S.M. Stirling, David Drake and Eric Flint
Baen, Nov 4 2014, $14.00
The Reformer by S.M. Stirling and David Drake (Whitehall book 7). When the Web crashed, civilization on thousands of planets collapsed with only Bellevue immune. On Hafardine, the fall was so great that centuries afterward no one possesses even a whisper of the ancient past. Filling the power vacuum, the decadent Vanbret regime took control of the world. Student of the Grove Adrian Gellert craves knowledge and understanding until his curiosity leads him to touch an artifact; subsequently making first contact with the minds of Raj Whitehall and Center the Bellevue battle computer. Gellert becomes the rebel leader.
“The Tyrant” by Eric Flint and David Drake (Whitehall book 8). Justicar Demansk fears for Vanbert’s future as the affluent aristocracy abuse their power while the bloodthirsty pirates to the north and the barbarous horde to the south threaten the empire. He admires Gellert’s star war efforts in the south, but believes the only solution to kill the internal and external cancers are a coup d’état leading to himself as an iron fist Tyrant.
The omnibus General book 4 reprints the enjoyable Whitehall 7 and 8 science fiction that continues the radical change in series direction started in Whitehall 6 when we left Bellevue for adventures on other planets. Both entries contain overall thrilling military action though with some questionable tactics; while also sharing some of the same cast, but their personalities seem changed although one can rationalize due to combat. Fans who accepted the dramatic switch will want to read these tales while newcomers need to peruse the previous mostly Raj saga first (see Hope Reborn for 1 and 2, Hope Returned for 3 and 4 and Hope Renewed for 5 and 6).