I went and dug my copies of the Sten series by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole out of storage, and I'm planning on spending most of the weekend imbibing mass quantities of tea and drifting through the Eternal Empire.
This is one of my all-time favorite Sci-Fi book series. It combines sly humour, politics and a truly encyclopaedic amount of military history into eight books that chart the rise of a grunt through the ranks of a benevolent fascist empire until his inevitable confrontation with the leader of that empire.
And when I say "encyclopaedic military history", I'm not kidding. The sub-plot of the series is a retelling of World War 2 and the Cold War -- up to the seizing of the American Embassy in Tehran; and if that isn't enough, there is enough military trivia snuck in on the sly to require a reference library to catch all the good bits.
For instance, a code-word -- Myitkyina -- used briefly and all-to-easily lost in the chapter, is the name of a fairly important, though little-known-to-Americans battle in the Burma Theatre of Operations during WWII; at flight school Sten is joined by an infantry soldier who is tired of land warfare named William Bishop the 43rd; the tacship that Sten ends up commanding is a Bulkeley-class; and when Sten and Kilgour are captured by the Tahn and prove themselves to be incorrigible prisoners, they are moved to a seized monastery called Koldyeze -- "Koldyeze" being the original spelling for the European castle of Colditz, where the Germans kept "incorrigible" Allied POWs during WWII.
And those are some of the more obvious military trivia found throughout. I'm fairly sure that I've missed many, many more.
There are eight books to this series:
COURT OF A THOUSAND SUNS
FLEET OF THE DAMNED
REVENGE OF THE DAMNED
RETURN OF THE EMPEROR
If you're in the mood for real-world politics, military history and trivia, sly humour and enough genuine Scottish dialect to tie your tongue into knots, I seriously recommend this series of books.