me feel that the story was reasonably wrapped up by the end of volume three.
Unfortunately I don’t know which real-world battles were used as inspiration for this book. Jerry’s general strategy across his whole career was to borrow real-world conflicts and use them in his books, but I just have no idea which ones got picked here. Perhaps an astute reader will provide the answer.
While some attempt was made to wrap up the story, clearly both readers and Jerry himself felt that enough was left unresolved to merit another book. Coming up soon, I’ll see how that turned out. At least for now, I can still recommend Storms of Victory for anyone who likes this kind of thing.
Other books by Jerry Pournelle
There Will Be War