Manxome Foe Mass Market Paperback – Jan 27 2009
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About the Author
John Ringo is author of the New York Times best-selling Posleen War series which so far includes A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances, and Hell’s Faire, as well as the connected novels Cally’s War (with Julie Cochrane), The Hero (with Michael Z. Williamson), and Watch on the Rhine (with Tom Kratman), and is the hottest new science fiction writer since David Weber. A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, Ringo brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his novels of high-tech future war.
Travis S. Taylor—“Doc” Taylor to his friends—has earned his soubriquet the hard way: He has a doctorate in optical science and engineering, a master's degree in physics, a master's degree in aerospace engineering, a master's degree in astronomy, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years. He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. He lives in Auburn, AL with his wife Karen and their daughter.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you've read the earlier books, you'll already know the characters and basic background, but if not, there's enough in this to catch up in a hurry. I call it "space opera", which Wikipedia defines as "a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale."
I couldn't describe this book better if I tried. I liked the action, I liked the people, I liked the science, and I found the last third of the book utterly impossible to put down. I can't wait for the sequel, "Claws That Catch", which is due out in November 2008.
Given all that, though, this one gets only four stars for two reasons:
1. Two major characters from Vorpal Blade (Looking Glass) who are so important that the survival of the UNIVERSE depends on them are completely missing in action.
2. There's a new character you get to meet, know, and like a heckuva lot in the first half of the book who completely disappears from the story for about the last hundred pages. Where'd he go?
I still recommend this book highly, even with the above. It was fun.
The Vorpal Blade crew also found nonhostile sapient aliens who looked like oversized chinchillas. The locals were also being attacked by the demons and asked for assistance from the crew. Eventually, the locals -- with a little help from Miriam -- saved themselves and the humans from the demons.
In this novel, William Weaver is enjoying a little vacation after the refitting of the Vorpal Blade when he is recalled for an emergency meeting in Norfolk. A scientific expedition had been sent to an interstellar planet via a Looking Glass Boson gate. Apparently the base had been attacked with kinetic missiles.
A major explosion had been detected from Earthside and a response team dispatched to the site. The team found the base destroyed, but did not find any living thing -- human or alien -- on the other side. As usual in a Dreen attack, even the bodies were missing. The gate was then destabilized with a small nuke and moved to the Antarctic secure area.
The Vorpal Blade is being sent to conduct a more thorough investigation of the incident. Unfortunately, the warpship will take up to thirty days to cover the five hundred and fourteen lightyears to the planet. All personnel are recalled and the ship is secured for takeoff.
In this story, the lost crewmembers have been replaced with more of the same type. William Weaver is still the Astrogator on the Vorpal Blade. He is also the science officer and general font of information on spatial affairs. Captain Blankemeier -- Spectre -- remains in command, but a new Executive Officer and Commander of Space Marines have been added. Other crewmembers have been replaced and several have been promoted.
Only five marines survived the first voyage. Eric Bergstresser is now a Sargeant and has received the Navy Cross. Two Guns has become a legend among the Space Marines.
Berg also has a new girlfriend. She knows about the casualty rate on the first voyage and is concerned for his safety. He is reluctant to become involved with anyone because of his risky profession, but what can one do when true love hits?
Since the mission doesn't involve spatial exploration like the first voyage, the scientific team is left behind. Only the Special Forces team and Miriam Moon -- the linguist -- are going along. The outward flight is very boring to Miriam, so she wrangles herself into the maintenance crew, doing low priority repairs. The crew already had a high opinion of her talents, but these newly demonstrated capabilities won their hearts and souls.
The nonmaterial hitchhiker in the waste-heat system finds a new home on the outward trip. During a chill cycle, it detects the mind of Miriam and moves into her brain. She starts hearing a voice in her head, but works harder to distract herself. Then it starts making sense.
This tale takes the Vorpal Blade to the destroyed camp, where they find one survivor. Then they begin looking for the attacker. In their investigations, they come upon evidence of a spacebattle and three stranded alien survivors. They also find the remains of Dreen ships.
The previous novel was a story of space exploration, but this story is more space opera with a hard SF background. The Vorpal Blade crew finds their ship to have definite deficiencies in their battles with the Dreen foe. Fortunately, the friendly aliens have some equipment which increases their effectiveness.
The next volume in this series is Claws That Catch. Enjoy!
Highly recommended for Ringo & Taylor fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of space battles, alien contact, and a touch of romance.
-Arthur W. Jordin
First let me say that I listened to this... Maybe this is a book perfectly suited as a background listening experience.
This is the third installment of what promises to be a very long series. The first 'Looking Glass' was a classic 'Independence Day' alien invasion story that was pretty cool. Ringo and Taylor then have the idea of using a nuclear sub as a spaceship and this furthers the plots of the next two series entries. In Manxome Foe, the story starts off with a colony world being attacked. The colony was set up via a series of 'Gates'. In the first book, a gateway system opened up when a physics experiment went awry. People are able to step through the gate from one world to the next.
Ringo loves to talk a blue streak about theoretical physics. In a unique way, he manages to introduce several new ideas with each of the Vorpal Blade books. A lot of the fun was in reading about how the discover a new technology, discuss it, and then incorporate it into the ship.
This story mostly revolves around furthering human technology, the meeting of a new species, a space battle, and banter between the crew members.
This is definitely a story that should not work (in my opinion) but it does. One of my favorite reviews of all time on Amazon had this to say in the title for the 'Looking Glass' "Awful, awful, awful". I gave that book 4 stars and enjoyed it quite a bit. But I can see how both that one and Manxome Foe could be construed by anyone as exactly that, so I would recommend this story, but only with a bit of hesitation.