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COURSE OF EMPIRE [Hardcover]

ERIC FLINT
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2003
The Earth has been under the alien tyranny of the Jao for twenty years. Unfortunately the Ekhat have sent a genocidal extermination fleet to the solar system and Earth's only hope is in the hands of a young Jao prince and a young female human.

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From Publishers Weekly

Can a proud and warlike people find common cause with their alien conquerors in the face of a greater danger? That's the question that military SF ace Flint (1633) and two-time Nebula Award finalist Wentworth (This Fair Land) ask in this thought-provoking far-future novel. After defeating the human species, some of the sea lion-like Jao consider finishing off the job through mass asteroid strikes. But the young Aille, newly arrived commander of Jao Ground Forces, seeks to win over the humans not only by showing them the threat posed to all intelligent life by the Ekhat, the elder race that raised the Jao to sentience, but also by trying to forge bonds between the vanquishers and the vanquished. The authors excel at describing how human and Jao customs clash, allowing the reader to discover along with the characters the core beliefs of each society and how these beliefs could be adjusted and harmonized with one another. The Ekhat presents a truly alien threat of the sort that could well merge two belligerent societies into one, not just out of fear but through ties of blood and honor. Building to an exhilarating conclusion, this book cries out for a sequel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Flint and Wentworth drastically modify a venerable sf setup--alien occupiers of a conquered Earth can't understand what makes humans tick--much to the benefit of the book and the greater delight of readers. For one thing, on this Earth, insight and idiocy are equally distributed between the conquerors and conquered, with the invading Jao frequently realizing how much they have to learn and then setting out to learn it. Meanwhile, the humans are playing the same game, with those humans who are hostages to the Jao, or part of the Jao's sepoy army, preparing for war against a still more evil alien race, probably doing more good than the fragmented Resistance accomplishes. If the elaborate detail with which both sides are depicted sometimes slows the pacing, it redounds to Flint and Wentworth's world-building skills. And when Jao clans fall at odds on Earth, on a scale that threatens wholesale devastation, the pacing brisks up enough for anyone's taste. A possible series opener that stands well alone. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the Invasion Dec 7 2003
Format:Hardcover
The Course of Empire is a SF novel about a Terra conquered by an alien empire. This conquest was the most difficult in the entire history of the Joa people; even after twenty years of occupation, the Terrans have not yet been assimilated. Resistance groups still operate in the mountainous regions and riots still occur in the more heavily populated areas. Many of the troops that should have been reassigned after the conquest have been retained to suppress the resistance.
After the conquest, the Narvo kochan was given the oudh to govern Terra and that clan selected Oppuk krinnu ava Narvo to serve as Governor of the planet. The governor and his staff have a low opinion of the humans and this disdain extended down to the lowest levels of the Jao military. Indeed, most Jao consider the humans to only be clever animals, whose behavior is insane and whose mentality is incapable of understanding Jao ways.
In this novel, Aile krinna ava Pluthrak arrives on Terra to assume his duties as Subcommandant for Ground Forces, accompanied only by his fraghta, Yaut krinnu Jithra vau Pluthrak. His presence causes a great deal of consternation, since the Pluthrak kochan may be the most prestigious clan of the Jao, with the possible exception of their Narvo rivals.
Aile becomes even more notable when he starts adding Terrans as well as Jao to his personal service. The first to be added is PFC Gabe Tully, a jinau trooper in the ground forces. Later Aile adds Willard Beck, a human technician, and then Nath krinnu Tashnat vau Nimmat, a Jao supervisor at the Pascagoula refit facility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ALIEN/human culture clash. Oct. 11 2003
Format:Hardcover
K. D. Wentworth shows that the promise of interesting interaction betwixt and between alien and human cultures in her previous two novels was not an 'empty promise'. In this novel she delivers a well thought out alien culture. And in a way that reminded me of C.J. Cherryh made the setting such that the humans in the story must adapt to the aliens culture. Not only does she avoid the clique of the human culture dominating, but she also avoids the old 'aliens conquer earth, valiant earthmen triumph in the end' storyline with a far more interesting plot.
The Jao conquered Earth two decades ago - and things on earth have been going downhill ever since. The Jao are in a war with the Ekhat and are conquering other races in a quest for resources. Except that humans believe the Ekhat are just 'boogie aliens' created by the Jao to keep subject races in line. A powerplay between two major Jao 'clans' brings a young Jao scion to earth. And opens up the posibility of change as the young Jao assumes his duties and learns about earth and earths' people.
The story makes interesting comments about the clash of cultures that could as easily be applied to the differences between human cultures. That reason, an open mind, willingness to listen, to learn about/from and to compromise are needed to allow two very different cultures to work together. That two cultures together have strengths that neither has on its' own.
But Wentworth weaves all of these into a great story that grabs you interest and drags you along on the journey the characters are undertaking. With plot, hidden sub-plots, characters you like/dislike, plots by the characters, a great culture clash and the fine writing I have come to expect from Wentworth this novel is definitly on my 'Best of 2003' list.
Give the bibliophile in you a treat and read this novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional SF! Sept. 24 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is one of the best books I've read this year. Eric Flint has created a consistent, believable premise, and follows it to a great conclusion.
The Jao have conquered earth and been in control for 20 years now. There is great concern the evil Ekart will be coming to eradicate life on earth soon, but the people on earth are not cooperating with the Jao to build the forces necessary to fight the onslaught. Resistance movements still exist in many pockets of the planet, and the Jao governor is becomingly increasingly brutal and disturbed.
A young Jao from the prominent clan group is newly assigned as the number 3 leader on earth. His clan is noted for deeper thought than the clan of the current governor, and he for the first time begins to bond with a few earth people. He takes some into his personnel service, and begins to maneuver to oust the current governor.
Flint creates the Jao completely unlike us in motivation and response, and does an excellent job creating the Ekart as well. This book completely captured my attention with a combination of philosophy, politics, and warfare. It will satisfy any fan of Drake, Weber, or C.S. Forrester with his thoughtful mix of character and action.
Please Mr. Flint, bring on the sequel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strong futuristic thriller Sept. 21 2003
Format:Hardcover
Two decades have passed since the Jao conquered the Earth, but the victors still debate what to do with the defeated humans. Many Jao believe extermination by total destruction of the planet is the final solution. Some like newly arrived Commander Aille believes winning the hearts of the humans is the best long term solution.
Before the Jao can resolve the human problem, they have to contend with the deadly Ekhat, who plan to commit solar system genocidal eradicating human and Jao without a second thought. The Ekhat turned the Jao into sentient beings, but expected loyal servitude bonds instead of ungrateful rebellion. For Human and Jao to vanquish the Ekhat they must forge more than an alliance. They need a consensus that is much greater than a simple summing of the parts. Only leaders like Aille and the human Stockwells have the foresight to see what must be done, but each race has xenophobics sitting in key positions.
This futuristic tale works on several levels as readers will believe that the Jao and Ekhat exist as well as the conquering of the planet has occurred. The action is fast and furious so that this work will appeal to military science fiction buffs. However, the strength of the tale resides in the social, anthropologic, technological, and political make-up of the Jao and the Humans. Readers will observe the difficulty of blending the best of the conquered and the conqueror into a seamless oneness that might prove capable of surviving the Ekhat. Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth provide a triumphant story that is as much cerebral as it is action-packed.
Harriet Klausner
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars engrossing
This well thought out plot unfolds with skillful craft. The story is fast moving and many faceted. A fast paced enjoyable distraction. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anthony Cattani
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
For anyone who likes hard anthropological science fiction (fans of cj cherryh for sure) this is a must read. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Matthew
5.0 out of 5 stars Niven and Pournelle - move over!!
In my long-term view, this is the best "cross cultural" SF war (or culture clash), I believe since the "moties" were created. Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by J. Nachison
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and elevating.
This book is quite an experience. I reread the book several times, it is that well written and that good. It is the best book I have read in years. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Pentworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Very imaginative, a fun read
This has got to be one of the best human/alien interaction books I have ever read. It's not so much that this story is about alien conflict, the story takes place twenty years... Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by Mark E. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this book a HUGO: Course of Empire is brilliant
Take two authors known to be among the most capable at creating believable and completely inhuman and nonhuman aliens, and ask them to write together. What do you get? Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2003 by Walt Boyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult - and Immensely Rewarding
I found this a difficult book to read because it is so very well written. That's not a contradiction, by the way. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2003 by Geoffrey Kidd
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