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Into the Hinterlands by David Drake and John Lambshead
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439134610
Date: 06 September 2011 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: David Drake's Website / John Lambshead's Publisher's page / Show Official Info /

David Drake and John Lambshead begin a new series The Citizen with Into the Hinterlands. Allen Allenson, a gentleman of the Stream, leads an expedition into the Hinterlands to determine resources and worlds available for settlement. Soon he finds himself propelled into an unfamiliar role as Inspector of the Military Forces for the Cutter Stream, i.e., commander of the Stream Militia. Unprepared, he learns on the job how to plan attacks and use the undertrained, inadequately armed militia to fight Riders and scramble against Terran incursions into the Hinterlands.

Drake excels at military space wars and Into the Hinterlands offers a new world with very different means of fighting in a strange environment. The Earth has seen the collapse of several civilizations and now those of the Home Worlds called Brazilian and Terrans are the survivors. Each controls sectors of space and seeks to expand their reach. Travel is by the Continuum where small craft made of ceramic and similar to bicycles traverse space. Metal components create havoc and are difficult to transport in this medium.

Settlements have formed on distant worlds reached more rapidly through the Continuum rather than by spacecraft. Terran settlements have formed along a chasm that allows rapid travel. The Brazilians have settled along the Cutter Stream. Now Terrans want to expand into areas the Brazilians consider theirs.

Allenson wants the Hinterlands developed by the Stream colonists and not by the Home Worlds. In many ways a coming of age story, Allenson grows as a politician and as a military commander as he struggles against bureaucracy and a strong enemy. A member of the gentry, he also strives to maintain his honor and integrity and to act humanely toward his troops and enemies. Compared to the well-armed Terrans, he is like a stone-age warrior fighting army tanks. He also has to contend with the Riders, a group that broke off from humans millions of years ago and ride strange crystal beasts to harry both sides, but especially the Streamers.

A passion for his best friend's wife complicates matters. Allenson struggles against his feelings, but the woman is determined to have him. He develops a relationship with another astute woman who has many contacts and helps him gather resources and develop strategies.

Allenson and others quote liberally from the Romans and other older civilization. Considering the collapse of Earth, this is interesting and perhaps a bit hard to accept. Allenson draws on older technology and strategies used by bi-planes and even Molotov cocktails for battle plans and weapons. Overall, it's an interesting world and more awaits readers in Into the Maelstrom.

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