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Conquered by the Jao twenty years ago, the Earth is shackled under alien tyranny - and threatened by the even more dangerous Ekhat, one of whose genocidal extermination fleets is coming to the solar system. The only chance for human survival is in the hands of an unusual pair of allies: a young Jao prince, newly arrived to Terra to assume his duties, and a young human womaConquered by the Jao twenty years ago, the Earth is shackled under alien tyranny - and threatened by the even more dangerous Ekhat, one of whose genocidal extermination fleets is coming to the solar system. The only chance for human survival is in the hands of an unusual pair of allies: a young Jao prince, newly arrived to Terra to assume his duties, and a young human woman brought up amongst the Jao occupiers. But, as their tentative alliance takes shape, they are under pressure from all sides. A cruel Jao viceroy on one side, determined to drown all opposition in blood; a reckless human resistance on the other, which is perfectly prepared to shed it. Added to the mix is the fact that only by adopting some portions of human technology and using human sepoy troops can the haughty Jao hope to defeat the oncoming Ekhat attack - and then only by fighting the battle within the sun itself....

Title : the course of empire
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ISBN : 17185706
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Number of Pages : 520 Pages
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the course of empire Reviews

  • Bryan Alexander
    2019-05-16 19:21

    I picked this up almost on a whim, after finishing one of the author's previous books (1632; my review). I was interested by this one's political situation, and saved it for a very long plane trip.Overall, Course of Empire was worth it.The plot concerns the aftermath of humanity's conquest by aliens. Our species is more or less subjugated, but the occupying aliens, the Jao, are having political problems. Their control is uneven, and a terrible alien race is approaching. Humans and Jao struggle to outmaneuver each other and to prepare for the third party's attack.There's much to like in Course of Empire. The two major alien species are very well realized, having complexity and actual alien-ness. The Jao culture is interesting, especially their elaborate body language system. The depiction of humanity is fairly convincing, complete with multiple types of collaboration, civilizational despair, a useless resistance, and an undying love of blowing things up. Characters are good, serving both to illuminate social and political elements while being at least basically convincing as individuals. The first half of the book is somewhat slow, at least in part because of world-building and setting up many plot pieces for events to come. Flint and Wentworth repeat themselves, trying to show us different parties' perspectives on shared experiences, but falling into redundancy too often (is this an artifact of the collaborative writing process?). We see one of the Jao heroes investigating human military prowess far too many times. Yet the second half of the book kicks into high gear, activating many of the laboriously set up pieces (why spend so much time on submarines? ah...), then backing up to shed new light on earlier developments. A few aspects bugged me besides the repetition. The human plots are far too American. We don't visit any other country, nor do the Jao, at least in plot and information terms. One other part of the world appears towards the end, simply as an atrocity target lacking any human detail. Many discussions of history ensue, courtesy of a history prof and some well-read aliens, but they tend to focus on the English-speaking world (19th-century India being the main subject, but wholly from the British point of view). At worst it echoes Independence Day, which is unfortunate. Human culture is a weak part of the book. For example, there isn't enough about humans willingly collaborating with the Jao, and changing culture to reflect that; we seem too untransformed for my belief, after some tantalizing hints early in the book. Flint and Wentworth emphasize military details, and underplay nearly everything else: language, literature, mass media, politicking, sexuality. Human-on-human racism pops up a couple of times in a perfunctory manner.And yet I appreciated the way Course of Empire resisted other cliches. There's a villainous and self-defeating Jao overlord who seemed way too simplistic, until depth appeared at the end. The human resistance movement is simply pointless, and never becomes the heroic focus. The Jao and Ekhat are not Star Trek: Net Generation humans-with-forehead-latex, but actually different civilizations. Military battles are well described, but not fetishized. The Jao learn to appreciate typical human wackiness, but humanity shows signs of evolving to embrace alien attributes - an all too rare sf achievement.I also enjoyed the space opera dimensions, which might lead me to read the sequel.Recommended, given my grumbling caveats.

  • E.A.
    2019-05-01 02:19

    What a wonderfully complex and satisfying novel "The Course of Empire" has proven to be. The earth has been a conquered planet for twenty years before the book opens. The Jao, a complex race of aliens divided into competing clans, rule a troublesome earth with a heavy hand when Aille, a young, promising alien diplomat from one of the most influential clans, arrives on earth to take over an important post. Ailee’s journey from naïve newcomer to fully formed world changer is a reading experience to be treasured. "Reminiscent of James Clavell’s incredibly moving "Shogun," the team of authors, K.D. Wentworth and Eric Flint, take a similar path with their novel and deliver an equally powerful piece. In the case of Clavell, his interwoven plots managed to keep his story fresh and compelling while providing amazing insights into medieval Japanese mindsets and culture. Wentworth and Flint do the same here with the alien Jao. The Jao are unrelentingly alien but not incomprehensible. It is an absolute delight to experience the story unfolding before you. The situation on earth and within the Jao culture is at a delicate point and all sides to the struggle are not only engaged but scheming. In fact, there are plots within plots and layers upon layers of complexity here. And, ultimately, the very schemers themselves are outwitted. It is a long book at 522 pages but there is not a wasted moment.The finest element of the book is the reaffirmation of the values to be found in association and community, despite differences between races. The characters are compelling and complex, multi-dimensional and often surprising in their depth. The plotting is deft and the twists intriguing without ever feeling contrived. A truly memorable work.

  • Andreas
    2019-05-12 21:20

    This is truly an undiscovered gem of a novel. Almost discreetly thrown out there, it will unfortunately be missed by many readers thinking it just one more of Baen’s (admittedly mostly excellent) military scifi offerings. It is much much more than that.The story it draws closely on the history of the English occupation of India. The Jao conquered Earth twenty years ago in their struggle to hold ground against the powerful and enigmatic Ekhat. Since then, Earth has suffered under an abusive Jao viceroy. Humans still do not understand the Jao and their complex society. Most Jao see humans as lesser beings to be used up in the war against the Ekhat. But things change as a new Jao commander of ground forces arrives with fresh ideas. Meanwhile, the Ekhat are closing in and the mysterious Jao faction known as The Bond of Ebezon watches closely, ready to intervene.The book is a page turner with plenty of action, but I did struggle with the alien Jao in the beginning. They are not written to be easily understandable. Flint and Wentworth have made them complex and truly alien without succumbing to the temptation of explaining their quirks and affectations in human terms. It’s a bit of a hump but well worth conquering. The Jao are fascinating creatures that misunderstand humans as much as humans misunderstand them. Not since Niven & Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye have I encountered aliens that are truly alien and not just humans looking different.Flint & Wentworth masterfully take the reader from simple beginnings and purposeful confusion to understanding and enlightenment. This journey parallels that of the main protagonists, both Jao and human. Excellent!http://www.books.rosboch.net/?p=152

  • Ove
    2019-05-04 03:18

    The reason I am reviewing The Course of Empire now is that the second part The Cruible of Empire will be out next month (March 16, 2010). This is the first book in a series about an alien invasion of earth by the Jao that changes into something else under the pressure of yet another more menacing alien race, the Ekhat bent on exterminating all non Ekhat life from the universe. It holds interesting alien point-of-views (pov), alternatives to violence and an unusual positive treatment of collaborateurs.Product description Conquered by the Jao twenty years ago, the Earth is shackled under alien tyranny – and threatened by the even more dangerous Ekhat, one of whose genocidal extermination fleets is coming to the solar system. The only chance for human survival is in the hands of an unusual pair of allies: a young Jao prince, newly arrived to Terra to assume his duties, and a young human woman brought up amongst the Jao occupiers. But, as their tentative alliance takes shape, they are under pressure from all sides. A cruel Jao viceroy on one side, determined to drown all opposition in blood; a reckless human resistance on the other, which is perfectly prepared to shed it. Added to the mix is the fact that only by adopting some portions of human technology and using human sepoy troops can the haughty Jao hope to defeat the oncoming Ekhat attack – and then only by fighting the battle within the sun itself.The AuthorsEric Flint has written some of my favorite science fiction series 1632 and Wages of Sin. One of his strenghts is collaborations as in 1633 and Crown of Slaves with David Weber. I haven’t read his Belisarius series written with David Drake, but I have it on my to-read list. Eric Flint is noted as the editor of the Baen Free Library, and I love Baen Free Library, I have found a number of new authors and series there. His website Ericflint.com is one the best sites on the net for Snippets from new books not only from Baens.K. D. Wentworth is author of seven novels according to wikipedia, including Black on Black and Stars Over Stars for Baen, and more than fifty short stories. Her latest novel is This Fair Land (Hawk), an alternate history fantasy of the era of Columbus. I haven’t read anything else by her but I am inclined to do so after reading The Course of Empire.Info/FormatThis is the paperback version with 672 pagespublished by Baen March 1, 2005Cover Art by Bob EggletonFirst in the book is the Cast of Characters with a very usefull explanation of Jao naming conventions at the end you need to be familiar with.At the end of the book there is a Glossary of Jao Terms that might be usefull to read before or while reading the story. I felt no particular need for it though, you can easily determine meaning from the story.Also at the end are two Appendixes, one explaining the Ekhat and the other Interstellar Travel, save reading them after the story as they explain some of what surprised me about the Ekhat.PlotThe Jao invaded and conquered earth some twenty years ago after. The conquest haven’t turned out well for the Jao or for humanity. The Jao doesn’t understand humans and treat them like animals trying to subdue them into submission and servitude. The humans see the Jaos as inhumane and uncaring, prone to kill for the slightest mistakes.We get to follow the point of views from both human and alien sides. The main protagonists are the promising young Jao male Aille krinnu ava Pluthrak and the daughter of the Jao’s Native President of North America Caitlin Alana Stockwell, a hostage. Aille belongs to a krinnu (clan) in conflict with the Narvo the clan that has been ruling earth since the conquest. He arrive as the newly appointed sub-commander of all ground forces on earth. His, his clan especially but all Jao in general approach to conflict is association, this clashes with Governor Oppuk’s brutal ways. He starts to pick up humans into his personal service, among them Tully, an agent for the resistance that still abide in mountainous regions, Rafe Aguilera, a former tank commander now refitting human weapons with Jao tech, a professor researching Jao society and eventually Caitlin who grew up with Jaos and understands them better than any human alive.The Jao clans compete to further their blood lines positions and glory. Only one group the mysterious Bond of Ebezon act for the whole of the Jao race and they have long time plans for earth, that are now coming into fruition.The first two thirds of the book deals with the screwed up situation on earth. I enjoyed the alien pov which you get from both Aille and Oppuk.The last third deals with the solution even if a large part of it is the fight with the Ekhat. The Jao were once created as servants to the Ekhat but rebelled. The Jao conquer other races to prepare them for defense against the Ekhat not for building Empires, which is a bit weird consider the title. I wouldn’t want to spoil the Ekhat for you by telling to much, they are truly alien in a unique way (at least from my reading).IdeasI belive there is an underlying idea by the authors that association and collaboration is a stronger and better tool to resolve differences than violence that reflects back to our own time and “the War on Terror”. I have no confirmation of it but it sounds reasonable given the book.CharacterizationCharacterization is much better than one usually get in military science fiction. I got some C. J. Cherryh feelings there inspired by the name Tully I guess (Channur Saga) but the characterization is great, the characters grow, especially the ones you root for, but even the brutal Governor Oppuk has his own understandable rationalities. He is colored by the fierce fighting ever experienced by the Jao in conquering earth and especially the US so he treats the humans as clever animals and tries to subdue them.The alien point-of-view is masterly done, the aliens are not humans in different skins, they do have different understandable motivations.World BuildingThe Jao looks like humaniod sea lions with an elaborate stylized way of communicating with geastures and they also have a weird sense of time. A Jao have no use for any time measuring device, they just percieve the flow and arrive at the right time to no end of frustration to their human counterparts. Jao society is explained and experienced in splendid detail. At the beginning it was a bit annoying with all the foreign names but you soon get so immersed in the story that you don’t notice.One thing I noticed especially was the human collaborators contra the rebels. It is rare to see collaborators portrayed so positive in military science fiction. I read somewhere that the rebels where supposed to be socialists? I never got that feeling, quite the opposite in fact.Human with our evolved society contra the Jao’s stricter inherited and never questioned society (from their creators) is highlighted in an intresting way by the authors.My ViewThis is one of the best alien point of view stories I have read in a long time, the world is vivid and the characters are easy to love. I got very emotional here and there in the story, especially at the end. I would recommend The Course of Empire to anyone intrested in a good alien point of view story or if you are just looking for good science fiction

  • Daniel Shellenbarger
    2019-05-21 03:25

    The Course of Empire is a refreshingly innovative alien invasion novel, particularly since Wentworth and Flint do an excellent job creating aliens that aren't just humans wearing funny hats and extra limbs. The story takes place 20 years after the Earth is invaded and conquered by an alien race called the Jao. The Jao are a contradiction of a sort in that they are extremely advanced technologically, but they're not actually possessed of a tendency to innovate and have a fairly primitive socio-political structure. In fact, they were only marginally intelligent before they were taken into the service of the enigmatic Ekhat race and uplifted to serve that race as slaves. In time, they rebelled against the Ekhat, taking their former masters' tech with them. Since then, the Jao have been waging a desperate war of attrition against the Ekhat, conquering worlds to provide additional resources, assimilating numerous primitive races into their empire in the process. Then the Jao came to Earth and everything went wrong. A simple conquest of a less advanced species (though far more advanced than any the Jao had previously subdued) turned into a bloodbath as humans resisted long past the point where defeat was obvious and surprised the Jao by overcoming their advantages with simple ingenuity, such as foiling the laser weapons of the Jao ground vehicles by attacking in bad weather or using chaff grenades (this aspect of the story reminded me of the TV series Falling Skies, though the Jao aren't overtly genocidal). When the Jao finally do manage to subdue humanity, they do not know what to do with them, humanity's resistance has left many of the Jao with psychological scars of an inferiority complex that they do not understand and as such, what is meant to be a process of assimilation with mutual benefit (since the Ekhat are coming, and they kill everything that isn't Ekhat or useful to the Ekhat) turns into a ruthless and savage occupation with no end in sight, eating up important war resources for no real gain. Thus, at the beginning of the book, with time running out, the Jao decide to make a final gambit to salvage the conquest of the Earth by sending a promising young officer to try and achieve the elusive "association" with the down-trodden and alienated human race.The greatest strength of The Course of Empire is obviously its utterly alien aliens, but it adds on a well-developed political drama, a broad cast of complex characters, an excellent depiction of insurgency against a more powerful but less innovative opponent, and some interesting (though rather fanciful) space combat. The latter is definitely its greatest weakness as well, as the thoughtful descriptions of ground warfare tactics makes the rather ridiculous idea of turning submarines into spaceships and bolting tank turrets on them to fight at visual distance in space rather ridiculous. Even so, it was well worth the read and I hope to be able to get my hands on the sequel some time.UPDATE: Got my hands on the sequel, loved it; it's a tragedy Ms. Wentworth died before she could finish the third book in the series (Span of Empire), but it's exciting to hear that David Carrico and Eric Flint are working on finishing it.

  • Bard Bloom
    2019-05-20 19:10

    Continuing in my plan to review every free e-book I finish, I picked up The Course of Empire by Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth for free somewhere or other, and expected to hate it. I generally don't like military SF. I snagged it in a pile of a couple dozen free e-books, and planned to toss three quarters of them.And, rather to my surprise, I really liked it. The heart of the book was about a culture clash between the alien Jao who had conquered Earth twenty years before, and the humans (mostly American) who directly served them. The Jao had good reasons for conquering Earth: the even-more-alien Ekhat were killing off every intelligent species in the galaxy, and the Jao essentially drafted humanity into the anti-Ekhat war effort.Anyhow, the world-building and culture-building can be the main character in a story like this, and in Course of Empire it was. The actual characters were pretty one-dimensional, but there were enough of them and they were arranged well enough so that their meagre personalities and stories outlined the two conflicting cultures. The Jao were nicely alien-but-understandable, with some interesting personality quirks for a conquering imperialist race.A number of things bothered me about the book as I was reading, but turned out sensible in the end. Oppuk, the Jao governor of Earth, acted like a nearly-irrational sadistic villain for most of the book, which seemed surprisingly insane and stereotypical for this story. It turns out that there was a good reason for him acting that way. The obbligato mumble that, although Jao are human-like around the genital region, no human ever saw Jao take sexual interest in either Jao or human; there's an interesting reason for that, and it's quite relevant to the plotline. That sort of thing.And yes, there was a lot of gloating about how good human military apparatus is (albeit inferior to dropping asteroids on Chicago and Mt. Everest), and a space combat scene carefully crafted to show them off.

  • Got My Book
    2019-04-23 03:25

    Also posted on my blog Got My Book.Real Rating = 4.5*A complex if slightly cliche SF with a great cast of characters.BOOK DETAILS:The Course of Empire by Eric Flint & KD Wentworth, read by Chris Patton, published by Audible Studios (2012) / Length: 18 hrs 50 minSERIES INFO:This is Book #1 of 2 (so far) in the "Jao" trilogy. The 3rd book, The Span of Empire, has been long delayed due to the death of Ms. Wentworth, but is scheduled to be released on Kindle & hardcover today (9/6/16). I did not receive a response regarding the release date for the audiobook.SUMMARY:There are a lot of cliches present in this book: It takes place in America, which was among those who fought the hardest; our weapons might be superior to theirs & we might be able to help them win a war they've been fighting for centuries; we might have won if only we hadn't been so divided etc. But that doesn't mean it isn't well done. This is my kind of military SF - in that it focuses a lot on the characters, especially people who think, and not just on actions.One of the things that determines if a book is a "repeater" for me, and thus a recipient of more stars, is whether or not it has memorable moments & scenes that I enjoy revisiting. This book has many such "highlights," making it difficult to limit myself to my usual 3 below.CHARACTERS:There are 3 main POV characters in this book (and many minor ones). I don't like books with multiple POVs if they are in unconnected plot lines, but these are all part of one main narrative.Aille krinnu ava Pluthrak: The primary MC. I really enjoyed following him through to the end. I love his openness and commitment to the truth regardless of its implications. I do think that he is a little too perfect, a small flaw or two might have been interesting.Tully: He was my favorite MC due to his complexity. He is narrow minded & judgemental, but also intelligent & brave. He also experienced the most character growth.Caitlyn: Her parts were least interesting until later in the book, although I like her as a character. She is "strong," but not in the kick butt kind of way (the Jao are so much stronger that she just stands back during a physical fight). Instead, she endured years of emotional abuse by her guard and didn't let it break her. She watched & learned and was prepared when an opportunity to made a difference arose.My favorite side characters include: Tamt - I think she is one of most complex of the side characters and I would love to have had more with her / Wrot - he's just funWORLDBUILDING:This aspect of the book is very complex. There are two alien races, which are very different from each other, and a (semi-)conquered humanity. We are given many details about Jao society both on & off Earth, but not so much about humanity. On the one hand, I would have like to see a bit more about how normal (non-military) society had developed among the humans; but, on the other hand, the book is already a bit long anyway.I think, perhaps, a bit more about the humans and a bit less about the Governor would have been perfect (and would have served the same purpose). Another complaint is that there are too few female humans (we do get some great new ones in the sequel though) and a complete lack of representation for non-Americans.The Jao reminded me a little bit of the Martians in Double Star by Robert Heinlein.PLOT:It began well with Aille's arrival on Earth. We get to learn about things as he does. As stated above, I feel that the book was a bit too long. The build up to the whaling incident seemed especially stretched to me. Once they got to Salem, things moved much more rapidly.There is a solid & satisfactory ending to everything but the war against the Ekhat. I like the final scene before the epilogue. I really really dislike the epilogue and what it says about everything that happened & the motivations of certain people. Thankfully I'm good at pretending that such things "never happened."HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:--The old man they encounter in Salem (for some reason he reminded me of the MC in Up.)--Caitlin & Tamt post-Salem--General Stockwell & Colonel Wiley's conversationI COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Lots of swearing (but no F words that I remember) / Pretty much any scene with the Governor as POV / The violence committed by the EkhatOTHER CAUTIONS(?): There is a lot of violence -- There are lots of comments on the various mating practices of humans / Jao have "marriage groups" rather than couples (but are celibate except when mating with an assigned partner to produce children) / An engaged couple doesn't wait for their wedding / Certain Jao would like humans to help them change their biology so they can engage in uncommitted recreational sex. [This makes it sound like the book was full of sexual references, it wasn't; but I'm sensitive to such things.]NARRATION:Character voices differentiated = Yes, for main characters. / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good, especially his use of pauses. I don't know if he was pronouncing Jao words right or not, but they sounded great to me / Emoting = Good / Speed = Good. I listened on 1.25, my usual, but it might be a bit fast for a first time read.I especially liked the sound of his voice when he was doing all the exposition (i.e. non dialog). And I thought he did a wonderful job of conveying a sense of "accent" when the person was supposedly speaking in Jao but we were reading it in English.

  • Cam
    2019-04-27 02:35

    Traditional alien invasion story featuring an incompetent alien overlord from a species distracted by an interstellar war. The Jao seem capriciously violent to humans and their stories of needing to prepare for an invasion by their enemies propaganda at best. Their culture is a blend of Shogunate Japan, Roman Imperialism and a bit of the Mongol Empire to boot. Factions know the 20-year occupation needs to change because they actually do need humans and send a young prince-equivalent to upset the apple cart. He does simple seeming things like adding humans to his retinue and looking at human weapons as possible additions to their war fleets. The Governor grows increasingly unsteady as he sees the threat grow and eventually triggers his own demise. There's a lot about both societies and the nature of honor and duty. Characters include the collaborationist President's daughter, a sepoy army General, a Resistance agent, a tank commander turned engineer among the humans and Jao advisors, bodyguards, and veterans from the war of conquest. Of course, there's scheming at higher levels and more going on than the participants know. It's a series, after all! Enjoyable for sci-fi fans who enjoy Turtledove's invasion series or space opera with a military bent.

  • pamela miserendino
    2019-05-08 20:39

    EnjoyableEnjoyed the story and the characters that are pretty well developed along the way. Has an unexpected twist at the end

  • Barbara Ghylin
    2019-05-10 00:39

    I started this one a few days ago (it was free), now once again I am HOOKED!! I am also getting ready to retire from Wal-Mart so I will have more time to read. On to the next book in the series.Keep writing Eric Flint!

  • S.A. Gibson
    2019-05-02 23:38

    Have finished my third rereading of this book. This book and its sequel impressed me with the worldbuilding of the alien races. The story has at least three elements going for it. It has conflict between space faring races, strange but interesting cultural traits and habits of the races, and characters that I was intersted in. I was especially interested in Caitlin and Tully, and the minor houses of Jao. The authors introduce a great deal about the relationships of power and decisionmaking in the different cultures. I could see a school class spending a full semester using this book to explore alternative political power relations. The Ekhat would be the simplest. I really wanted to know what would happen to each character. Even minor characters are introduced with interesting stories.The relationship between the Jao and the humans of Earth is complicated. It may be a path from hate to love over the history of the relationship. Fear, distrust, trust and promise are building the relationship and guide the decisions made by the members of the Jao and humans, as they prepare to fight the Ekhat. The relationship between humans and the Jao culture is fraught with tension and the potential for misunderstanding. There are many terms to explain the cultural differences the races have, but I found them easy to follow because of the good writing.The world building is very impressive. There are three fully sentient races described in the story, the Humans, Jao, and Ekhat. Each has its strengths, weaknesses, oddities and traditions. I kept thinking that this reminds me of humans. The same 4 points could be made about me and all the people I know. This is a great way to relate the strange alien races to my own life and understanding.The greatest tension in the book, after the difficulty of the different races communicating successfully across their barriers of difference is the looming threat of the Ekhat battle ships that will destroy anyone they encounter that are not Ekhat. This dangerous thread impacts every other storyline throughout the book, while not distracting from the interesting stories being told. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy military sci-fi or cross-cultural fiction.I was intrigued by the faster than light technology used in the series. The frame point network is a unique addition to faster-than-light travel in science fiction and might possibly end up having some similarity to an actual technological solution to ftl, if humans ever achieve that.When I finished the sequel I was ready to plunge into the next step in the story. Alas, I learned K. D. Wentworth died in 2012 and the third book in the series was not finished. My best wishes go to her family and friends.

  • Jim
    2019-05-18 21:26

    From Publishers Weekly Can a proud and warlike people find common cause with their alien conquerors in the face of a greater danger? That's the question that military SF ace Flint (1633) and two-time Nebula Award finalist Wentworth (This Fair Land) ask in this thought-provoking far-future novel. After defeating the human species, some of the sea lion-like Jao consider finishing off the job through mass asteroid strikes. But the young Aille, newly arrived commander of Jao Ground Forces, seeks to win over the humans not only by showing them the threat posed to all intelligent life by the Ekhat, the elder race that raised the Jao to sentience, but also by trying to forge bonds between the vanquishers and the vanquished. The authors excel at describing how human and Jao customs clash, allowing the reader to discover along with the characters the core beliefs of each society and how these beliefs could be adjusted and harmonized with one another. The Ekhat presents a truly alien threat of the sort that could well merge two belligerent societies into one, not just out of fear but through ties of blood and honor. Building to an exhilarating conclusion, this book cries out for a sequel. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.From Booklist Flint and Wentworth drastically modify a venerable sf setup--alien occupiers of a conquered Earth can't understand what makes humans tick--much to the benefit of the book and the greater delight of readers. For one thing, on this Earth, insight and idiocy are equally distributed between the conquerors and conquered, with the invading Jao frequently realizing how much they have to learn and then setting out to learn it. Meanwhile, the humans are playing the same game, with those humans who are hostages to the Jao, or part of the Jao's sepoy army, preparing for war against a still more evil alien race, probably doing more good than the fragmented Resistance accomplishes. If the elaborate detail with which both sides are depicted sometimes slows the pacing, it redounds to Flint and Wentworth's world-building skills. And when Jao clans fall at odds on Earth, on a scale that threatens wholesale devastation, the pacing brisks up enough for anyone's taste. A possible series opener that stands well alone. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

  • Alex
    2019-05-06 23:20

    "The Course of Empire" is not bad but I don't think I would read this book again. On the other hand, I think I read it many years before... or something similar. Story: It has been 20 years since the human race was conquered by the Jao, an alien race that acts like the ancient Romans... not a lot of qualms about killing. Yet after 20 years of a strong hand they have not subdued the humans. It is time for another way... building associations. A young alien comes to Earth representing his clan of negotiators. He is successful because he listens and then incorporates the ideas of his opponents into a new way of doing things... a sort of jujitsu of negotiations. He must get Earth to help the Jao because there is another alien race coming to Earth... one that will make the Jao look like someone's friendly old uncle. And this new race wants everyone dead... including the Jao. It's a different way to tell a story, a soft way. In that sense it's very interesting. But the solution to the problem of fighting this new deadly alien race coming to Earth seems a little obvious... so obvious that the story actually has to explain how the Jao never thought of it before. It is a little weird. I sort of get it but the ending is a surprise. But because it was a surprise, the author had to withhold certain information, only hinting that something else was going on in the background. So... the book is OK. I got it free on the CD of a book I bought and it's worth reading. I've also read the sequel (Crucible of Empire) but that is less worth reading. The sequel ending is goofy and I doubt a third book will come out. The co-author, K.D. Wentworth, has passed away and Eric Flint is having success writing other novels. I just don't know why he would feel compelled to continue with this story line though the story is left open for another book.

  • Allan
    2019-04-25 19:26

    After 20 years under the rule of the conquering, alien Jao, Earth's resistance factions are still strong and still a thorn in Governor Oppuk krinnu ava Narvo's side. Oppuk would dearly love to cleanse this world of it's infestation of an overly-fecund indigenous species but he also knows that very fact may help in their war with the mysterious and reputedly genocidal Ekhat.The Ekhat have never been seen by humanity. Are they a Jao-invented boogie-man of whom terrible tales are meant to keep the slaves in line or are they a real threat and, as the Jao are saying, coming to our solar system soon? The Jao, genetically engineered by the Ekhat to fight their wars for them, operate like Roman legions or medieval Japanese clans; swift to conquer and swift to punish with little regard for any subject species but this timn it's different; humanity is different!The arrival of the young subcommandant Aille krinnu ava Pluthrak, from a clan the ruling Narvo have no love for sets everything in motion to bring the Jao, the local human government and even the resistance together in a game of politics and intrigue that doesn't reveal until the play is at an end.It's not often I give a book a five out of five but this one earned it. The plots within plots are Machiavellian and both Jao and Ekhat are beautifully alien to our way of life; the Jao with their complex and intricate body language and the Ekhat simply indescribable. The main player character's are decently fleshed out but not overly so and we get to know enough about them to keep the story going, with more revealed as time goes on. Happily looking forward to the next story in the series.

  • Bill
    2019-04-28 01:13

    "Conquered by the Jao twenty years ago, the Earth is shackled under alien tyranny - and threatened by the even more dangerous Ekhat, one of whose genocidal extermination fleets is coming to the solar system. The only chance for human survival is in the hands of an unusual pair of allies; a young Jao prince, newly arrived to Terra to assume his duties, and a young woman brought up amongst the Jao occupiers. But, as their tentative alliance takes shape, they are under pressure from all sides. A cruel Jao Governor on one side, determined to drown all opposition in blood; a reckless human resistance on the other, which is perfectly prepared to shed it. Added to the mix is the fact that only by adopting some portions of human technology and using human Sepoy troops can the Jao hope to defeat the oncoming Ekhat attack." (publisher's description)Better yet is the politics of the conqueror and vanquished and how those merge into a framework for survival and a potential Jao/human empire. A fun read!!

  • Ashley
    2019-04-25 19:30

    I started another book – The Course of Empire by Eric Flint & K. D. Wentworth, because I enjoyed his Boundary series, written with Ryk E. Spoor, and I needed something to dispel the disappointment from giving up on the last week's book.I really enjoyed The Course of Empire. It wasn't the page turner in the way that say a Jim Butcher novel grabs one, but I found myself drawn to pick up the book over the course of the week and read a few more pages (so much so that I spent time reading it when I should have been working on Ghost Dog). By the end of the novel I wanted to read the sequel, which my partner Susan had gone and ordered, while I was still ensconced in the story of the Jao occupation of Terra. There's also a third volume coming out, stalled for several years by the fact that K. D. Wentworth died, called Span of Empire with a new co-author – David Carrico – coming out in September of this year. It will be interesting to see how the change of co-author affects the telling of the story.

  • Leons1701
    2019-05-17 19:40

    Better than expected, honestly. I should have known better, Flint always seems to produce (leaving aside some failures in the Ring of Fire series that he apparently had little involvement with), but I was expecting another decent three star Space Opera, fun but nothing special. Instead, we get a reasonably thoughtful examination of interaction between humans and their alien conquerors. The Jao are pretty alien, though not nearly as alien as the ultimate enemy, the Ekhat, who are just plain weird and pretty much incomprehensible.Yes, things are rather neatly arranged by the worldbuilding so that the Jao need humans (and humans need the Jao) but exactly how that plays out is well done. The book is at times rather talky, but it's interestingly talky, with each conversation driving either the plot or revealing important details of worldbuilding or character. Very little filler despite a rather hefty page count.

  • Jim
    2019-05-05 01:24

    The setting of this story is a race that conquered earth twenty years ago. The bulk of the story is the infighting (politics between 'clans') and how the humans are affected and involved.Some criticism:--It carried on a little too long with the initial set of characters (it's over 650 pages). But then we got a change of pace--a short battle in space--then back to the politics, involving additional players.--A romance developed that was superfluous, and with the age difference, kind of gross.--Although the invading species attacked, it seemed anticlimactic and not enough attention to possible subsequent attacks.--The story was headed for four starts, it just dropped down toward the end, as it lost intensity.Having said that, it is engrossing (perhaps surprisingly so) and fast read. The character development was good. It would be easy to expand the story to a sequel (or series), and if a sequel was made, I'd read it.

  • C. Coleman
    2019-05-02 03:38

    The Course of Empire is one of if not the best sci-fi book I've ever read. That said, the first three pages had so may alien words without explanation, I almost stopped reading it. The more I read, the better it got. The scope of this book is phenomenal, not just in the spacial concepts but in the unique view of humanity from alien perception filtered through their concepts of life. The depth of character building, galactic relationships, novel approaches to alien lifeforms, and the weaving of human and alien cultures are off the scale. I'm still fascinated with the concepts in this book two days after finishing it. The result is my usual perception, sci-fi has humans vs aliens, has shifted to a much more integrated approach for the future.I do highly recommend this book to sci-fi / fantasy readers.

  • Clayton
    2019-05-04 19:39

    This is a a truly out-standing Space Opera with a little post-apocalypse thrown in. I knew it was going to be a good read on the very first page, the writing is that good. Characters are well fleshed-out, alien races are wonderfully done. If I had to pick a nit it would the rather low-tech quality of this imagined future. Minus that, plus a little more "deep thinking", and this would have been a candidate for five stars.This is the first of a series, but unlike many of this ilk, it is very long and thorough and one is absolutely left satisfied that the story has been delivered without cutting corners. The story-line also ends conclusively and naturally without an irritating cliff-hanger, and the book stands on it's own as a novel.That said, I rushed right out and bought the next in the series, a little expensive by my standards, but in the end well worth it. (See separate review.)

  • Ron
    2019-05-08 23:23

    This novel takes on the familiar SF trope of an Earth conquered by an alien race and the expected human resistance. However, in this case the enemy is shown not simply as a faceless monolithic adversary or a stereotypical tyrant. The reader gets acquainted with an alien society and their reasons for their treatment of other races. In the end there is shown a way to preserve human dignity and sense of pride without the generic blowing up of the alien mothership. The book tells mainly of the creation of an alliance and outlines the necessary steps for a better undertanding between alien cultures, unlike so many of the simplistic space opera novels which simply present a shiny hero, often with strategically placed flaws to make him or her more interesting, who in the end will always triumph against the unambiguously evil enemy forces.

  • Rena McGee
    2019-05-17 20:35

    The Course of Empire borrows from two staples of science fiction of the military SF persuasion. One is the story of Occupied Earth, where a successful invasion by aliens results in drastic social changes and desperate rebellion. The other story is the one where humans get used by the aliens as soldiers in a war with yet another group of aliens. (With a possible third from the storyline that goes “once upon a time there was an alien race used by another alien race as slave-soldiers, but then the soldiers rebelled and Stuff Happened.”)Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.

  • CJ
    2019-05-16 22:39

    There is a recent XKCD comic that inversely correlates the quality of a book with the number of words the author made up during the course of the book. This book contains many made up words that I mostly skipped over, as they didn't really add too much to the book, imo. This is a take on "aliens invade Earth, humans bravely resist" but there is the added aspect that there may or may not be another threat to them both. Reminded me quite a lot of Anne McCaffrey's "Freedom's X" series, with less sex, less personality, and many fewer female characters. I can really only think of one - a virginal, high-status, beautiful victim.

  • Debra
    2019-05-21 22:20

    Just read this for 5th time. It begins with a new subcommandant arriving on earth to prepare the ground forces for a war with enemy aliens. The subcommandant is himself a member of the race of aliens who conquered earth 20 years ago. Earth is still resisting, its people don't believe in the imminent danger and this new leader tries to make them understand. The fascination is that both alien races are fascinating and the ones on earth at first seem just too strange but slowly cultures that clashed start to mesh. Strategy, politics, space and earth battles, even a little romance. I find it compelling.

  • bkwurm
    2019-05-12 03:27

    This started off slow and somewhat dull and I was tempted, to just stop reading. However, I persevered and was rewarded as the story picked up. The aliens were interesting but I would have liked more background on how they came to be what they were, given their origins.At least the authors were not tempted to go with the typical humans overthrow alien conquerors despite inferior technology by using superior human ingenuity route. My only complaint? The cause that drove the Navro into madness surely should have been diagnosed by his fellows. It just seemed anomalous.

  • Shing Shang13
    2019-04-24 00:17

    I really liked this book. I've been reading a lot of romantic sci-fi trash lately (guilty pleasure) and I have to say that it was really nice to sink my teeth into something with a bit more substance. Great character development of both the human and alien characters (slightly reminiscent of C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner series)coupled with a very well thought out story line. My dad is the person that spurred on my love for sci-fi at a young age and I can't wait to recommend this one to him. I've already uploaded the sequel, The Crucible of Empire, and look forward to starting it tonight.

  • Doreen
    2019-05-20 23:35

    Earth has been conquered by an alien force. Twenty years have passed, and the alien governor is becoming more and more irrational and violent. The resistance is fragmented and merely provokes reprisals. But there is a worse threat than the Jao coming Earth's way. It will need co-operation between the two to deal with that.This is a cracking good story, as you would expect from Flint. The human characters are well-rounded, but he also manages to get under the skin of the aliens, so we can see ourselves through their eyes.

  • volven
    2019-05-10 22:11

    Moc dobře napsaná sci-fi, sice patrně trochu inspirovaná Světoválečnou sérií Harryho Turtledovea, ale mnohem lépe napsaná a asi i o dost uvěřitelnější (i když na představu dělostřeleckého útoku z tanků přivařených k bývalé ponorce ve fotosféře Slunce si ještě budu muset zvyknout).Chcete-li ale získat představu, jak se pozemské zvyklosti mohou jevit arogantním dobyvatelům z vesmíru a jak totálně cizí a nesrozumitelné civilizace by se mohli rozhodnout nás vyhladit, tahle knížka vás určitě zaujme.

  • Nicholas
    2019-05-06 20:17

    Pretty okay book, with some interesting ideas in it. Up until the last quarter or so, when it devolves into sheer boredom and predictability. It suffers from a flaw that many works suffer from: a poorly constructed lead female character who is supposed to be strong, but. . . isn't. Said character is then shoe-horned into a love story in the end. The book also pounds and pounds the "Humans are special" idea. I'd like to see some different authors write some stories int he setting, akin to Thieves' World, because the setting is interesting.

  • Ben Rieger
    2019-05-01 19:39

    This was a bit more YA than I usually read but it was entertaining, if too long. There weren't any huge surprises, the plot wasn't complex, and it was too long, but I found the Ekhat an imaginative species in terms of their "culture" as the reader sees it. I'd say the overall world building was just deep enough to pass as a good scifi read, but I didn't feel super immersed.Random: I found it odd that near the end of the book the authors suddenly got very specific about skin color in the case of some people. That felt very shoehorned.