Eric Flint, K. D. Wentworth
Baen, Sep 2003, 22.00, 506 pp.
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 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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner