BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A book that has nothing to do with ducks, but instead deal with a war between humans and the Zor (who are very not duck-like). Humans and the Zor have been at war for 60 years, and the conflict has rekindled after a sneak attack on the earth fleet near the border. The humans assign a new admiral, who understands the Zor, to end the war no matter what. He accomplishes this and more, but there are some surprises for the conquering hero and his fleet when they return to Earth.
PROS: A fantastic setting with the concept of a Solar Empire for the human government, and excellent character development through the book.
CONS: My standard peeve in regards to terms or words without a pronunciation guide, but in this case it was the Zor language that had me at a loss at times.
BOTTOM LINE: A fine military science fiction book with the right mix of action, intrigue and alien blasting goodness.
I picked up this book at the library after listening to the Dragon Page inteview with Walter Hunt. He indicated there that he is not a military man, and that was intriguing enough for me to check out his book to see how his style reads. His world view is very much like that of the Holy Roman Empire at this point in the future, and the human empire is ruled by a Parliment with an Emperor. Furthermore, there is a feudal feel to this universe which works really well. He did not spend alot of time discussing the mechanics of either empire (human or Zor), but there was enough there that you felt that you understood both sides political states.
This leads me to the Zor. They are portrayed as a very honorable race who see humanity as a blight upon the universe. It is ingrained into thier religion and has them fighting to the death in every engagement. They felt very similar to the Japanese samurai in many ways from the way they would address each other and the way they fought. They were also the reason that I had some problems with the book in that Mr. Hunt would use terms and lines from thier language without a pronounciation guide, and I has some problems there. This was not a major ding on the book in that the terms were defined, but they were difficult to pronounce (and I am pretty sure I prounounced them wrong.)
Overall the pacing is quite good, and Mr. Hunt mixes political intrigue with galactic war in a way that reads well. He also leaves some unanswered questions which is fitting as this book is really the first in a series. His battle sequences are done well and he even covers how the ships shielding works with respect to venting excess energy. If you like military sci fi – this book is well worth the time spent reading it.