War to the Knife is the first volume in the Laredo Trilogy, and it is a fascinating tale of a war that is already lost before the book even begins. The author, Peter Grant, is a fascinating man of much wider experience than most, having been a member of the South African Defense Forces with combat experience in various African nations prior to becoming a pastor.
In War to the Knife, he draws upon aspects of both his past professions; unlike many authors of military science fiction, he truly knows whereof he speaks, both in terms of the technical issues as well as the emotional costs that affect victor and defeated alike.
The trilogy begins with the defeated military remnants of the planet Laredo coming to terms with the fact that their resistance movement is on the verge of being wiped out by the occupying forces of the much wealthier, and more technologically advanced Bactrians. They decide that rather than surrendering to the merciless occupiers, they will attempt to go out in one last defiant bang that will give cover to their attempt to break through the planetary blockade and get the evidence about the Bactrian occupation out to the rest of the Thousand Worlds, who have been kept largely ignorant and misinformed about the true state of affairs.
Grant is a good writer, and the unusual situation he presents, in which the good guys are beaten from the very start, is given additional depth by Grant’s South African perspective. And yet, War to the Knife is not even remotely depressing, it is rather optimistic and inspiring, being a testimony to the indomitable human spirit and its ability to defy even the certainty of death as well as an intriguing war novel full of intrigue and action.
For those who find the name familiar, Peter Grant is, in fact, the leader of the Tor Books boycott. He blogs as Bayou Renaissance Man, a not unreasonable description given his wide range of life experience, and is not a Rabid Puppy, being too fundamentally decent a man to run with our slavering pack of virulent slaughterhounds. But one might not unreasonably describe him as being sympathetic to Puppydom, as well as fully cognizant of the true nature of the SJW enemy.