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Into the Hinterlands Mass Market Paperback – 9 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Reprint edition (9 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451638426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451638424
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Wortley on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another Baen Books partnership between an acknowledged master of SF and a new entrant to the genre (his debut novel, Lucy's Blade, was interesting and well crafted). As with most of the others (Drake/Flint, Weber/Ringo, etc.) it is eminently readable, with each contributing both with ideas and style - I must say that I identified a couple of the more arresting similes as from the English partner, but apart from that it would be guesswork to allocate the origin of characters, concepts or plot.

And what a story! I intend to avoid spoilers, but I can say that the idea of travel outside (I deduce) the E=MC2 universe, through "the Continuum", offers a lot of scope for an imaginative writer to play with - here we have two, and they have done the idea full justice, while leaving plenty of room for further development. The constraints imposed provide a human-scale view of the future - no Lensman-style fleets of fleets, but individuals doing whatever they do in their own fashion. The background is a sparsely settled interstellar rivalry between two main quasi-empires, those of Terra and Brasilia, and is set in one of the remoter colonial sectors, where the two main entities are approaching a clash.

The protagonist, Allen Allenson, comes across as a capable, indeed likeable, man dealing with life's problems as honourably and efficiently as he can. Now, for the first NOT; he is not Daniel Leary, although the two could meet as gentlemen. There is a similar sense of the infinite wonders of the universe waiting to be discovered, but the rules of those universes are very different, as are the individuals.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Space Adventure or American History? 4 Sept. 2011
By G. Peter Wityk - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is set as an adventure in the distant future and is both readable and enjoyable as such. I see echos of Daniel Leary in Allen Allenson. I see details of writing and plotting that remind me of John Lambshead's Lucy's Blades. There is action, adventure and battle to suit the tastes of those who want that in a book. It's done with typical Drake panache and verve along with the fine English touch of Lambshead. Read it and enjoy it for that.

However, there is more here. The life and times of Allen Allenson remind me of nothing so much as the life and times of George Washington through a comparable period i.e. through the French and Indian wars. Case in point -

1. Allenson leads a survey party in the first section of the book.
2. Allenson is a gentleman and son of a gentleman. His father and mother are both dead. His stepmother and he do not get along. He was raised by an older half-brother who was Inspector General of the planetary militia. His half-brother is seriously ill to the point of being near death in the first part of the book.
3. He has the patronage of a wealthy family.
4. There are savages - the Riders, who remind me of American Indians.
5. There is an interstellar political and occasionally military conflict between the Brasilians ( British ) and the Home World Terrans ( French ). The Terrans are trying to cut the Brasilians off from the rest of the galaxy by constructing a string of forts in the Hinterlands.
6. Allenson takes part in a failed attempt to push the Terrans back in a campaign with direct parallels to Braddocks expedition to the Ohio territory.
7. Allenson meets the widow of another gentry family who sounds a lot like Martha Curtis from physical resemblance to the portraits that I have seen to the intelligence, social skills, political ability and business insights that I recall her having.

There are many more parallels. But, I might spoil you the reader's enjoyment by pointing them out here and now. With the parallels to Washington in evidence, I foresee a long and interesting series that tells the tale of the founding of a future United States of the Galaxy. I hope that is the case and look forward to it because of the enjoyment that I had in reading this book. Buy it, read it and be prepared to enjoy it if you like Drake or Lambshead. And, encourage them to continue this series!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
disappointing battle scenes 11 Sept. 2011
By W Boudville - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Thanks to Peter Wityk for his remarks about the analogy to George Washington in the book. That was very insightful. Unlike some reviewers who just paraphrase the plot, Wityk clearly stood back and took a more analytic and broader view.

In the current book there is often amusing repartee. A conversational back and forth depicting a future space faring society, with a social structure analogous to a European country of the 19th century or earlier. Hence many remarks about a prevasive class structure and a peon or servant underclass. The book refers to the heroes as being from a Brasilian entity. Yet there are few [none?] Portuguese names. Where is the connection to our Brazil other than the name? It sounds like a simpleminded effort to introduce a superficial air of exoticism. There is no mention of how we went from current Brazil to that Brasil, and this can be a continual nagging point to some readers.

Now the mode of space travel is largely via bicycle-type apparatuses. There is a Victorian steampunk air about this. I really could not treat this with any credulance, though taking in a novel is said to involve a willing suspension of disbelief. It is like reading about spaceships that use rope riggings and sails. [Seriously, I ran across the latter in some novel whose title eludes me.]

More to the point, consider the battle scenes. What I did observe was rather disappointing, and has not thus far been remarked upon by others. Drake has written many books, on his own and with others. Several of both types have been military oriented. Unsurprising given his real life background. These books were well received, with the battle scenes and the overall military descriptions being compellingly written. There is one battle in the middle of the book, where the heroes are fighting another human [Terran] force. The battle accounts are far inferior to Drake's other collaboration with Stirling, in their General series. There is little novelty. Worse of all, instead of building up to some gory finale, the episode ends in a whimper, with the characters being able to boogie out. There is a scene change to another location. Any expectation in the reader of a sharp bitterly fought climax is deflated.

This book is a joint effort with Lambshead. In any such effort, it can be difficult to ascertain the authors' respective contributions to a given passage. But contrast the book with the General books and you get a big disappointment. You know from Drake's solo novels that he has written sharp battle scenes. He is very capable of this. What this suggests is that Lambshead wrote this book's conflicts, and wrote them badly.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Not for David Drake fans! 15 Jan. 2012
By Diogenes - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been an avid fan of David Drake's work for 20 years. I have a number of his books in my library.

That being said, _Into The Hinterlands_ is dreck. Although Drake may have written the outline, I would opine that the co-author Lambshead did most of the actual writing. The fog index and syntax of this book are materially different (and markedly inferior) to Drake's genuine works.

_Into The Hinterlands_ doesn't read like a Drake book at all. I'm very glad I checked the copy I read of the library and did not shell out real money for it.

You have been warned.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Bicycling through a space-based mercantile empire 8 Mar. 2012
By booksforabuck - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Brasilia and its dependent planets are among the powers of the human universe but they face a problem--they can expand only in a wild region known as the Hinterlands. Earth knows this and is settling key planets claimed by Brasilia, leading to conflict between the two powers. With his brother sick, younger son Allen Allenson claims the role of acting Inspector General for the local forces and mobilizes the limited local forces in an attempt to deal with the Earth-based invasion. In his efforts, he's assisted by his lower-class but militarily capable friend, Hawthorn and his richer and higher-class friend, Destry.

Rather than travel in spaceships, in this universe, humans accomplish star travel using pedal-powered devices that navigate the "Continuum." In contrast, the human-derived "Riders" travel using crystal beasts. Although Allenson and Hawthorn use single-person vehicles, these are considered low-class by the formal military of both nations who insist on less maneuverable multi-person vehicles, and on having their officers pedaled rather than participating in the work.

Allenson discovers that the mercantile system imposed by Brasilia (which minimizes independence of client worlds by requiring all major technology by made on a home world) leaves the worlds of the Hinterland weak and difficult to defend. The military sent by the home worlds offers overwhelming force, but is sluggish and overly dependent on supply chains that stretch all the way back to the home worlds. The only good news is that the Earth-based forces face similar problems.

The idea of pedal-based space travel is kind of fun (especially for a proponent of bicycle-based commuting like myself) although a bit of a hard sell. The mercantilistic economy of Brasilia has parallels to the British mercantile system of the eighteenth century (colonies are not allowed to manufacture but are expected to ship raw materials back to the home world), but the peonage and poverty of the bulk of the people could also be a futuristic vision of the 99%.

Authors David Drake and John Lambshead combine to create a future universe with plenty of parallels to American colonial history, battles, a bit of a romantic triangle, and several intriguing characters. The book is capably written and I found it smooth reading. I have a bit of a hard time buying into the battle sequences--the notion that major military forces of space-traveling nations could be quite so easily disrupted by guerilla attacks didn't ring true for me (although we can suppose that the "continuum" makes radio communications impossible, allowing pre-technology communications failure to take place). Likewise, Allenson seems to become a patriot loyal to the colonial worlds of the "Stream" rather abruptly--while the Brasilia system may not be much, the peonage system of the Stream doesn't seem particularly admirable (although it's possible that this system can be blamed on the home worlds, that point isn't really made).

Overall, INTO THE HINTERLANDS is an enjoyable story. It'll be interesting to see how Drake and Lambshead develop this universe... will they continue to give us a futuristic version of the American Colonial/Independence world, or will they spin their story in new ways--ways that give us a better reflection on current social and economic trends?
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I stopped reading 1/3 through 31 Mar. 2012
By Garyius - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Great writing, good characters. The new writer really ran with Drake's (once again) great observations on culture and the interaction of nobility, gentry, and the lower classes--in this case late 1700s and 1800s.

Three words that I simply could not get over: Magic space bicycles.

I snorted every time, and it spoiled the book for me. No kidding, the solution to galaxy travel between the stars is magic bicycles that move though a universal oneness.
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