Book Review: Empire & Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card

Imagine that the seemingly intractable political divide between left and right in the US were to break out into civil war.  That is the premise behind the first of these two books while the second examines what happens after.  The ironic thing is that Empire was written in 2006 while Hidden Empire came out in 2007 and the country has had 10 more years for the political atmosphere to get even more poisonous as evidenced by the lack of anything but personal attacks in this year’s presidential campaign. I have been a fan of Card’s work since I read Ender’s Game as a Freshman in High School 30 years ago.  … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer & August Cole

If have read some of the old-school thrillers of the 80’s and 90’s like Red Storm Rising, Flight of the Old Dog, or Red Phoenix then you will love Ghost Fleet. This is essentially an update of the Cold War military thrillers and you will love it. The main plot is that at some unspecified time in the near future (it is never explicitly stated) China pulls a Pearl Harbor in an attempt to create a 21st century Chinese version of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere. The Chinese invade and take Hawaii and decimate the US Pacific Fleet through a combination of combat and cyber attacks on defense infrastructure … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Killing Titan by Greg Bear

I should have kept complaining. I recently wrote a glowing review of the first book in the War Gods trilogyWar Dogs, unfortunately the second book Killing Titan is not as fast paced or interesting. In fact, I barely struggled through the final chapters. After the fast paced, engaging action of War Dogs I expected this to be a pretty good follow up to lead into what I already knew was going to be a trilogy. War Dogs ends with the protagonist Michael Venn being taken into custody. This book starts with Venn in custody at Ft Lewis being held incommunicado and periodically interrogated by various people as well as talking … More after the Jump…

Book Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear

I complained earlier this year about the lack of good science fiction. Well, I can quit complaining. War Dogs by Greg Bear is a very good book and just what I have been waiting for. This book is science fiction going back to what it should be, a rollicking good tale with a scientific bent. This is a thinking person’s book as the storyline is not laid out on a straight A-B line you have to pay attention while reading to start to put the pieces together. That is one of the things I like about it. It shows that the author has some respect for his readers when he … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Funny Thing About War by Al Campo

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] The Funny Thing About War by Al Campo is part fictional War story and part autobiography. It is the story of a young, 22 year old man called to duty in the Navy and then sent to Southeast Asia as a crewman on a Destroyer conducting fire missions up and down the coast of North and South Vietnam. The book itself is 413 pages of text separated into eleven chapters. Because it is ostensibly a work of fiction there is … More after the Jump…

Review: Gulf War Ghosts by W.P. Armstrong

I will admit up front that I normally shy away from historical fiction like it is the plague.  Gulf War Ghosts has made me rethink that position.  This is historical fiction that uses a historical period as the setting but dos not try to play what if games with events.  The setting is the immediate aftermath of the first Gulf war and the plot revolves around mysterious attacks on several American soldiers. With the exception of one mistake one of my biggest pet peeves about any writing having to do with military units was a non-issue.  That is, he gets the format and style of unit designations correct.  There is none … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Under a Graveyard Sky & To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo

Under a Graveyard Sky & To Sail a Darkling Sea together are yet another excellent offering from John Ringo, one of the masters at writing combat sci fi today.  These are the first two books in the Black Tide Rising series, the next book in the series, Islands of Rage and Hope is due for release in August, 2014. The concept behind the series is the Zombie Apocalypse, a popular theme in fiction in the past 5-10 years.  This is a variation on that theme with the difference being that the zombies are not undead, they are still alive just infected.  The zombies have been infected with a virus that essentially eliminates higher order thinking … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tom Kratman

The Lotus Eaters is the third installment of the Legio del Cid series by Mr Kratman. The book picks up after the Legion has successfully pacified Pashtia and returned to Balboa. Its takes place mainly in Balboa as the Legion prepares for their inevitable showdown with the corrupt rump regime protected by the Tauran Union in their enclave near the Balboan Transitway. This is an obvious stepping stone book that fleshes out the story and provides more background rather than really advancing the plot line of the series. If I were a cynic I would say that this appears to be a mash up of all the mini-plots Mr. Kratman … More after the Jump…

Book Promotion: The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines by Eddie Thompkins

Loyal readers, I was approached by Mr Thompkins via email about reviewing his novel The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines. This is a self-published work and one I will not be able to read for at least a month because of the pile of other books I have recently gotten from publishers. I plan on reading this book and writing up a review on it but in the meantime in the interests of encouraging other people to write and giving them a chance to publicize their own work I offered to let him post a promotional piece here at Battles & Book Reviews. Below is the text he sent me to promote … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Countdown: H Hour by Tom Kratman

Countdown: H Hour is the third installment in the Countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first two books.   This book happens at the same time as the events in M Day but in the Phillipines as part of the Regiment conducts a completely separate mission to rescue a rich Phillipino businessman who has been kidnapped by a group of Moro terrorists from the Basilan region.   The action is almost non-stop as the short battalion for the mission conducts operations in Somalia, Basilan, and around Manila in the course of the book.   Adam, … More after the Jump…

Book Review: A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo

A Hymn Before Battle is the first book in Ringo’s Posleen War Series. It is also Ringo’s first published book if I have my facts straight. Regardless, when I first read this book back in 2002 I thought then and have been subsequently proved right that there are authors out there that are just as good as Heinlein at catching the readers attention and keeping it and Ringo is one of them. Imagine horse-sized reptiloid centaurs that think you are lunch, use advanced weaponry, and think the massed wave attack is the height of tactical finesse. The book is the story of how humanity discovers that not only are we … More after the Jump…

Book Review: A Rising Thunder by David Weber

This is the latest installment in the Honor Harrington series of books that Davd Weber first started publishing in the 1990s with On Basilisk Station.  He is now on book Thirteen in the main series with another ten books based in the same universe that enlarge the main story-line.  Eventually I will get around to rereading them al and reviewing them.  The books in order are: On Basilisk Station The Honor of the Queen The Short Victorious War Field of Dishonor Flag in Exile Honor Among Enemies In Enemy Hands Echoes of Honor Ashes of Victory War of Honor At All Costs Mission of Honor A Rising Thunder The other ten … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Carnifex by Tom Kratman

This is the second installment in the Legio del Cid series of books. It is another hit out of the ballpark my Mr Kratman for fans of combat SF. Carnifex continues the story of the Legio del Cid and it’s ruthless commander Patrick Hennessy nee Carrerra in his battle to see the murderers of his wife and children brought to justice. The story line is developed more and does not rely as much on pure combat to move the story along. The part I like the best is the tale of the UN Peace Fleet’s intervention in the war and the cynical, self-serving logic behind their intervention. The UN realizes … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Kirov by John Schettler

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Kirov by John Schettler is the Philadelphia Experiment in reverse.  It is the tale of a Russian cruiser that through some anomaly that is never fully explains finds itself catapulted eighty years backwards in time from 2021 to 1941 to just weeks prior to the meeting of Roosevelt and Churchill at Argentia Bay in Newfoundland.   The cruiser in the novel is the resurrected, upograde, and fully modernized guided missile cruiser Kirov that currently exists in the Russian Navy today.  Of course the cruiser used in the book is a fictionalized version but … More after the Jump…

Book Review: A Desert Called Peace by Tom Kratman

I have reviewed several of Mr Kratman’s books so far and this is another one. I have read all of his books before and find myself going back and rereading them while I wait for the next to come out. Kratman is one of those authors that makes me wish people could write as fast I can read so I would not have to wait so long in between books. Since they cannot, I settle for rereading what they have already published, Kratman’s work is well worth reading and A Desert Called Peace is no exception. The book is a thinly veiled recitation of what could happen to the earth. … More after the Jump…