[Book Review] Baen Books: ‘Though Hell Should Bar the Way’ by David Drake

Though Hell Should Bar the Way


Roy Olfetrie planned to be an officer in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy, but when his father was unmasked as a white-collar criminal he had to take whatever he was offered.

What is offered turns out to be a chance to accompany Captain Daniel Leary and Lady Adele Mundy as they go off to start a war that will put Roy at the sharp end.

Duty snatches Roy from the harem of a pirate chief to a world of monsters, from interstellar reaches in a half-wrecked starship to assassination attempts at posh houses. Roy has the choice of making friends or dying friendless; of meeting betrayal and responding to it; of breaking his faith or keeping it at the risk of his life.

Pirates, politics, and spies–and waiting for Roy if he survives all the rest, a powerful warship.

The action doesn’t slow–nor can Roy, for if he does the only question is which of the many threats will be the one to catch and kill him. But Captain Leary himself has given Roy a chance, and Roy is determined make the most of it—THOUGH HELL SHOULD BAR THE WAY.

Though Hell Should Bar the Way

Though Hell Should Bar the Way is the twelfth novel in the RCN series by David Drake. It portrays the world of the Lt. Leary and Adele Mundy from a different perspective. A new character has been introduced to the world and it’s his perspective and his adventures that we follow. The two big players we have come to love in the series were only minor entities in this storyline.

This novel also takes a step to the side of the series by telling this story from the first perspective, something rarely done by Drake. The fact it is a new perspective, new character, and a lot of story, leads you to believe that you won’t get the standard nerve-wracking space battle that David Drake portrays so well. You have some minor ship encounters early on, and some ships get blown up about halfway through the novel. Don’t worry, in the end Drake delivers and you get a nail-biting space battle that he only he can write.

This new take on the world of the RCN makes me wonder if Mr. Drake has found a way to continue his RCN series in a new character with new adventures; after all Leary and Mundy are semi-retired and living the lives they want. They have their ‘Happily ever after’ and after 10 years, isn’t it time for someone else to take the helm?

Even through this is the twelfth in the series, it could easily be picked up and read on its own with no knowledge of its predecessors. This book wasn’t as long or as comedic as previous novels in this series, but it was still a highly enjoyable read. Overall, the book was a well-written, quick and entertaining read.

We gave Though Hell Should Bar the Way 4.5 stars

PopCultHQ Rating - 4.5 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 4.5 Stars


Written by:  David Drake
Cover Art by Stephen Hickman
Published by Baen Books

How we rate our Books

1 = We finished the book with effort

2 = Readable, but more fluff than substance

3 = Good

4 = Pretty Good and worth passing on to your friends

5 = We couldn’t put the book down