2017-07-13 17:53:32 UTC
** spoiler alert ** I'm of the school of thought that holds that you can determine things about an author by reading their books. And what I determined from this one is that David Drake probably enjoyed watching a Fistful of Dollars. Sure the Clint Eastwood film was a westernization of Yojimbo which was an Easternization of Red Harvest, but The Sharp End feels like a Spaghetti western as a small group of mercenaries wander into Columbia IN SPACE and play two warring drug cartels against each other before just killing everyone in a kind of pointless gesture since they were all going to die soon anyway.
The other thing I determined was that Drake must have really regretted killing Joachim Steuben, the gay gunslinger who used to be Hammer's right hand man because here he is again, undead and using a new name...for...some reason. It doesn't really make sense. He hints that the apparent kill shot was stopped by a vest but I recall Steuben being definitely perforated and there's no hint whatsoever that there's an actual reason why Steuben would have faked his death and yet still be working for Hammer in a paper-thin disguise. Maybe Steuben's a vampire and doesn't want Hammer to know, his new identity being down at the bottom where Hammer who is now a planetary leader will never see him.
On the other hand I can see why Drake would want his badass gunslinger around for his tribute to spaghetti westerns so I guess we just go with it.