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on 3 November 1998
If you enjoy space opera, this book is for you. Drake writes about a group of sailors (and one civilian) trapped on a planet which changes sides in an ongoing interstellar war. They change from welcome guests, to being hunted by their former hosts. If you are a David Drake fan, you will recognize this as being very similar to the situation in THE FORLORN HOPE--And you will be right. But this is not merely a rehashing of the same theme--The story is different, and very enjoyable and moving. To survive, the protagonists have to learn to depend on each other. I felt THE FORLORN HOPE was a better book, but this book is still excellent.
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on 29 October 1998
This is, in my opinion, Drake's best to date. I even likedit better than "Forlorn Hope" - which was my previous favorite. I'd give it a ten on a scale of one to ten.
I think most of you who like Drake will love this one. For those of you who aren't fans of Drake, I will say that this novel doesn't have the "dark" emotional overlay that some of his works have, in particular many of the "Hammer's Slammers" series. It is a rousing adventure with well drawn and likeable characacters.
The main characters are a naval lieutenant and an unusual librarian. One of my favorite quotes:
{Lamsoe is a Navy rating that has just been assigned to a mission with our librarian}
Lamsoe murmured, "Proud to be chosen, Mistress. There's always something happening where you are."
"It's an occupational hazard for librarians," Adele said.
I'm just hoping this will become a series!
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on 9 February 2015
This is the very first of the truly Classic Lt Leary books, modern Sci/fi at its best! A justly acclaimed Story from an award winning Author, and proof of how well earned those awards are!
A seriously fun read!
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on 3 November 2013
I lost interest after 5% read. Two many seemingly unconnected players described in depth. Is it just me? - I need to get involved, interested quickly or I loose interest as I did here. I need to see a story develop more quickly with the necessary players introduced at a more appropriate time.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 June 2011
Although this reads quite well, it's quite predictable and not very original. Those who liked HH from Weber are probably going to go for this one also - the themes are somewhat similar - but they might be a bit disappointed. The one thing that's better than the Honor Harrington series is that Drake keeps his books to 500-550 pages instead of Weber's 700 and counting (with a lot of padding). I much preferred Hammer's Slammers.
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on 16 February 2013
I recomend this series of books to any fan of military science fiction, such as Starship Troopers or the Lost Fleet series. This is the first in the ten strong series, and it is an excellent easy read.
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on 7 July 1999
David Drake wrote a novel with Janet Morris, "Arc Riders," which is one of the finest novels about time travel in Science Fiction. He has always written good stories with good technology, but I have found it hard to identify with his main characters. And though not in the same league as S.M. Stirling, I have found his graphic descriptions of mayhem unsettling. This novel is as enjoyable as a David Weber novel, with leading characters you can identify with and like. It is not really a future war novel, more of an adventure novel with war in it. "Starliner" and "The Forlorn Hope" were good novels in this genre, but this is the best work David Drake has done alone, so far. It would make an excellent beginning for a series.
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on 5 February 2013
I love military Science Fiction and have read collaborations by this author in the past so decided to try one by him alone. I was very pleased with my decision as this turned out to be an action packed adventure with wonderful characters. I am about to read the next book about Daniel Leary who is now one of my favourite space men.
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on 1 March 1999
This was an excellent read. Fun, engaging and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The only criticism one might have is that the book would make a good start for further character and plot development with a trilogy or a series.
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on 2 May 2011
I started reading With the Lightnings by established writer of military science fiction David Drake with low expectations, hoping to be surprised. Military science fiction, it seemed likely to me, is the sub-category of the genre most likely to exhibit its worst excesses: boys, their toys, and really dodgy science.

I hoped I was wrong because the friend who recommended David Drake is a skeptic, and unlikely to put up with the worst excesses of anything.

A gradual reconsideration followed. Big vapourising impeller guns aside, the book was more concerned to establish its two heroes, one a heroine with, presumably, breasts and thighs but of an undisclosed size, who plays a full part in the story rather than existing so the hero can save her. It also describes an exotic but not overblown universe.

There's relatively little fighting in With the Lightnings although I found it less convincing, relying too much on dressing up as the other side, faking foreign accents, and trussing the baddies and leaving them somewhere unpleasant.

Early on I lamented the absence of a Big Scientific Idea, a planet lit by so many suns insanity grips humanity whenever night falls or a scientific method of predicting the future, like the big Asimovian ideas that enthralled me when I read science fiction as a teenager.

But as I read on I was caught up in the adventure and something the hard SF I'm more accustomed to sometimes gives little attention: characters and how the extreme circumstances they're in changes them.

With the Lightnings is the story of a librarian and a low-ranking naval officer caught up in a coup d'état on a foreign planet. In different ways, both are disinherited, and have little to lose but plenty to gain by teaming up to overthrow the new regime. Adele, the librarian, is repressed by her past and Leary, the lieutenant, is liberated by his. Amidst all the action she loosens up, and he grows up.

I'd like to know what happens to them, and the good news is With The Lightnings, which I downloaded free and read on my Kindle, is the first book in a series.
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