HELLHOLE by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Cover of "Hellhole" from www.wordfire.com

Cover of "Hellhole" from http://www.wordfire.com

A Hell of a Good Read

A failed rebellion. A disgraced leader exiled to a brutal backwater world. An interstellar government with a stranglehold on its people. These are the elements that lead into the opening of Hellhole, the first novel in the new science fiction epic from Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

General Tiber Maximilian Adolphus blinked when his forces had victory within reach. That hesitation won the war for Diadem Michella Duchenet’s ruler of all known habitable worlds in the Constellation. Rather than hand the rebellion a martyr figure, Diadem Michella exiled Adolphus to the most inhospitable world in the Deep Zone, Hallholme.

Set up for failure, Adolphus carves out a community of misfits and criminals who have nowhere else to go. Hallholme, “Hellhole” to its inhabitants, is a world of many surprises, mostly bad. The colony faces heavy taxation while being shortchanged in government shipments of necessary goods. But Adolphus and his dedicated people don’t let the Diadem’s machinations destroy them. A decade after his exile, Adolphus is on the cusp of something big. Little does he know, his plans may be affected by an unimaginable discovery.

Hellhole is the first book in a new trilogy by acclaimed authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. This is their first effort outside of their multiple works in the highly popular Dune series. They bring their mastery of characterization and world-building to this new vision of the distant future. Weaving plots within plots, they pull the reader through the many ambitions of opposing interests. They do so in a way that keeps the reader interested and avoids confusion.

This is a well-crafted tale that engages the senses and heart. Herbert and Anderson have a fresh take the old tale of corrupt government, adding a fantastic twist which puts their unique stamp on the new series.

Fans of Dune, Star Wars, and other space epics will find this an engaging ride into the future.

~Christina Wantz Fixemer

Rating: 5-Books
Author Websites:
Brian Herbert:
Kevin J. Anderson: http://www.wordfire.com/ & http://kjablog.com
ISBN-13: 978-1847374264

The reviewer received a copy of Hellhole from the publisher. This has no impact on the quality or consideration of the review.


Front Lines… Edited by Denise Little

Click here to see this review on WUAT


Front Lines

Edited by Denise Little

Published By: DAW Books, Inc.: A Member of Penguin Group (USA)

Good Pick for Fans of Speculative Fiction

Reviewed by Vicky Burkholder
on 12/21/2008

I said in an earlier review of a different anthology that reviewing an anthology of short stories has to be one of the hardest things a reviewer can do, especially if the stories are all written by different authors. My previous statement still holds true. Some of the authors in this anthology include Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Laura Resnick, Jody Lynn Nye, Jim Fiscus, J. Steven York.

In this book, we are given twenty-one different stories by different authors but with one theme uniting them all – in this case, being on the front lines in a war, whether against human, pixie, or “thing” and settings are all over the universe, from the intergalactic to a little boy’s backyard. According to the introduction, “this book isn’t about…what it means as a society to fight a war….it’s all about the life of the people on the front lines of battle.” What I find interesting about the book, is that more than half the writers are women. Surely a unique perspective in a hard science fiction book. The stories are thought provoking, funny, poignant, and sad. Everything an anthology should be.

Like all anthologies, there were some stories I liked, some I didn’t care much for, but not because of the writing. Each story is well crafted and well-written. Overall, the tales were very good.

If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in reading, anthologies are a good place to go. Each story is complete and is good for a quick read when you don’t have time for a novel. I recommend this one for anyone interested in speculative fiction from the perspective of someone on the “Front Lines”.


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