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Horizon Storms: The Saga of Seven Suns
Kevin J. Anderson
Warner Aspect, 469 pages

Horizon Storms
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: 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 Susan Dunman

Kevin Anderson continues to unveil his spectacular universe and it is definitely an expanding one. In fact, it's a good thing he planned his backdrop to be galaxy-sized. Anything less than the vastness of space wouldn't be big enough to hold all of the alien cultures, battle cruisers, political intrigues, interpersonal relationships, and human foibles that pack his latest addition to the Saga of Seven Suns series. Underpinning a cast of characters that would make any soap-opera addict proud, there's a real love for good story-telling. The author's interest and enthusiasm for his adventure shines through the book, inviting readers to share in the fun.

As the third book in this series unfolds, Anderson judiciously reveals more about his imaginative alien races while escalating the conflict between just about everybody and everything. It seems that confrontations between the mysterious, gas-planet Hydrogues and the equally astounding, sun-dwelling Faeros are nothing new. In fact, a previously censored section of the Ildiran's Saga records a horrific conflict between these races eons earlier. A resumption of their hostilities brings great concern to Jora'h, the new Ildiran Mage-Imperator, as he prepares to establish his control of the empire and his people's theism, a racial collective consciousness that gives the ruler awareness and control over his subjects.

While the Hydrogues and Faeros destroy suns and planets in their quest for domination, the human race is forced to the sidelines of a gargantuan struggle they cannot hope to win. Unfortunately, even after giving up direct combat, human suffering abounds as life-giving suns are snuffed out and production of critically needed star drive fuel comes to a halt. The Hansa League, which governs Earth and her satellite colonies, decides to distract its despairing citizens by declaring war on the Roamers, a group of gypsy space farers who are as resourceful as they are ferocious. Unknown to the Hansa League, the Roamers are forging a strong alliance with the people of Theroc as they help the sentient trees of the worldforest recover from a vicious Hydrogue attack.

If this wasn't enough, there's plenty more waiting in the wings to further complicate matters. Renegade Roamer Jess Tamblyn has discovered yet another alien race known as the Wentals. Water-based creatures with telepathic and other powers, the Wentals save Jess when his ship crashes by allowing themselves to be absorbed into Jess's body. The result is an amazing transformation that leaves Jess more than human and an unofficial ambassador for new allies against the Hydrogues.

And don't forget the Klikiss robots. If you do, it will be at your own peril. At least, that seems to be the case for both humans and Ildiran's who tend to trust them too much. These remnants of a long-dead civilization aren't saying much about how their masters perished, but some of their secrets may be exposed if archaeologists can learn to operate the transportation portals that are located in all of their ancient cities.

Mixed in with all of these alien landscapes and human idiosyncrasies are characters you can cheer for, cry with, and get mad enough at to punch their lights out. Strong characters have been a hallmark of this entire series, and in spite of all the action-packed sequences, it's the characters that continue to drive this remarkable story. Of course, the faster-than-light pace doesn't hurt, either. As before, the plot of Horizon Storms skips around from planet to ship to who-knows-where in a whirlwind of sub-plots, ulterior motives, and plain old survival instincts. And also, as before, there is no resolution in sight, which means it will be necessary for fans of the series to practice the fine art of patience until the next installment.

Without a doubt, it helps to have a great writer behind any story and Anderson is proving to be a master of his craft. In the acknowledgments section of this book, Anderson says that long ago, Dean Koontz told him to "think big" with his stories. It's obvious he took this advice to heart and we can all be glad he did.

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.

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