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The Desert of Stars (The Human Reach Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

John Lumpkin , Winchell Chung
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

This is the second book of the Human Reach science fiction series. The first book, Through Struggle, the Stars, is available on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.

At the edge of the desert...

In 2141, humanity has attained the stars, but some nations have found their dreams of interstellar empire thwarted, and they have gone to war to ensure their futures beyond the Solar System.

In this thrilling sequel to Through Struggle, the Stars, U.S. Space Force Lieutenant Neil Mercer is sent to a strategic independent colony on the planet of Entente to curry favor with the repressive ruling government. On Earth, Neil's mentor, NSS operative Jim Donovan, seeks to bring in the powerful neutral states of India, Russia and Europa into the war on the allied side, first through diplomacy, and then through ... other means. Meanwhile, Neil's old friend, space defense artilleryman Rand Castillo, assumes a position of leadership among the guerrillas fighting in the occupied American continent on the planet Kuan Yin.

Initially light-years apart, their three stories will ultimately intertwine in a confrontation that will determine the fate of a planet, and perhaps their own fates, as well.

A novel of 110,000 words.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John J. Lumpkin, the author of Through Struggle, the Stars, was born in 1973 in San Antonio, Texas, and educated at Texas Christian University, and, lately, the University of Colorado at Boulder. A former military affairs and national security reporter for the Albuquerque Journal and the Associated Press, his experience includes covering 9-11, walking the halls of CIA headquarters, and racing through Baghdad and Kabul in military convoys. He may also be the only person who has had a drink with both Donald Rumsfeld and Steve-O from Jackass (but, to be clear, not at the same time). Now a writer and teacher, he lives outside of Boulder, Colorado.

Product Details

  • File Size: 627 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: John J. Lumpkin; 1 edition (March 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BWF56GA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,152 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait! March 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Desert of Stars is John Lumpkin's second book, a fairly close sequel to his freshman effort, Through Struggle, The Stars. After I read and favorably reviewed Through Struggle, I eagerly awaited Desert, hoping it was as good as the original. It is.

This book is set in the year 2141. Humanity, after having seen an asteroid smash into the Indian Ocean, has decided to establish colonies in space. Thanks to a Japanese scientist, they have developed a means of faster-than-light travel, and used it to establish a bewildering array of colonies on nearby star systems. Some colonies are independent; most are controlled by an Earth nation or group of nations.

As we find out very early in The Desert of Stars, a number stars that should have had habitable planets don't, thus creating the titular desert. Since FTL travel requires going from star to star, this is a real problem, and will put the brakes on the expansion of some colonial empires but not others. A war breaks out.

Lumpkin's war is not, however, the mad-dash affairs of Star Trek or Star Wars. His spaceships obey the laws of physics, taking weeks to cross a solar system. There are no force fields, no visible lasers, and in general scientific accuracy is maintained. This still results in a very entertaining book, largely because Lumpkin's characters are believable and he seems to understand both militaries and history. Much of the story is driven by the friendships developed by these characters during this war.

In Lumpkin's previous book, I dinged him for not including a number of nations, such as India, in the order of battle. Here, Lumpkin resolves that complaint, making India and Russia, two notable nations left out, key parts of the plot.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In 130 Years, People Are Still Imperfect March 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Through Struggle, The Stars was one of my favorite books of the past five years, so it was with great excitement I read The Desert of Stars. I wasn't disappointed.

Many of the characters from the first book return, along with the complex geo(stellar?)politics and murky ethical choices. Again, the author's attention to detail is shocking; I can hardly imagine the hours spent researching The Human Reach. Everything from the number of megawatts required for a laser shot through atmosphere, to the amount of hydrogen a ship burns during combat, to the geology of alien planets and its effect on imported Earth species is covered here. This may sound tedious, but the science is never labored and enhances the depth and tension of the story.

The tone of The Desert of Stars surprised me, taking the series in a slightly darker direction. Characters die (this is war, after all) and make choices that affect the lives of thousands, often in negative ways. War exhaustion, something many books capture imperfectly if at all, plays an important part in this story, with some character's resolve slipping after years of combat. The characters feel real, not the steely eyed superheroes of so many books (a steely eyed hero pops up now and again, but they tend to get people killed pursuing idealistic crusades).

If you haven't already, invest the money and read The Desert of Stars (after Through Struggle, The Stars, of course). You won't regret it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Space Drama March 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Having just finished "The Desert of Stars" in one sitting, I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series. John Lumpkin has delivered another gripping space drama, with plenty of realistic space combat, multidimensional flawed characters, and espionage intrigue. If you like space opera, with a little more emphasis on the space and not the opera, this should be an enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Story Telling March 29, 2013
By Sparta
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A book full of space and ground combat, the plot is detailed but character driven.
John Lumpkin has delivered another wonderful military drama, with lots of death and destruction, Machiavellian political twists, and espionage intrigue. If you like military space opera this will be an enjoyable read for you. I honestly love an author that is daring enough to kill of lots of characters in a manner that shows the sad loss and brutality of war. Also, the author's handling of the nature of the central figures impressed me. You feel and understand deep character flaws and their affects on others and the broader impact to outcomes. Other plot aspects concerning heroic events not being acknowledge nor key characters being "honored" or awarded ring true and add to the acceptance of the reality of this science fiction.

Yes I finished "The Desert of Stars" in one day. I'm really sad the next book in the series is not out. Buy the book but make sure you read the first one in the series before hand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like space opera March 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Full disclaimer: I came to the series via a scifi mailing list. After having many lengthy conversations with the author concerning the first novel, I was invited to become a pre-reader for the second. I think it's a good read.

The short description of the series was space opera told with as much attention to realism and plausibility as possible. The first novel, Through Struggle, the Stars, was a great first novel. Lumpkin set himself several goals:
1) Plausible mid-future space opera sticking to plausible technology
2) Plausible geo-political developments from the current era that could devolve into, as von Clausewitz would say, politics by other means.
3) Plausible characters whose eyes we will witness the grand events through.

Lumpkin delivers on all that. This book is a direct continuation of the previous novel's storyline. He maintains the quality of the first novel without any slip-ups. I only had one complaint from the previous novel, that the need to have our POV character near the biggest events verged on harming the plausible realism of the rest of the story, verging into action movie territory. I say verge rather than plunge because I've read biographical accounts of real military officers attested to and confirmed by historians that I wouldn't believe if presented in fiction. No such quibbles in this book.

The conflict presented here is complex. There aren't any square-jawed heroes, mustache-twirling villains, cartoonish parodies of special interest groups the author has a grudge against, polemics or pontificating. The conflict here feels like real history: muddy, complex, and defying comprehension even by the historians who study it. Even if you don't agree with the assumptions the author made in his world-building, you can't say he didn't think it through. Sadly, that cannot be said for a great many space operas.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read with interesting characters
I began reading the series as a way to support the authors other ventures, when he talked about his books on a forum. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Erik Jensen
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading Twice
Worthy sequel to the first novel. Rich with so much authentic hard scientific detail that you'll hardly notice the few magic tech items lying around. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ecualegacy
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done
Well written and compelling story, but the viewpoint jumped a little too often for my taste, not quite as good as the first . Definitely worth the read.
Published 10 months ago by Nathan Richey
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written. Could use a bit more refinement ...
Very well written. Could use a bit more refinement in character building and interaction.
The universe and the technology are used very well to construct the strategic and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Roshan Abraham
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting combo
Somewhat hard si-fy with the future techs and space travel, also has military aspects that crossover into 'spy land'
Found the author thru his Mod work of X-com, glad I did.
Published 12 months ago by steve r warner
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Hard-Sience Book That Needs More Love
The second book in the "Human Reach" series, "The Desert of Stars" is a well-written, well-produced novel with enough hard science to make you feel comfortable, but... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jonathan Souza
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great addition to the series
Speculative, military hard sci-do at its finest! I liked the balanced description of space and ground warfare. Can't wait until the next one.
Published 13 months ago by Troy M Cole
5.0 out of 5 stars Character, Battle and Geopolitics
Lumpkin's second book in his Human Reach trilogy builds on the strengths of its predecessor. It combines strong characters with some of the best battle descriptions I've read... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Timothy K. Bovee
5.0 out of 5 stars Master and Commander in Space
I agree with the other positive reviews of both of these books. As a fan of Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander books, I really appreciate how Lumpkin very plausibly translates... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Stephen L. Ripley
3.0 out of 5 stars can't remember anything about this
unfortuantely, in order to state my opoinion i am forced to write this gibberish to the required length. two more words
Published 19 months ago by bujinin
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More About the Author

John J. Lumpkin was born in 1973 in San Antonio, Texas, and educated at Texas Christian University, and lately at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A former national security reporter for the Associated Press, his experience includes covering 9-11, walking the halls of CIA headquarters, and racing through Baghdad and Kabul in military convoys. He may also be the only person who has had a drink with both Donald Rumsfeld and Steve-O from Jackass (but, to be clear, not at the same time). Now a writer and teacher, he lives outside of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife Alice, their daughter Charlotte and son Theo. He is working on the sequel to Through Struggle, the Stars, and The Desert of Stars, tentatively titled The Passage of Stars.
His website is www.thehumanreach.net.

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