Hope Reborn (The General)
by David Drake and S.M. Stirling
Cover Artist: Alan Pollack
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451638776
Date: 05 March 2013 List Price $13.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
On the planet Bellevue, civilization is on the brink of collapse. It has been over a thousand years since the Intergalactic Federation fell. As the story begins the Civil Government is facing power struggles as the current Governor is aging and the potential heirs hover. Raj Whitehall goes searching the old depths of the city with a friend. They find Center, an old quantum supercomputer. Center puts Raj on a path to stave off the internal fight and collapse and secure another friends position of power.
Raj takes up the fight as his own, one that must end in death or the conquest of the world. Raj must lead the forces of the civil government against The Colony an Islamic based culture and the greatest General in the world, Tewfik. Raj has an advantage; Center can enhance Raj's memory and help predict the likely outcome of events. But Raj doesn't face the challenges without help. His wife is a constant companion and is willing to do whatever it takes to help Raj. As he proves himself in battle, those who serve under him become loyal aides.
After his encounters with The Colony, Raj is ordered to reclaim lands to the South that have been lost to The Squadron. Raj and his companions are in a race to defeat an overwhelming enemy before that enemy can consolidate. In addition to the external threats, there are other enemies closer. Enemies that will do and say whatever it takes to bring down Raj.
Hope Reborn is a combination of the first two novels of the General series, The Forge and The Hammer, first published in the early 1990s. During the course of the series, Raj moves from one battle to the next. Some are successful, others less so. The aid that he receives from Center is important, but his own choices are what ultimately lead to success and failure.
All of the lands of Bellevue are distorted remnants of what came before. The teachings of the various churches are far removed from their source materials and would be unrecognizable to any of its current adherents. The use of certain terms helps create a specific set of planned reactions to their use. The world issues that were current at the time the books released are still relevant today.
I remember first seeing getting the series through the Science Fiction Book Club. I enjoyed the tactics of a less complicated war that intermingled several time periods. Over a decade later, I still enjoyed the action and adventure. In fact I am looking forward to the continuing action of future releases.