A Military Science Fiction series by David Gunn.
Sven Tveskoeg is a super-powered Anti-Hero / Punch-Clock Hero with a bad temper, working in an elite regiment of Emperor Octo V's army (the titular Death's Head). During a military campaign, Sven recruits "auxiliaries" from the regular army, which he turns into an elite squad.
Octo's glorious empire battles the Enlightened, watched by the United Free who drastically enforce The Laws and Customs of War when they feel like it.
Three books have been published so far:
- Death's Head
- Maximum Offense
- Day of the Damned
This series provides examples of:
- The Ageless: Octo V has been thirteen years old for centuries.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Well, maybe not all, but there are quite a lot of capital offenses in the Empire and the Enlightened.
- Bling of War: Played straight in various armies, subverted in the Empire's Death's Head.
- Cyborg: The Enlightened.
- Drop Pod: used in the first book.
- Empathic Weapon: The SIG, intelligent pistol.
- The Emperor: Octo V, immortal emperor ruling his empire with an iron fist.
- Glass Weapon: Glass knives. Their brittleness is a feature, so you can leave the blade inside your enemy's body. The first-person narrator mentions glass knives early in the second or third book. They can be bought by the dozen and the user can easily break the handle off after stabbing, making the blade hard to dislodge. The narrator contrasts them with his opponent's big rusty knife, "a poser's weapon".
- The Golden Rule: In the third book: "Do unto others as they would do unto you. But do it first and harder."note
- Healing Factor: Sven's 1.8 percent of "something else".
- Honor Before Reason: Well, not actually honor, but loyalty before reason: Sven fights very dirty, but once he has picked a side, he will just. never. leave. it.
- Penal Colony: In the first book.
- Psychic Powers / Technopath: The Enlightened's biotechnology is centered about this. A few select citizens in the Empire have access to it, usually top servants of the Emperor, but it's a capital crime.
- Taking You with Me: Sven convinces A whole artificial world to do that to an Enlightened ship in the second book.
- Token Enemy Minority: Haze, a renegade Enlightened.
- Wake Up Fighting: Sven's "first second rule" is that if it happens in the first second, you shouldn't fault the wakee for it.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: A deep part of book 3's plot in a nutshell. The United Free pressured Emperor Octo V into betraying General Jaxx, with the promise that violence would be limited to a few targeted assassinations. What happened instead was a reenactment of Saint Barthélémy.
- Command Roster: