Dorsai Spirit: Dorsai!/The Spirit of Dorsai

Dorsai Spirit: Dorsai!/The Spirit of Dorsai

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by Gordon R. Dickson

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Two cornerstone novels of the acclaimed “Childe Cycle” return to print in an omnibus edition—with an introduction by David Drake.

Throughout humanity’s Fourteen Worlds, no group is as feared and respected as the Dorsai. The ultimate warriors, they are known for their deadly rages, and ferocious independence...and unbending honor. No

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Two cornerstone novels of the acclaimed “Childe Cycle” return to print in an omnibus edition—with an introduction by David Drake.

Throughout humanity’s Fourteen Worlds, no group is as feared and respected as the Dorsai. The ultimate warriors, they are known for their deadly rages, and ferocious independence...and unbending honor. No one man rules the Dorsai, but their mastery of the arts of war has made them the most valuable mercenaries in the human universe.

Dorsai! is the saga of Donal Graeme, the uniquely talented Dorsai, with powers beyond those of ordinary men. Once he ventures to the stars, the world of the Dorsai will be changed forever.

And The Spirit of Dorsai, written two decades later, is Dickson’s great novel of the women of the Dorsai. For the warrior spirit of the Dorsai does not, cannot reside solely in the men of that race—for when the mercenary Dorsai go to their wars, it is their women who defend their home planet from the predators of the universe. And defend it they do: their home planet has never fallen to an invader, though space is full of the corpses of those who have tried.

Through three generations, the unconquerable Amanda Morgan has embodied this warrior spirit. She is more than one lone woman; she is...the spirit of the Dorsai.

In this single volume is a pair of military SF classics every fan will want to own.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Exit Strategy, the much-hyped open source novel by columnist and commentator Douglas Rushkoff (Coercion, ecstasy Club), is both a moral allegory and a "hypertext labyrinth of references and cross-references" creating a "community riff on our bizarre age." It can be as daunting as it sounds: the tale of a modern Joseph who's caught between the opposite worlds of hackers and venture capitalists sometimes nearly gets buried beneath the footnotes added by readers of the novel's online version, who were told to imagine that the novel had been discovered in the 23rd century ("wedgie: an attack meant to cause pain and embarrassment simultaneously," writes a helpful contemporary reader to future humans). (Soft Skull, $16 paper 340p ISBN 1-887128-90-5) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
Childe Cycle Series
Edition description:
2 Books in 1
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.96(d)

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Dorsai Spirit

> > DORSAI! < <


The boy was odd.

This much he knew for himself. This much he had heard his seniors—his mother, his father, his uncles, the officers at the Academy—mention to each other, nodding their heads confidentially, not once but many times during his short eighteen years of life, leading up to this day. Now, apart, wandering the empty rec fields in this long, amber twilight before returning to his home and the graduation supper awaiting him there, he admitted to the oddness—whether truly in himself, or only in what others thought of him.

"An odd boy," he had overheard the Commandant at the Academy saying once to the Mathematics Officer, "you never know which way he'll jump."

Back at home right now, the family would be waiting his return—unsure of which way he would jump. They would be half expecting him to refuse his Outgoing. Why? He had never given them any cause to doubt. He was Dorsai of the Dorsai, his mother a Kenwick, his father a Graeme, names so very old their origin was buried in the prehistory of the Mother Planet. His courage was unquestioned, his word unblemished. He had headed his class. His very blood and bones were the heritage of a long line of great professional soldiers. No blot of dishonor had ever marred that roll of warriors, no home had ever been burnt, its inhabitants scattered and hiding their family shame under new names, because of some failure on the part of one of the family's sons. And yet, they doubted.

He came to the fence that marked off the high hurdles fromthe jump pits, and leaned on it with both elbows, the tunic of a Senior Cadet pulled tight across his shoulders. In what way was he odd? he wondered into the wide glow of the sunset. How was he different?

He put himself apart from him in his mind's eye, and considered himself. A slim young man of eighteen years—tall, but not tall by Dorsai standards, strong, but not strong by Dorsai standards. His face was the face of his father, sharp and angular, straightnosed; but without his father's massiveness of bones. His coloring was the dark coloring of the Dorsai, hair straight and black and a little coarse. Only his eyes—those indeterminate eyes that were no definite color but went from gray to green to blue with his shifting moods—were not to be found elsewhere on his family trees. But surely eyes alone could not account for a reputation of oddness?

There was, of course, his temper. He had inherited, in full measure, those cold, sudden, utterly murderous Dorsai rages which had made his people such that no sane man cared to cross one of them without good reason. But that was a common trait; and if the Dorsai thought of Donal Graeme as odd, it could not be for that alone.

Was it, he wondered now, gazing into the sunset, that even in his rages he was a little too calculating—a little too controlled and remote? And as he thought that thought, all his strangeness, all his oddness came on him with a rush, together with that weird sense of disembodiment that had afflicted him, now and again, ever since his birth.

It came always at moments like this, riding the shoulders of fatigue and some great emotion. He remembered it as a very young boy in the Academy chapel at evening service, half-faint with hunger after the long day of hard military exercises and harder lessons. The sunset, as now, came slanting in through the high windows on the bare, highly polished walls and the solidographs of famous battles inset in them. He stood amongthe rows of his classmates between the hard, low benches, the ranked male voices, from the youngest cadet to the deep manvoices of the officers in the rear, riding the deep, solemn notes of the Recessional—that which was known as the Dorsai Hymn now, wherever man had gone, and which a man named Kipling had written the words of, over four centuries before.

... Far called, our navies melt away, On dune and headland sinks the fire. Lo! All our pomp of yesterday, Is one with Nineveh, and Tyre ...

As he had remembered it being sung at the burial service when his youngest uncle's ashes had been brought back from the slagged battlefield of Donneswort, on Freiland, third planet circling the star of Sirius.

... For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard, All valiant dust, that builds on dust And guarding, calls not thee to guard ...

And he had sung with the rest, feeling then, as now, the final words in the innermost recesses of his heart.

... For frantic boast and foolish word—Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

A chill shiver ran down his back. The enchantment was complete. Far and wide about him the red and dying light flooded the level land. In the farther sky the black dot of a hawk circled. But here by the fence and the high hurdles, he stood removed and detached, enclosed by some clear, transparent wall that set him apart from all the universe, alone, untouchable and enraptured.The inhabited worlds and their suns sank and dwindled in his mind's eye; and he felt the siren, deadly pull of that ocean of some great, hidden purpose that promised him at once fulfillment and a final dissolution. He stood on its brink and its waves lapped at his feet; and, as always, he strove to lift his foot and step forward into its depths and be lost forever; but some small part of him cried out against the self-destruction and held him back.

Then suddenly—as suddenly as it had come—the spell was broken. He turned toward the craft that would take him home.



As he came to the front entrance, he found his father waiting for him, in the half-shadow leaning with his wide shoulders spread above the slim metal shaft of his cane.

"Be welcome to this house," said his father and straightened up. "You'd better get out of that uniform and into some man's clothes. Dinner will be ready in half an hour."

Copyright © 2002 by The Estate of Gordon R. Dickson Dorsai! Copyright © 1988 by Gordon R. Dickson The Spirit of Dorsai Copyright © 1979 by Gordon R. Dickson

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