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Thursday, October 10, 2013

In Her Name: First Contact by Michael R. Hicks

Genre: Science Fiction

Setting: In a future time where humans travel through space to other planets.

First Sentence:  Owen McClaren was extremely tense, although a casual observer would never have thought so.

This novel is the fourth in Hicks's In Her Name series.  It is a prequel to the first three novels.

In this novel humans make their first contact with an alien civilization.  Unfortunately, they meet the Kreelans.  The Kreelans are so advanced that they could destroy all of humanity if they desired to.  However, the Kreelans believe that they honor their Empress not by destroying their enemies, but by battling them on relatively equal terms.

So, the Kreelans give the humans fair warning about where and when the first battle will be.

The novel follows the preparations both sides make for the initial battle.  The humans try to utilize their most advanced technology.  And the Kreelans study ancient texts to build weapons and warships sufficiently primitive to compare with the humans.

And then there is the battle which takes place on the planet and in the vacuum of space.  There are incredible acts of bravery by the humans.  And there are inexplicable rituals of one-on-one combat orchestrated by the Kreelans.

Hicks's writing style moves the action along.  We follow characters on both sides of the battle.  There is enough description to visualize the action.  And we understand the motivations of the characters.

In the Kreelans, Hicks has created a unique civilization.  They are not mindless killing machines.  Within their culture, their actions make sense.  Their unusual sense of fair play, in the midst of battle, surprises and confuses the humans.

Readers of the first three books in the series will enjoy this return to the Kreelan universe.  If you are new to the Kreelans, this novel would be a great place to start.

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