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Claws That Catch Hardcover – 4 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 343 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Har/Cdr edition (4 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416555870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416555872
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3 x 23.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,314,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description

About the Author

John Ringo is author of the "New York Times" best-selling Posleen War series which so far includes "A Hymn Before Battle," "Gust Front," "When the Devil Dances," and "Hell's Faire," as well as the connected novels "Cally's War" (with Julie Cochrane), "The Hero" (with Michael Z. Williamson), and "Watch on the Rhine" (with Tom Kratman), and is the hottest new science fiction writer since David Weber. A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, Ringo brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his novels of high-tech future war. Travis S. Taylor--"Doc" Taylor to his friends--has earned his soubriquet the hard way: He has a doctorate in optical science and engineering, a master's degree in physics, a master's degree in aerospace engineering, a master's degree in astronomy, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years. He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. He lives in Harvest, AL with his wife Karen and their daughter.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 52 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
What Happened to Vorpal Blade? 26 Dec 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I truly have enjoyed the series so far. That is, until I hit this book.

In the past two books (Vorpal Blade and Manxome Foe) the focus of the characters have shifted from Dr. William Weaver (Into the Looking Glass) to a character not even mentioned in the first book, with the new character Eric "Two Guns" Bergstresser taking over as the star. While this in itself wouldn't normally bother me, the fact that Dr. Weaver becomes a cardboard caricature of what made him so cool in book 1 really gets me down.

There were parts of it I really enjoyed, such as when the space spiders eat the Dreen and the taking of the Dreen "mother ship" by the space Marines. The action scenes, when they do occur, are marvelous and fast paced. The romance behind "Two Guns" and his new wife is superb, though she seems quite mature for a teenager fresh out of high school. Maybe that was just the impression I got...

However, my enjoyment of these scenes was dampened by the Tum Tum tree and the subsequent anime change. It was confusing and slowed the story down immensely, not to mention it was just plain odd. I understand the inspiration behind it, but I felt it was placed into the book to fill space until the action could start for real.

Also, the authors left out Tuffy and Mimi in this book, shifting instead the main "oddness" factor onto Miriam. The voice in her head, while interesting, really can't replace what Tuffy and Mimi as a duo brought to the series. Miriam was a known genius that was played up in earlier books, but Mimi and Fluffy brought a feeling of innocence and power that the character Miriam seems unable to duplicate. I hope that Tuffy and Mimi make a triumphant return later.

One major quibble: Poertena. He was, to me, annoying in the Empire of Man series Ringo coauthored with David Weber. To bring him into this universe, with the same accent, personality and everything, smacks of laziness and arrogance. It's as though the authors suggest that it doesn't matter what they do in the book or how lazy they can be, people will buy it nonetheless.

The problems in this book can and probably will affect the later sales of this series. I'm hoping that the series can go back from "anime" scifi to "hard" scifi that made it so promising initially.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Enemies MAY kill you, people problems WILL 7 Nov 2008
By Geoffrey Kidd - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This one got five stars, which should tell you how I felt about this latest entry in the Looking Glass Saga. Once again the A.S.S. Vorpal Blade(II) goes forth to find out "What's out there? Thataway," and runs headlong into more trouble than you'ld want to see in one lifetime.

As with the last book, Manxome Foe (Looking Glass, Book 3) the first two-thirds or so of the book deal with daily living, people, preparations for lift-off, and the people problems of getting a crew working as a team. This is followed by the sort of space and small-unit battle that the authors handle superbly.

All of it was very well-written and thoroughly engrossing to the point where I hated having to interrupt my reading with little things like eating, work, dinner with my wife, websurfing. And I'm very glad, as I write this, that I finished it in time NOT to lose anything as unimportant as sleep.

The title of this review, however, is how I'll be thinking of this story for a long time. Remember the problem of shaking down a crew of people, most of them strangers to each other, into a smoothly functioning team? THAT is truly, for me, what this book was about. The really important battle in this book was creating that team, getting the screwups to learn better, INCLUDING the captain, and turning them into a family. I won't give you any spoilers here. Each and every one of those scenes is engrossing, and taught me powerful lessons about how to function at my job and do the people parts WELL.

And, as the last parts of the book make pellucidly clear, if the people problems hadn't been worked on BEFORE the "murthering great battle" at the end, NOBODY would have made it out of this one alive.

FYI, the CD that comes with the book has:

All of the books in the Looking Glass series(Into the Looking Glass, Vorpal Blade, Manxome Foe, Claws That Catch)

All of the books in the Council Wars series(There Will Be Dragons, Emerald Sea, Against the Tide, East of the Sun, West of the Moon)

All of the books in the Paladin of Shadows series(Ghost, Kildar, Choosers of the Slain, Unto the Breach, A Deeper Blue)

All of the books in the Empire of Man series (co-authored with David Weber)

Almost all of the books in the Aldenata Series (Honor of the Clan isn't out yet, darnit!)

All of Doc Travis' books for Baen, both solo and co-authored with John Ringo.

The Last Centurion

The Road to Damascus (The Bolo Series)

Getting that with this book is rather like being told "You liked this gold coin, eh, boy? Well, here's a sack of 'em. Go have fun."

It just doesn't get better than a package like this.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Should have been better. Too little action, very slow 22 Dec 2008
By Richard C. Drew - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is probably the shortest book in the series, and as hardcover's go, very short. Too little time spent on the primary characters, too much time spent on new characters. None of the engaging battles we're used to, just a couple that seemed more like poorly thought out fillers. The primary complaints with the first book: too much time on politics and trying to force-feed us math and physics. Both of those are back with a vengeance.

The books are now following a predictable plot line. Ship explores unknown space. Ship discovers a new [insert world/BDO/Race here]. Ship defends said discovery from Dreen. Just when all seems lost [BDO/new race from recently discovered world/another Ship] saves the day. Same plot in every book in the series. Yes, they are well written, but as the series continues it becomes more boilerplate, and the characters more one dimensional.

In case you don't know, BDO is SciFi speak for Big Dumb Object.

Unless the plots, character development and action improve - and improve quickly - this series is doomed. Doomed I say!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I really wanted to like this... 28 Aug 2012
By Euroranger - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...and I read the previous three books in the series but I came onto Amazon specifically to leave a review of this book and to specifically mention something I've noted about John Ringo's overall efforts.

So, with that said, here's the thing: John Ringo, more and more, writes like a 14 year old entering puberty. That will piss some people off I'm sure but hear me out first. I read the Posleen series (my first contact with Ringo's body of work) and I flat out loved it. But even then, his weird obsession with Bun-Bun (or WTF his references to a cult comic book was about) were juvenile and actually detracted from what I otherwise found to be a great series. After the Posleen books (yes, I know they have a formal series title, no I don't recall it off the top of my head), I moved onto the Ghost/Kildar series.

Again, good reads for the most part but for crying out loud, how many times do people in actual conversation say things like "point" or "go" or "works"? Well, in his books' worlds that'd be pretty much every other sentence by every single character. I get that the sex in the books is what stands it out from other military fiction books but c'mon...a harem where he has bondage sex with teenaged girls...and every single female character is okay with it? And then the whole "durr, beer is GREAT" subtheme as though the author had just discovered this strange substance called "beer" and just had to work it into every conversation he has like a newly enlightened rabid fanboy. Oh, and let's not forget the "heavy metal music" and Cruxshadows. It's like reading some hipster's fan fiction where their obscure band of choice (and no, you've never heard of them and will be cast as "uncool" because you don't know them) are actually relevant (they're not) and they contribute something to the story or the plot (they wouldn't). It reads like a junior high essay where some kid who just discovered Metallica figures out bizarre ways to work their new fave band or just music in general into plots they don't belong in and are ridiculously awkwardly inserted into solely for the purpose of blurting out to the reader "hey, I like music and I like this band and they're the coolest band in the world and all the characters who know their music are equally cool". It's pathetic.

That all said, the entire premise of this particular book is that the human explorers travel to distant stars searching for life and ancient enemy tech to hopefully combat a rapacious spreading hoard of other aliens...and they find an ancient alien concert stage, still wired up and "ready to ROCK DUDE!!!1!!". And then they figure out how to turn their music INTO A WEAPON DUDE111!1!!1 that the evil aliens like ARE POWERLESS TO STOP DUDE!!1! And the planets around the sun (stage) DUDE THEY'RE LIKE GIGANTIC SMOKE MACHINES!!1!

I'm happy to admit that I'm probably one of the most easily entertained people you'll meet. I'll watch most movies and find something redeeming about it even if it's so absolutely bad that I'll finish watching it. Same for television. Same for books...except this one. I swear, this book got so terminally stupid with the whole "rock and roll will save humanity" crapola that I put it down for two days and only picked it up to finish it because I hate that nagging feeling of leaving something unfinished. I had no particular desire to trudge through the rest of the expected juvenile, puerile crap that I pretty much figured the remainder of the book would be (and it was that and worse) but then the whole throwing in how everyone is turned into an anime character and then the J-pop references...Good Lord, it was effing gawdawful. I'd rather read Twilight fanfic than another book like this.

I guess what I came on here to say is this: I started out liking John Ringo books. But now, I'm sorry, I just cannot stand reading such immature, infantile, teenybopper half baked crap anymore. I've actually checked his bio online. The man is nearly 50 years old, has lived in many of the same places I have, has done interesting and not so interesting things...and yet his work reads like an author who has Tiger Beat posters tacked up around their room. Please John, if you read this review (you probably won't), for the love of God, get an editor who will slap that stupid crap out of your future efforts. You have a real talent for crafting a storyline and telling a story...but you continually crap all over it with these other elements that just make it base and campy.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Vorpal Blade Spaces Again 23 Oct 2008
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Claws That Catch (2008) is the fourth SF novel in the William Weaver series, following Manxome Foe. In the previous volume, the Vorpal Blade was damaged so severely that it was replaced. The casualty rate was not as bad as the first voyage, but the losses were still heavy. Most of the survivors were decorated and promoted. Two-Gun was sent to OCS by presidential order.

In this novel, Brooke Pierson marries Eric Bergstresser. He wears officer dress blues for the first time. He also has an enlisted dress uniform in his closet that has never been worn. Rapid promotion can be expensive.

Two-Gun discovers at almost the last minute that there will be a few special guests at the wedding. Of course, his former skipper -- Admiral Blankemeier -- is coming. The President was persuaded not to attend due to the publicity factor, but the Chief of Astronautic Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps are coming instead, along with assorted staff officers. The reception is going to be brass heavy.

After a short yet enthusiastic honeymoon, Lieutenant Bergstresser reports for duty and is handed a heavy load of auxiliary duties. The paperwork is going to seriously cut into his married life. Being an officer in the Space Marines is more work and less fun than being a junior sergeant.

The Vorpal Blade II is being readied for a new mission when the news hits the fan. The White House and Pentagon were preparing to announce the existence of a space navy in the very near future, but the Russians, Chinese and the media caught onto the information a bit sooner than expected. Various survivors of the second voyage -- including Two-Gun -- quickly become international news celebrities. Top Powell is a hit on the talk circuit.

In this story, the new Vorpal Blade is checking out an intelligence item received from their new allies. The Hexosehr had discovered an alien artifact of unknown origin in a retrograde orbit around a gas giant. They had tried to destroy it to keep its technology out of Dreen hands, but their best efforts failed to dent the skin. The Hexosehr finally deorbitted the artifact into the gas giant atmosphere.

The voyage out is flawed with minor problems. Captain Weaver is the new executive officer and is trying to break in the new commander. Unfortunately, Captain Prael is a former submariner and has problems adjusting to the Space Navy. He does accept the space tape, but refuses to let Miriam Moon provide assistance to engineering. So the linguist and technological genius is bored and depressed until the requests start trickling in despite the skipper's orders.

When the Vorpal Blade reaches its destination, the crew cannot find any other signs of the alien civilization in space and only some buried ruins on the surface of a terrestrial type planet. So the ship visits a blue giant in the vicinity. This sun has definite signs of alien civilization, including something huge that looks like a glass christmas tree.

After a frustrating time investigating the tree, the Vorpal Blade leaves a contingent on the artifact and travels to Runner's World to get some additional specialists from the Hexosehr. The XO is left in charge, so he decides that he can now play his guitar to relax his nerves. The crew complains about his volume and singing, but Weaver ignores them. They do find some fascinating and terrifying aspects of the artifact, but then a Dreen fleet arrives.

This tale puts Weaver and the away party in harm's way. So what else is new! Still, the Dreen fleet has sixty-one ships, including a very large brain-ship.

As with the previous stories, the casualty rate is high and the ship gets shot up. Yet an alien spider-like creature with a serious hunger for Dreen flesh provides some significant assistance. Enjoy!

Highly recommended for Ringo & Taylor fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of space opera, naval and marine combat, and some very interesting characters.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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