Eye of the Storm (Posleen War)
by John Ringo
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439132739
Date: 07 July 2009 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Eye of the Storm by John Ringo, number 11 in the Posleen Wars series, offers classic John Ringo space warfare. War scenes and political maneuvering abound. The alien race of Darhel has hidden an ancient secret discovered by humans in liberating a planet from Posleen control. The Darhel values success, but thwarted from military conquest by another ancient race, the Aldenata who changed Darhel DNA, they seek via chicanery and money to control the known universe. However, one Federation law they enacted may cause their financial ruin and release knowledge of their perfidy. They try to destroy those who can cause their ruin and reveal this secret.
Michael O'Neal, the epitome of a hard-bitten veteran, leads the military action as he struggles to defeat the Posleen. Like other veterans, he has been rejuv'd, his body refreshed and his life extended. Because the Darhel fear his discovery of their past sins, they seek to destroy him and his fighting forces. Controlled by the Darhel, the Fleet destroys his entire Corps and slaughters his fellow officers. Arrested and accused of treason after these events, O'Neal fights the proceedings, but senior officers and erstwhile friends condemn him to penal servitude with the expectation he will disappear via assassination.
Only an alternate history explains the deviations from present technology and events. Manufacturing methods verge on magic. Mental powers used by the mentats (human and the peaceful Indowy) also stretch the imagination. A new inter-galactic foe, the Hedren, appears that possess powers similar to the mentats and then some.
Indowy, like the Darhel, will not fight, but will support humans and others who do. Some of their mentats agree to help with defense from the Hedren, but won't attack or injure even the enemy. However, the ingenuity of the Indowy engineers and the rapid production of weapons by the Posleen forges are key elements in the coming war.
The new war changes old alliances: now previous enemies must work together. Mike reunites with his daughters including one he had thought dead. Rescued from his military captors and then placed in charge of Federation forces, he must outsmart the enemy relying on hints and data from the Himmit (an elusive race, advanced in technology) and his keen sense of military strategy. The rigid adherence of the Hedren to set schedules and structures provides opportunities for humans to defeat them.
Devoted Ringo fans will enjoy meeting old friends, having some earlier events explained, and the details of military rank, training, and weapons ala Tom Clancy. Others may find some of this boring and the many characters confusing.
The Posleen Wars series now has eleven novels, some with other authors. Volume 12, The Tuloriad, with Tom Kratman will appear in August 2009 and follows remnants of the Posleen race as they search for their homeland. A sequel to 11 is sure to follow.