Hostile Takeover Mass Market Paperback – Nov 2 2004
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About the Author
S. Andrew Swann lives in the Greater Cleveland area. He has a background in mechanical engineering. He has published twenty-three novels over the past eighteen years, which include science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His latest series is his epic space opera, the Apotheosis trilogy. He can be found at sandrewswann.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Okay, on to my take on the story. Set in the same universe as the Moreau books, Hostile Takeover tells of the dissolution of the government that the Moreau books began to set up. The year is 2350, and all of human space (80+ worlds) is joined into one unwieldly Confederacy, which is starting to seriously fray around the edges as the various ethnic and political divisions start to diverge.
The planet Bakunin, established as a dumping ground for Earth undesirables, is now an anarchic 'pirate planet', where anything goes, and established Nation-States are anathema. Colonel Klaus Dacham is sent in to take over a local arms manufacturer as a prelude to a full-scale Confederacy invasion. The whys and wherefores of this action are the meat of the story, and very tasty meat it is...
The main character is Dominic Magnus, the exiled brother of Dacham, and also the CEO of the targeted arms manufacturer. His character is by far the most well-developed and sympathetic, but Swann does an outstanding job of taking us into the minds of even peripheral characters. The fates some of these characters meet is not at all what I expected, and is the reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars. Granted, that's merely a personal opinion; the story itself deserves at least 5 stars.
The technologies, the byzantine political maneuverings, and the motivations for each character are so well thought-out that this universe really came alive for me, even more so than the Moreau trilogy.
I can only hope that Swann will someday write a sequel to this work, letting us know what became of Tetsami and Shane...
Swann has improved his pacing considerably since his last outing in this universe (the Moreau series, which I read after Hostile Takeover). He has a distinct knack for description and excels at portraying spectacular action setpieces, but he no longer seems to feel the need to string together long, mostly gratuitous, series of breathless fight/chase sequences with their correspondingly high bodycounts. Make no mistake, there's plenty of action to go around, but it isn't the focus of the story.
There is a considerable amount of exposition here, as Swann spends no small amount of time developing his future history, but he manages to avoid coming off as didactic. Rarely did I find myself bored-Swann has put together a compellingly detailed picture of a balkanized star-faring humanity held together in an uneasy compact by the most tenuous of ties-avoiding the naive notion that nationality and ethnicity will magically stop mattering once we reach the stars. Of particular interest is Bakunin, which is an anarchist free-for-all split between corporations who carry out business (often violently) from heavily-armed fortress compounds and isolated communes of misfits and radicals pursuing their own idiosyncratic paths largely oblivious to goings-on outside their walls. It's all very gritty, paranoid, and disturbingly plausible.
The characters are reasonably well-drawn, though the star (Dominic Magnus/Jonah Dacham) is by far the best realized. The lethal sibling rivalry between Klaus and Jonah does a good job providing narrative drive, though Swann could have stood to make Klaus a little less one-dimensional.
All is not rosy however. The book's main flaw is that there is _too_ much going on. Between the political maneuvering on earth, the ground war on Bakunin, the Dolbrians (a vanished alien race), Proteans (a commune of post-humans with complete mastery of nanotechnology), the non-humans of Tau Ceti (products of 21st century genetic engineering), the Tetsami/Dominic romance and myriad other subplots there's precious little time for the reader to absorb it all, or for any of the characters to really develop.
Hopefully Swann will rectify some of these problems in the sequel (which judging by the end of Revolutionary looks to focus on the nonhuman seven-worlds and the Dolbrians). A tighter focus and a little more attention to characterization could make this into a hard-SF great. As it stands it's still a solid and enjoyable effort by an author who knows what he's doing and doesn't insult the intelligence of his readers.
I'm lined up for more.
Bakunin, which has long been a thorn in the side of the Confederacy.
A TEC task force commanded by Dom's estranged brother is dispatched
to deal with the situation...
"Hostile Takeover" is a page-turner with lots of shoot-em-ups, but a
surprisingly low body-count. No startling innovations here - tho the
Church of Christ, Avenger comes close - just intelligent writing, well-
drawn characters, and clever plotting. I liked it. If you like mil.sf, so
Note that "S. Andrew Swann" is the pseudonym of Steven Swiniarski. Nice omnibus reprint.
Peter D. Tillman
This book seems like a hybred of several genres, time travel, cyber-punk and military SF. With a mix like that I was expecting a mess but what I got was a well woven tale. The characters are well fleshed out and are not all perfect.
If you are looking for a different kind of SF book then take a look at this one, like me, you will not be disappointed.