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Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns 1) Paperback – 7 Jul 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Earthlight; New edition edition (7 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743430654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743430654
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 301,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson has over 20 million books in print in 30 languages worldwide. He is the author of, among others, the X-FILES novels, GROUND ZERO and the JEDI ACADEMY trilogy of STAR WARS novels - the three bestselling SF novels of 1994. He has also co-written the international bestselling prequels to Frank Herbert's monumental DUNE series. He has won, or been nominated for, many awards including the Nebula Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Visit his website www.wordfire.com

Product Description

About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson has over 20 million books in print in 30 languages worldwide. He is the author of, among others, the X-FILES novels GROUND ZERO and the JEDI ACADEMY trilogy of STAR WARS novels - the three bestselling SF novels of 1994. He has also co-written the international bestselling prequels to Frank Herbert's monumental DUNE series. He has won, or been nominated for, many awards including the Nebula Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Visit his website www.wordfire.com

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hans Bobbletoff on 27 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
The first thing I would like to say is that I don't mind reading shallow, ridiculous sci-fi every now and then. Not every book has to change my life or get me thinking. Sometimes I just want space battles and laser guns. Trash, in other words.

The second thing I would like to say is that my brother bought the whole set in the end, not me, and he got the last two from a charity shop for less than £1. He still felt cheated.

When I read Hidden Empire, I settled in for some guilty pleasure. It wasn't terribly written, had some entertaining action sequences and promised to be quite epic in scale. There is a huge number of characters and each short chapter is written from the point of view of one of them. Anderson isn't afraid of killing off a few of them, as well as adding others in later books. The premise is ridiculous, that of ancient elemental (earth, air, fire and water) based aliens battling it out across the galaxy while 'lesser' races (evil space industries, space hippies, tree-loving hippies, alien telepaths etc) help out, but it sounded enjoyable as well. I finished this first book without much effort.

However, as I progressed through the rest of the series, I felt more and more astonishment at the sheer terrible quality of the story. Although there I took a lengthy break after the fifth book, I read through to the end to see how bad it got.

Oh man.

If you've read in other reviews that the characters were bland in this book, they are practically spambots by the end of the series. To call them two-dimensional would be an insult to cardboard cutouts. Dialogue is so turgid and repetitive I found I couldn't tell who was meant to be speaking. A lot of the time, it didn't matter anyway.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Riley on 30 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the first book of Anderson's Saga. In total, the hint's in the name, this runs out to seven books. So if you're looking for galaxy spanning light entertainment that'll take a while to get through you've come to the right place.

The best advice I can give you is to try the library for this first in the series to see if you want to invest in the whole saga. The books are written in very short chapters, each flicking to a different character separated by vast distances and on occasion large chunks of time. While it's very easy to read the changing view point can be distracting. Just as you're getting the hang of one voice a new one shows up taking the story off in a different direction.

As a whole, personally I think a trilogy would have been a better choice, the endless sub-plots and character swapping serve only to lengthen what could have been a much faster paced and enthralling story. Too much time is spent on characters that are a bit two-dimensional and many don't get that far.

If you're looking for a thought provoking galaxy spanning epic, I'd suggest the Uplift universe or the original Dune books. If you're looking for something light but lengthy try the Saga.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 July 2002
Format: Paperback
...space opera it is - sadly, Night's Dawn it isn't.
Anderson starts off well. He has obviously put a lot of thought into the creation of his universe. There are some quite ingenious races and ideas: a race of humans ("Therons") who can communicate telepathically through a symbiotic relationship with alien trees; a race of aliens ("Ildirans") who have similar powers through their emperor. Other concepts are more mundane (not to say derivative), such as a dead alien race whose archaeological artefacts hold the key to some promising technological advances; mysterious alien robots who you just know are going to turn out to be bad guys and worst of all, comic-book, stereotyped space gypsies, the "Roamers".
There are numerous sub-plots. The archaeologists researching the dead race; the human political chairman manipulating events from behind the scenes, whilst the King is a mere figurehead; the Navy chasing pirates; Theron priests spreading their sentient trees to other planets. In it's multiplicity of sub-plots, Hidden Empire wears it's debt to Night's Dawn clearly on it's sleeve.
On the surface it all sounds good.
Sadly, where Anderson drops the ball is in his characterisation, pacing and dialogue.
The characters all tend to be two-dimensional. There are numerous races and factions, but every Roamer is painted exactly the same as every other Roamer - every Theron is a mirror image of every other Theron - every human-built robot is a C3-P0 clone (unsurprisingly, Anderson has written some Star Wars novels).
The subplots all seem to be very hurried.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark Davis on 17 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
I agree with most of the previous reviewers.. This book is actually an okay start. Unfortunately I am a junkie for completion so I went ahead and ordered the rest of the series which quickly becomes really dire stuff.

Starting off with the good:

A lot of people complained about the short chapters - I don't mind them. I have kids so it's harder to get time to read and the short chapters make the book easy to read over your cornflakes in the morning, etc - 5 mins here and there gets you through it.

He has constructed a nice, if simplistic universe here - all the standard ingredients: human/alien empires/colony worlds/miner race (roamers) and mysterious artifacts & aliens. In the early books, the King versus Chairman thing is an okay interplay.

The bad:
Okay I know I'm reading sci-fi so things don't have to make sense but the sheer amount of impossible things that happen beggars belief and will have you gnashing your teeth at times, and character depth just isn't there.

- Scale is way off. Planets are like villages in the wild-west. The average population of a planet seems to be a few hundred "hardy" colonists. If you land on a world, anywhere, you will soon bump into the colonists that are on it.

- Central characters keep getting weird and "wonderful" powers for no good reason. In this series, if you fall into a sun you are more likely to become some kind of a ridiculous fire-creature than to die. The plot seems to rely on impossible coincidences and outlandish magic rather than clever writing.

- Each member of each species is identical to each other. For example all the roamers have the same principles and beliefs.
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