Hope Renewed (The General)
by David Drake and S.M. Stirling
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476736587
Date: 01 July 2014 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The saga of Raj Whitehall continues. Hope Renewed is a republication of the fifth and sixth books of the General series including The Sword and The Chosen. Humanity reached the stars and then civilization collapsed. Now Raj is attempting to limit the length of the barbarism.
In The Sword, Raj returns to face the consequences of his success. Only the timely invasion of the Colonials prevents his death. Not that he gets a stacked deck to work with in fighting off the invasion. He has a core of his best fighters, but also many garrison troops and a few commanders that don't understand how war works. The Colonial force is also much larger than his as well. Somehow Raj needs to find a way to unite Bellevue without setting off a civil war that will force the world back towards barbarism.
In The Chosen, Center and a Raj analog reach out to help prevent a nation of genetic racists from taking over the world and eventually the stars. Center/Raj work with a pair of adoptive brothers, and their families, to change the path of the world. The advantages are narrower as the civilization on Visager is more advanced than it was on Bellevue.
The General series revolves around a super computer that assists various suitable humans to shorten a collapse and descent of civilization. Center is a probability machine that helps its associates make choices. As later books in an ongoing series, it isn't the best place to kick off. But the new editions are a good way to replace a well-read copy or to get introduced to Raj Whitehall and his legacy.
Hope Renewed is the final action on the planet Bellevue. I truly enjoyed the adventures of Raj Whitehall, although maybe not all of his choices. Fortunately there is room for many more adventures for Raj/Center which follow a similar pattern, but allows for the examination of civilization at different points of development.
The Chosen action takes place on a world with a group that reminds me heavily of the Draka, a different series by SM Stirling. As I read the action I was reminded of the struggle that took place as the genetically altered Draka slowly took over Earth.
The series works best for fans of historical war fiction. The mixing of advanced technology and the basic equipment of war makes for a fun adventure.