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The Hero by John Ringo and Michael Z. Williamson

Cover art by Kurt Miller

Published by Baen Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

A thousand years have passed since the Posleen occupied Earth and nearly slaughtered humanity. But the memories die hard, and some of the hardest are those of how we were betrayed by our supposed "allies," the Darhel.

Now a Darhel empath must join a human recon team on a mission deep into enemy territory, a mission that will be complicated by the rifts his presence creates in the unit's cohesion.

As if that isn't enough, midway through their mission they discover an artifact in an ancient ruin that may date back to the semi-legendary Aldenata, an elder race now worshipped by the Galactic cultures as quasi-gods. Such a find is enough to make everyone wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice -- except that one member would rather not share the loot, and turns on his comrades.

Except things rarely go as planned, and not all the other members of the team die so quickly or quietly as he had hoped. Now the three survivors are on a desperate cat-and-mouse game through territory unimaginably hostile, with the very future of the Galaxy as the prize.

Ringo and Williamson have opened new windows to the fascinating history that underlies the Posleen universe, with glimpses of a time when the Aldenata weren't completely godlike in their powers. At the same time, we have seen a little of what the Darhel are like behind the polished mask they present, and some of the secrets of a very alien biology.

Review posted October 7, 2004

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