by David Weber
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Steve Sawicki
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 1416508988
Date: 06 September, 2005 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
I've always wondered two things about Bolos: why, if they are so big, are they so hard to kill? and why do they need a human operator when the AI seems so superior? I wonder these things but I don't pay them much mind because the idea of giant, self aware tanks is just too much fun to spend time trying to pick the idea apart.
Weber keeps things moving from the first shot in space to the last shot on the planet. He throws in plenty of surprises so the balance shifts constantly from one side to the other and it's not just a question of the humans winning, although you know they will. The Melconians are interesting and operate based on cultural and environmental influences. This is refreshing as it's not just another case of aliens acting like humans. This makes the task of defense more difficult and keeps the reader more involved in the entire process throughout the conflict. The characters are interesting, if somewhat recognizable in a stereotypical kind of way, and operate under their own cultural and personal influences. Overall, there's plenty here for everyone and if you're a fan of military SF, particularly that sub-genre that uses mechanized armor, then this is a book for you.