Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
A Forest of Stars
Kevin J. Anderson
Pocket Books, 706 pages

A Forest of Stars
Kevin J. Anderson
Kevin J. Anderson was born in 1962 and was raised in Oregon, Wisconsin. At 10, he had saved up enough money from mowing lawns and doing odd jobs that he could either buy a bicycle or a typewriter -- he chose the typewriter and has been writing ever since. He sold his first novel, Resurrection, Inc., by the time he turned 25. Anderson worked in California for 12 years as a technical writer and editor at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he met his wife Rebecca Moesta and his frequent co-author, Doug Beason.

Kevin J. Anderson Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Dogged Persistence
SF Site Review: Resurrection, Inc.
SF Site Review: Dune: House Atreides
SF Site Review: Lethal Exposure

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Susan Dunman

Reynold will soon become the next Father of Theroc, ruling a verdant green world which moves to the slow tropical rhythm of the worldforest. Here, giant sentient trees live in harmony with humans and form symbiotic bonds with selected individuals. These hairless, emerald-skinned green priests communicate telepathically with worldforest trees planted on colony worlds across the Spiral Arm. The galaxy-spanning network of trees and green priests provides instantaneous communication throughout Earth's growing empire, but the trees are beginning to express feelings of foreboding to their human assistants.

A sense of uneasiness also pervades the Terran Hanseatic League, a secretive organization that rules Earth's empire through the proclamations of their puppet monarch, King Peter. The boy king dutifully plays his scripted role while plotting to gain independence from the evil Chairman Wenceslas, the true wielder of power in the magnificent Whisperer Palace. Attention is focused on a new enemy that threatens the stability of Earth's tightly controlled federation, an enemy the Earth Defense Forces may be unable to defeat.

Years earlier, the Hansa League formed an alliance with the Ildirans, an ancient alien race with an affinity for humans. Sharing technology, Ildirans introduced ekti, a revolutionary star-drive fuel that became the foundation for humanity's expansion into the galaxy. Ingredients for the precious fuel are harvested by huge skymines orbiting around gas giants. Accidentally antagonizing another previously unknown alien race living deep within these gas giants, the Hydrogues declared skymines off-limits and began blowing up the gigantic floating processing plants.

The loss of ekti poses a serious threat to both Terran and Ildiran civilizations, but the monstrous crystalline ships of the Hydrogues are almost indestructible. On top of that, their crackling, electric-blue power bolts can systematically annihilate entire planets. Earth needs an ally it can trust, yet there doesn't appear to be any likely candidates in a cold and increasingly friendless galaxy.

Kevin J. Anderson effortlessly delivers another hair-raising ride through the universe in this second installment of his Saga of Seven Suns series. There's plenty of shoot-'em-up battle scenes sporting ingenious makes and models of weaponry, but the true strength of this story lies with its characters.

Unlike many space opera extravaganzas, Anderson pays close attention to individuals, showing how their respective cultures influence personal decisions. The brilliantly lit world of Ildira, within its seven sun system, is home to the Mage-Imperator of a vast but stagnant empire. As controller of his people's thism, a collective racial telepathic consciousness, his power is absolute.

On Earth, the Hansa League controls another expanding empire. Although supposedly friendly with the Ildirans, humans are both admired and feared for their ingenuity and independence. Also to be explored are the remnants of the Klikiss civilization, a mysterious extinct race that has left nothing but archaeological artifacts and huge, beetle-like robots as a reminder of their existence. And if that wasn't enough to track, there's also the Roamers, a group of dangerously clever space gypsies, as well as subtle hints regarding other life forms on the fringe of all this interstellar activity.

The plot of A Forest of Stars jumps from world to world in brief, four-to-five page chapters. Each chapter carries the name of a specific character while the chapter itself describes his or her continuing contribution to the development of the story. Although preferable, it's not necessary to have read the first volume, Hidden Empire, before tackling this 700-plus page opus. A very succinct summary of the first book is included, as well as a glossary of terms and main characters. There's also an excerpt from the next volume in the series, Horizon Storms.

Anderson's imagination is amazing and his full-throttle pacing makes the time fly by, even with an admittedly hefty story to tell. The best way to enjoy this epic tale is to simply surrender and immerse yourself in this immense space adventure. So, turn off the cell phone, unplug the computer, find an extremely comfortable chair, and open to page one.

Copyright © 2004 Susan Dunman

Susan became a librarian many light years ago and has been reviewing books ever since. Audiobooks and graphic novels have expanded her quest to find the best science fiction in Libraryland.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide