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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 May 2009
This military SF page-turner is a little like what you might get if you combine Anne McCaffrey's "The Ship who sang" series and C.S. Forester's book "Death to the French" in the context of the invasion of Earth by a hostile race called the Posleen. Although this was one of the more recently written novels in John Ringo's Posleen invasion universe, also known as the "Legacy of the Aldenata" series, it is one of the earlier books by chronological sequence. It tells the story of the defence of the Panama Canal region by Panamanian and US forces, including a heavy cruiser which becomes sentient, against the Posleen invasion.

The series began around the turn of the Millennium, when the galactic federation contacted Earth with some awful news and a terrible choice. An aggressive species called the Posleen, to whom all other creatures are merely food, is rampaging through the galaxy, and Earth is in their path. If humans will act as mercenaries against them, the galactic federation will provide weapons and technical assistance. Accepting the deal means humans will be cannon fodder. Refusing would mean that when they arrive we will be Posleen fodder.

The series is sometimes called "Legacy of Aldenata" because the galactic situation is the result of meddling in the genes of most intelligent species by a now-vanished race called the Aldenata. The Aldenata turned most of the peoples of the galaxy into vegetarians, unable to kill. The only sentient species in the galaxy who apparently escaped this meddling and can therefore fight wars are Posleen and humans - which is why the galactic federation want us as mercenaries.

But the Aldenata's meddling has not made every race into nice people. In particular, galactic politics and economics are dominated by a powerful race called the Darhel. The principal Darhel character in this book openly states that the Aldenata's forcible genetic conversion of his people from warrior carnivores to vegetarian pacifists has compelled them to live a lie and made them hate what they have become.

The ruthless and evil leaders of the Darhel see humans as a threat to their position. Their plan is to use humans and Posleen to virtually annihilate each other: they intend to give humanity just enough support to enable us to eventually defeat the Posleen, but they also set out to sabotage the human war effort whenever it threatens to be too effective, reducing our ability to resist to the minimum level required for the costliest, most narrow victory possible. The Darhel aim to quite deliberately ensure that several billion humans get killed and eaten by Posleen in the process.

Although the Darhel cannot kill anyone themselves without going permanently catatonic, they can and do hire human assassins to eliminate anyone who openly opposes them, might make the human resistance to the Posleen too successful, or finds out too much about their plans.

At the start of the book, shortly before the invasion, the US has realised that the consequences for their ability to feed their people if the Posleen get control of the Panama canal will be dire, so they despatch what forces they can spare to help the Panamanians defend themselves and the canal. But the heroes and heroines of the book, American and Panamanian (and one or two galactics) have no idea of the lengths to which their supposed Darhel allies, working with corrupt elements of the Panamanian government, the United Nations, and the American State Department, will go to sabotage the human war effort.

Fortunately many of the Panamanian people, and the US soldiers and sailors fighting with them, have much more courage and resourcefulness than the Darhel and their treacherous co-conspirators realise. And the biggest obstacle to a Posleen victory in Panama is something which no rational person would have expected. One of three old battlewagons allocated to support the Panamanians, the heavy cruiser USS Des Moines, really does have a mind of her own ...

To explain how this book fits into the sequence of the twelve published or planned books in the Posleen/Legacy of Aldenata Universe:

The series began with three stories in four volumes following the war against the Posleen, comprising:

1) A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War)
2) Gust Front
3) When the Devil Dances
4) Hell's Faire (Posleen War)

(The first two of these are stand-alone novels, but "When the Devil Dances" and "Hell's Faire" are one story in two volumes.)

This is the second of two more books set at the time of the Posleen invasion, with the main action in Germany and Panama respectively, which are

5) Watch on the Rhine
6) This book, "Yellow Eyes."

The most recent book published, but next and seventh in chronological sequence, is set shortly after the defeat of the Posleen invasion. A group of Posleen who appear to be willing to turn aside from the path of warfare are allowed to escape and seek a new home with the help of a peculiar alliance of an anti-Darhel resistance movement called the Bane Sidhe, an allied alien race who are more than they appear, and, wait for it, the Vatican! This off-the-wall but entertaining book revolves around firstly, whether the Posleen can learn to see other sentients as friends rather than food, and secondly whether their souls can be saved. Their story is told in

7) The Tuloriad (Posleen War).

This is to some extent a sequel to "Yellow Eyes" because it turns out that the sister ship of the USS Des Moines has also become sentient, and she is one of the major characters in "The Tuloriad."

Then we have the Cally O'Neal trilogy of books, set some years after the Posleen invasion, with the focus on the attempt by a resistance group called the Bane Sidhe to oppose the machinations of earth's supposed Darhel "allies." The central character is the spy and assassin Cally O'Neal, and it consists of

8) Cally's War
9) Sister Time (The Posleen War)
10) Honor Of The Clan

Then a new story arc begins with

11) Eye Of The Storm (Posleen War)

which at first appears to be a continuation of the Cally O'Neal trilogy but suddenly changes course and introduces a completely new enemy. Incidentally, "The Eye of the Storm" also continues the story of the central characters of "Yellow Eyes" after the last page of this book.

Finally, the chronologically last book in the sequence, set many centuries later, is

12) Hero.

a book which reverses the viewpoint. Humans have eventually taken a terrible vengeance on the Darhel, who are now a downtrodden minority, and the hero of "Hero" is a Darhel.

Provided that you are not squeamish or the least bit prudish, I can recommend "Yellow Eyes" and indeed the whole series.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2009
This book is well worth reading if you are into military si-fi. Although it is one of the Posleen series it can be read as a stand alone novel as it is about the Posleen landing in Central America.
The Posleen are a reptilian race and are out to conquer Earth and they have to be stopped as to them we are just a source of food.
Though supported by the United States who have enough problems of their own and not a lot of troops to spare, the population of Panana are to be at the sharp end of the defence. New characters and and the spirit of an old Panamanian warship who manages to communicate with an electronid aide add some humour to ths situation.
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on 9 January 2013
If you like your science fiction with lots of kick ass violence, John ringo is your man ! A great series of books (posleen war).
A valid question would be, why do aliens always invade the USA though ?
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on 19 December 2010
The premise that every ship, especially warships, absorbs something of the crews presence is brilliant, a lot of old salts will understand (although the hilarious reference to Russian ships will annoy a few of them)
A spin-off to the Posleen series, it is best read after the rest of the series, to understand the scenario. Well written, good characters and battle scenes. If you like military SF with a bit of humour, go for it.
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