COURSE OF EMPIRE Hardcover – Sep 1 2003
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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.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
good airplane book. Not gonna win awards, but enjoyable.Published 21 months ago by Matthew Carl Schwarz
This well thought out plot unfolds with skillful craft. The story is fast moving and many faceted. A fast paced enjoyable distraction. Read morePublished 24 months ago by SwissCatt
For anyone who likes hard anthropological science fiction (fans of cj cherryh for sure) this is a must read. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2013 by Matthew
In my long-term view, this is the best "cross cultural" SF war (or culture clash), I believe since the "moties" were created. Read morePublished on March 11 2004 by JSN
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 morePublished on Jan. 22 2004 by Pentworth
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 morePublished on Oct. 17 2003 by Mark E. Cooper
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 morePublished on Aug. 22 2003 by Walt Boyes