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A Hymn Before Battle
by John Ringo
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Michael O'Shea, a fireplug of an iron-pumping ex-soldier, leaves game design behind to train and then lead power-armored infantry in a merciless battle against the equally merciless, centauroid Posleen for the sake of Earth's allies. Several subplots show Ringo's fondness for special ops types and marines, and his experience as a paratrooper shows in the way he handles military small-group politics and disciplinary problems. The subplots point up the potential grimness of Earth finding itself under siege, if not actually under assault. (Don't worry, that will probably come; this book has series written between all the lines.) The interstellar skulduggery is thick, and the final action sequence, occupying a third of the book, juxtaposes power armor, aliens, lasers, and leopard tanks, and is practically impossible not to read in one sitting. An exceedingly impressive first novel is what we have here. Standard military sf based on a standard premise--humans as the desperately needed warrior allies of alien pacifists--it may be, but it is executed with skill, verve, and wit. Roland Green
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With the Earth in the path of the rapacious Posleen, the peaceful and friendly races of the Galactic Federation offer their resources to help the backward Terrans -- for a price. Humanity now has three worlds to defend.
As Earth's armies rush into battle and special operations units scout alien worlds, the humans begin to learn a valuable lesson: You can protect yourself from your enemies, but may the Lord save you from your allies.
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