Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Horizon Storms - by Kevin J. Anderson

This is the third installment in Anderson's excellent series, The Saga Of Seven Suns and it just gets better and better. If you're not familiar with the story, here's a very brief outline of the tale so far...

Earth and its colonies comprise the Terran Hanseatic League (Hansa), which is run as a corporation headed by a ruthless chaiman and ruled by a puppet king. Interstellar space travel is only possible using a stardrive given to them by the alien Ildiran Empire and which runs on Ekti, an exotic allotrope of hydrogen harvested from the atmosphere of gas giants.

When an archaeologist, exploring a world once occupied by the now extinct Klikiss race, finds the designs for a device that can turn a gas giant into a sun, the Hansa are keen to use it to allow them to terraform the moons and thus get more space for humanity. When they use the Klikiss Torch on Oncier, the planet is indeed converted into a sun and the Hansa are delighted but unknown to them, Oncier was the home of the Hydrogues, an immensely powerful species living at the super-dense pressures in the core of such gas giants. Needless to say the Hydrogues aren't pleased at the deaths of millions of their kind and issue a declaration forbidding all Ekti harvesting on pain of destruction and they back up the threat by destroying several harvesters on different worlds and assassinating the current King. They're not interested in other species, hence the fact that their existance was unknown, and simply don't care that Ekti is vital to both the Hansa and the Ildirans and so war ensues.

I could go on and on as there are loads of sub-plots and character stories but that would only spoil it for anyone wanting to start reading from the beginning. Here's a taster of Horizon Storms...
The titanic war between the elemental Hydrogues and Faeros continues to sweep across the Spiral Arm, extinguishing suns and destroying planets. Chairman Wenceslas and King Peter must now unify the human race with iron-fisted policies in a final bid to stand together -- or face total annihilation. The breakaway Roamers and Theron clans are forming an alliance at odds with the Hansa and the Ildiran Empire struggles after the death of their Mage-Imperator. On taking over his father's throne, Jora'h, the new Mage-Imperator, learns that the Hydrogues are not unknown to them and that they barely survived a war with them 10,000 years ago and that only because of a secret pact with the Klikiss Robots.

This is one of the best science-fiction series I've read for a while and I can really recommend it. The depth of the story and the well developed characters make it really worthwhile and enjoyable reading. Roll on book four, Scattered Suns!

Genre: Science-Fiction
ISBN: 0-7434-3067-0
My Rating: 9/10

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