Wednesday, 11 March 2009

When the Devil Dances by John Ringo

The third book in the Posleen War series continues the story started in a Hymn before Battle and its sequel Gust Front and Mankind is in serious trouble.

Taking up the story five years after the end of Gust Front all five expected Posleen invasion waves have hit the Earth. Most of the planet has been over run with the exception of mountain ranges and a few scatted areas where the temperature is not to the Posleen’s liking.

The exception to this is the USA where due to luck and geography they still hold out in a pocket protected by the rockies. With the population sheltering in underground cities nicknamed ‘sub-urbs’ the posleen are held back by massive multi-layered fixed defences in every pass supported by Artillery. So an un-easy stalemate has developed with the Posleen unable to over run the Human defences and the Humans lacking the numbers to drive the aliens off the planet.

Earth is also effectively cut off from the rest of the galaxy and the thin trickle of supplies reaching the planet is insufficient to keep the ACS units ( soldiers equipped in armoured combat suits, the elite of the army) up to strength. So when we rejoin the hero of the first two novels he is in command of the last remaining unit which is slowly dwindling in numbers.

The ‘benevolent’ darhel do not have mankinds best interest at heart as the Navy intended to protect Earth has been devastated in a series of actions and they firmly refuse to let the remaining vessels and forces off world to return home.

Then in a flurry of action an alien leader who has learnt his lessons too well breaks through the defences and leaves everything in the balance.

This book is good but I found a few minor nitpicks with it. The first is the time jump at the beginning of the story. We’d been building up to these massive invasions in the first two books and we essentially ‘miss’ them with only a thin time line to fill in the details of the events during these five years.

The second is continuing the focus on the USA in the same fashion as Gust front. I’ll admit that there’s good reason why it focuses on the USA as it is the last bastion of Human resistance after all but the fate of the rest of the planet is pretty much skimmed over in less then a paragraph and I think that weakens the whole ‘mankind’ is in danger theme and turns it more towards ‘the USA’ is in danger.

Still asides from this the book is very good and it ends on one heck of a cliff hanger.

Five stars out of five.

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