The author writes about a world where there is no war, work is optional, a worldwide computer system manages energy consumption and the weather, people teleport around the globe just for fun, life expectancy approaches 500 years, and almost all of those 500 years are spent in good health. The world is ruled by a council of thirteen people known as “Key-Holders”, because they each possess a key that allows them to control critical systems in their world. This describes the Earth around 4,000 AD just at the beginning of THERE WILL BE DRAGONS, the first book in John Ringo's COUNCIL WAR series. Some people engage in constructive pursuits like the arts and sciences, but, unfortunately, there is another group of people in this future who want to commit murder, rape, slavery, and/or scientific experimentation on human beings without their consent. They start a civil war and cause their near-utopian civilization to collapse. Those people who participated in historical re-enactments, especially medieval-style combat, prior to the Fall have a distinct advantage. This book is the fourth in the series and takes place a little less than five years after the Fall with the world divided into two warring factions. One group, the United Free States (UFS), dominates North America while the other, New Destiny, controls Europe and much of Asia.
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What little technology that survives is powered by a few Helium Three nuclear reactors spread around the globe and equally divided between the two factions. Their supply of Helium Three comes from the outer planets. The Helium Three mines are automated, as is the spaceship that travels to the Earth every five years to refuel the reactors. If one side gets control of this ship, they will almost certainly win the war.
The story focuses on Herzer Herrick, an elite soldier chosen to lead the UFS expedition to the refueling ship, and Megan Travante, his significant other, who became a Key-Holder by virtue of assassinating one of the Key-Holders who started the war and taking his key. She has to go on the expedition as well, because only a Key-Holder can override the ship's computerized command and control system. Much of the book concerns the events leading up to and training for the expedition, which consist of soldiers, pilots, engineers, and computer programmers.
Naturally, New Destiny also sends an expedition, which is led by Reyes Cho, a Key-Holder at the time of the Fall. The members of his expedition, who address him as “Great One”, are former humans who have been biologically engineered into creatures out of fantasy novels, such as Orcs. The final part of the book consists of their battle, both inside the ship and outside in space.
The review of this Book prepared by Thomas R. Feller