I have been a long-time fan of David Weber’s writing. He is a very good, no, an excellent writer of science fiction. I am in the middle of reading his Safehold series with I believe the sixth book bought but not read yet because I don’t want it to be over?? Yeah, his writing in that series of books is just outstanding. I seriously don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t like this book. The ending has a twist but so what, it’s science fiction. If a writer can imagine an entire planet being conquered, then we can surely put up with a unique ending.
Now as for this book. It is, in every sense a science fiction book. I tend to read a lot of military science fiction. I was getting a little disenchanted with the genere because all the stories seem to be following the same theme. Humans and our capabilities are always inferior to aliens. After all, they have interstellar flight capabilities which should mean their military capabilities should be far more advanced than ours. This book takes on that kind of theme but, oh, does it twist it to pieces!
In this book we find an alien race called the Shongair looking down on Earth from their huge Empire-built starships. They have come for the express purpose of subjagating Earth and all humans. They believe that humans, when properly trained, can become useful to the Empire as a slave labor force or even as a proxy army if necessary. Of course Earth and it’s human inhabitants are considered to be a primitive race or so we were when the Hegemony surveyors first visited our planet some time around the middle ages. They do not believe that we could have developed much over the intervening two hundred years or so. The Shongair have shown up just around our year of 2012 or so.
After some careful study of the current Earth civilization, they are astounded that we have actually reached a level of civilization they classify as level-two. Even then, we’re still considered as backwards and not much of a threat to the mighty Shongair, who just happened to be the meanest, baddest dudes in the known galaxy! They also know that they are forbidden to actually attack a level-two civilization by the rules of the Hegemony Constitution. But they also know that the Hegemony ruling council does not have a very high opinion of Earth and humans and believe they would not object too strenuously if Earth and its humans were “managed”.
So, from space, the Shongair begin a massive bombardment of all the major Earth cities and military installations. In one day, they wipe out almost a third of the human population. I’m not talking about a third of Europe or Russia or the United States, but a third of the entire world; that’s in the neighborhood of over 2 BILLION people. The rest are left to starve and put up whatever resistance they can when the mighty Shongair ground forces begin their orbital descent to conquer the planet. Never in the history of the Shongair have they been defeated. In fact, they have seldom had to do much real fighting since most of the worlds they have conquered customarily gave up immediately after the devastating orbital bombardment. I mean, who wouldn’t know that they have been conquered by a superior race after that kind of sudden introduction?
But Earth and humans are different. The Shongair haven’t quite figured that out yet. You have to read this book to find out just how very, very different we humans are. Our final solution to the Shongair invasion caught me completely by surprise. It will do the same to you, guaranteed!