Grade: E — Readable in genre, but you could probably do better.
This series follows the career of a young soldier in the far future, from his days as a Cadet to his eventual rise to being a Colonel. In that sense, it is vaguely reminiscent of a science fiction version W. E. B. Griffin‘s Brotherhood Of War series. the Dirigent Mercenary Corps (or DMC as I will call it) starts strong with its first volume, Officer Cadet and has a good installment with its second offering Lieutenant, but begins to falter after that. While remaining readable, it starts becoming much of a muchness (as my dear Pater used to say), and lost my interest.
Set in a Space Operatic far future with interstellar travel, this tale focuses on a Mercenary unit whose existence dominates the economy of a colonized world. The tale moves from settled world to settled world as the mercenaries are hired to settled the problems of different worlds through use of arms.
As you may have gathered by now, I do like Military Fiction a good deal, and as far as it goes, this series is okay for what it is. It follows Lon Nolan’s career through the service, starting with his mission as a Cadet (which basically puts him in combat like any enlisted man) and follows his progress, mission by mission, up to his eventual rank of Colonel. As far as it goes, that is perfectly fine. It is action based and primarily focuses on the combat elements, which is why one buys MilFic in the first place. Unfortunately, round about the time we get to Captain, the stories are not only sounding a bit too similar, but there is a bit of a break in his career progression as well.
I like the idea of following an officer up through the ranks, as Griffin did in his seminal Brotherhood of War series, but in order for that to work, it needs to be a study in the difference that each rank and its duties are about. To that end, DMC starts strongly by giving us a grounding in what the enlisted men do, then moves quickly on by showing us Nolan’s life leading a platoon as a Lieutenant. Unfortunately, he keeps that rank for most of the Captain volume as well. As a result, during that volume, where the title would lead one to believe we’d be seeing how he leads a Company, we actually see him still leading a platoon. Not much progression, and thus the stories begin to meld with one another.
Having found the Starfist series, I put the DMC series down at that point and never picked it up again. To be fair, I keep meaning to, but as that there are Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel volumes to plow through, it seems a fairly big investment to keep reading when there are so many other books out there. If you see a copy and feel like a MilFic read, its worth picking up… but only if there is nothing else that really catches your fancy.