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Against the Tide by John Ringo

Cover art by Clyde Caldwell

Published by Baen Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Council Wars grind on, while the mass of ordinary humanity struggles to survive as best it can amidst the destruction of what had been an ultra-tech paradise. At sea, the war continues, fought not only by wooden ships and iron men (and women), but by merfolk and by humans who have taken the forms of various cetaceans.

Meanwhile, young Megan from "A Time of Darkness" continues her own secret war in Paul Bowman's harem. Even as she finds herslef in love with him, she burns with hatred that he dared to enslave her. That hatred drives her to seek a way to destroy him, slow and subtle as a serpent. For she does not wish to merely strike a blow and die, but to prevail and to take the power he weilds as a holder of one of the Keys, the tokens by which the members of the Council control Mother, the world-running computer.

In this novel Ringo continues to provide plenty of adventure and military action. However, he also begans to delve into what exactly it means for human society when central authority collapses and people are thrown upon their own resources. Some of it isn't pretty, and even some of the nominal good guys have reverted to modes of societal organization in which only some of the people are full members of the society, and others are regarded as not just servants, but contemptable ones -- and gets into the economic factors that lead to such brutalizing divisions of labor.

Review posted December 15, 2008

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