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Veiled Alliances
Kevin J. Anderson
WildStorm, 96 pages

Veiled Alliances
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: Landscapes
SF Site Interview: Kevin J. Anderson
SF Site Interview: Kevin J. Anderson
SF Site Review: Horizon Storms
SF Site Review: A Forest of Stars
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 Trent Walters

Kevin J. Anderson's Saga of Seven Suns is a monument of epic science-fictional imagination, of galactic politics fluctuating allegiances between humans, aliens (some extinct, some formerly extinct, and some who will be), and "abandoned" robots -- a monument so grand that it took seven books to bridge them. Now in Veiled Alliances, Anderson has returned to his saga to tell of its origins in preparation for a new series that picks up where the last left off.

Over a century earlier, eleven human generation starships have plunged into the dark unknown, without success of finding a colonizable planet. Ten of them are discovered by the aliens. On Earth is Chariman Malcolm Stannis who greets the alien Ildrian Solar Navy's arrival on Earth. He is the man behind the puppet kings of Earth. They do what he says or he kills them and replaces them with another, younger, brainwashed regal figurehead.

King Ben is the aforementioned, well-intentioned but bumbling figurehead, who bestows more kindness on his subjects than the Chairman wants. Thara Wen, meanwhile on the forest planet Theroc, is pursued through the forest by a knife-wielding psychopath bent on killing her. When she escapes, the forest envelopes her -- out of the frying pan and into the fire -- but the forest does not kill her but rather transforms her in a being with whom it can share its thoughts and knowledge. This transformation will impact the entire galaxy.

Captain Chrysta Logan helms the missing generation starship -- its 21st captain. The people live on rations and, sick of starvation, mutiny despite there being nothing more that Chrysta can do. That's where Ildrian warliners discover them and replant them on the planet Dobro. She falls in love with the Ildrian leader, Designate Rekar'h, and is pregnant with his child -- a development which intrigues the Ildrian and prevents them from disclosing to anyone that the missing starship is found.

Corey Kellum and his colonists mine the gas giant Daym for fueling the stardrives that the Ildrians have given to the humans. However, as his ship is crashing, dropping further into the depths of the massive planet, being crushed under massive pressures, Corey discovers aliens hitherto unknown (or forgotten).

Finally, the destitute and widowed Madeleine Robinson takes her sons to regain their fortunes by traveling to forgotten planets and cataloguing what they find. What they discover are alien robots (perhaps the coolest moment of the novella) who have been buried for millennia and who claim not to remember their past:

  "Derek swung the beam of his blazer and spotted a gleaming black hook that protruded from one crumbling resinous wall. ' Wait a second... what's that buried in the wall?'

"Jacob poked at the piece of uncharacteristic black metal. 'Let's dig it out and see.' He pulled a rock-sampling hammer form his pack and tapped the resinous concrete, breaking it away to expose a metal claw, a mechanical pincer, part of a larger object embedded inside the wall.

" 'Looks like some kind of machine,' Derek said. 'Klikiss machinery -- it could be valuable.'

"The two of them chipped away and pulled chunks of Klikiss concrete aside to expose an articulated arm connected to the claw. When they dislodged a key piece of rubble, the rest of the wall crumbled inward, collapsing in a small rockfall to expose a sealed chamber. A large machine made out of black metal stood there, like an angular beetle more than three meters tall. Its head plate was shaped like a trapezoid, studded with round spheres, like eyes... far too many eyes."

And then the robots come alive.


This novella bursts with intriguing developments and innovative concepts. For readers of the original series who want to know the beginnings of the series, you'll want to snap this up. If you are new to the series, and if you love taut tension and the inklings of what's to come, this may be a good place to start. However, since the first novel, Hidden Empire, introduces characters and story lines that are fully developed, you might start there and return here to see where it all began. This is a diverting addition to Anderson's original series. Be on the lookout for the new series.

Copyright © 2012 Trent Walters

Trent Walters teaches science; lives in Honduras; edited poetry at Abyss & Apex; blogs science, SF, education, and literature, etc. at APB; co-instigated Mundane SF (with Geoff Ryman and Julian Todd) culminating in an issue for Interzone; studied SF writing with dozens of major writers and and editors in the field; and has published works in Daily Cabal, Electric Velocipede, Fantasy, Hadley Rille anthologies, LCRW, among others.

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