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Hellfire (Theirs Not to Reason Why) by Jean Johnson
Cover Artist: Gene Mollica
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425256503
Date: 30 July 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Ia knows what is coming, and only she can keep the universe on a course to survive. When Ia was 15, her psi powers went off the scales. Her human/Feyori background provided her with psi powers that are unmatched, she is strong in most areas, but her great strength is precognition. She is able to walk the flows of time at will, limited only when there are too many possibilities, Feyori or Meyun involved.

Ia has come a long way since she first saw the end she could prevent. She spent time in the marines, navy, and now is in the Terran United Planets Space Force, Branch Special Forces. She is the Captain of the most advanced ship in the space force. She will use it to deadly effect as she tries to save as many as she can in the current war and in the future. Her crew is had picked, and she picked the best, the best for her purposes.

Unfortunately for Ia, she isn't perfect. She knows the odds, but sometimes a long shot comes in or someone works actively against her. That is why she plans and works to improve the odds. But she has made mistakes, mistakes that have created enemies among the Feyori, the only species that can convert to energy. In time, she will need to focus on that portion of her heritage so that she can do what needs to be done.

Hellfire is the third book in the Theirs Not To Reason Why series. During the course of the series Ia goes from a follower learning the skills she needs to a leader who is shaping the course of history in the galaxy and on her home world, Sanctuary. Ia must also come to terms with having a life outside of being the Prophet of a thousand years.

Hellfire is also the name of the ship that Ia captains. It is an apt name as the ship constantly battles the amphibian Salik. I liked that Johnson showed the wear and tear on the ship and crew. Constant fighting can really degrade both humans and equipment.

In the past I have compared Ia to Honor Harrington, and I believe that the comparison still holds. They are both skilled commanders willing to make sacrifices to get the job done. If you want another interesting female lead character look no further.

Although not related universes, the psi talents of Ia reminded me of some of Phillip K Dick's classic tales. Ia struggles to prevent a galactic apocalypse as Dick told of futures where precogs were used to prevent crime. I think that struggle with the flow of time is what draws me to the series the most. We've been through Hellfire, now itís time for Damnation.

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