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Enemies & Allies: A Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anderson's latest is a hokey, contrived imagining of the first meeting between Batman and Superman, set during the thick of the cold war and hobbled by flat characters and flatter dialogue (My source was murdered shortly after she spoke with me. That tells me that Luthor must not have wanted her talking). The two superheroes are initially introduced when Clark Kent interviews Bruce Wayne for a feature in the Daily Planet, and their alter egos cross paths again as Batman and Superman are drawn into Lex Luthor's dastardly scheme for world domination. (It involves the Soviets and Death-ray transmitters.) To stop it, Batman and Superman embark on a ludicrous globe-trotting mission that's equal parts camp and Forrest Gump. A schlocky mediocrity for die-hard fans only. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Positioning all the superpowered heroics squarely between the era’s futuristic optimism and postwar paranoia, this is a refreshing diversion from the grimness of The Dark Knight or the tedious Superman Returns. Injects a welcome dose of retro exuberance into the capes-and-tights routine. (Kirkus Reviews)

“Anderson keeps us guessing throughout with cleverplot twists and some intriguing alternate cold war history.” (Booklist)

“The X-Files is a true masterpiece. There’s no more challenging series on television, and as a bonus, it’s also brainy fun.” (Los Angeles Times)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061662550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061662553
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson has written more than 125 books, including 52 national or international bestsellers. He has over 23 million books in print worldwide in thirty languages. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, Shamus Award, and Silver Falchion Award, and has won the SFX Readers' Choice Award, Golden Duck Award, Scribe Award, and New York Times Notable Book; in 2012 at San Diego Comic Con he received the Faust Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement.

He has written numerous bestselling and critically acclaimed novels in the Dune universe with Brian Herbert, as well as Star Wars and X-Files novels. In his original work, he is best known for his Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita trilogy, the Dan Shamble, Zombie PI series, and Clockwork Angels: The Novel with Neil Peart. Find out more about Kevin J. Anderson at wordfire.com.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Nichols VINE VOICE on April 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Once in a while I like to read something out of my comfort zone. This month Kevin J Anderson was good enough to supply me with a book way, way out of my comfort zone. I received a copy of his soon to be released Enemies & Allies, a novel in which The Dark Knight meets The Man of Steel. I have never read a Graphic novel nor have I read a comic book since grade school, but being a big fan of Batman I was delighted to have a chance to read this book.

Anderson sets his story in the 1950's, which adds to the book's charm and character. The plot centers on the two super heroes learning to trust each other in order to stop evil Lex Luthor and a General in Stalin's Russia. I personally liked Anderson's Cold War inclusion, it made the plot believable. Anderson moved the story right along, there never seemed to be a point where the plot dragged.

Though the book Enemies & Allies is not advertized as a young adult novel, I did wonder more than once, if this book was written for 11 year old male readers. The text can be overly simplistic, and the dialog seems to be lifted from older comic books. My 17 year old son read the book the same week as I and found though he liked it, he too wondered what age level Anderson was going for.

The most intriguing aspect of Anderson's book is the development if Batman. Though some of the back story seems to be lifted from the movie Batman Begins, I found Anderson's explanation of why Batman does what he does satisfying. I can not say the same for Anderson's Superman; here Superman comes across as slightly arrogant. The first time we read about Superman saving people Anderson writes "Although it was difficult to show modesty after carrying a giant passenger ship across the sky, the Kents' had taught him to be humble".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on December 28, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
While not as ambitious and sure-footed as his novel about Superman's home planet, "The Last Days of Krypton", Kevin Anderson's "Enemies & Allies" is a fun little read about Superman and Batman taking on Lex Luthor in the 1950's. And "fun" is the key word here: encompassing the arms race, the flying saucer craze, a giant Kryptonite meteor, evil Soviet generals, mutant monsters, a megalomanical plan for world domination, and a host of other real-world and fantastical elements, the book's aim is to emulate classic comic-book story telling at its best. And it largely succeeds.

While "Enemies & Allies" might have been a bit more fun if Superman and Batman had established their famous alliance much earlier in the book, I recognize that this is basically Kevin Anderson's take on the origin of that fabled team. So he needed to show all the steps: how these very different personalities initially distrusted one another; then reluctantly worked together on an occasion or two; and, finally, established mutual trust and cameraderie. So, even though I was five steps ahead of these characters and knew that they'd eventually become friends and allies, it was still fun to see the individual steps occur.

Pop culture fans will also enjoy Mr. Anderson's little nods to previous Batman and Superman stories in other media. For instance, Superman's crystal-shard Fortress of Solitude is right out of the 1978 Richard Donner movie, and Batman actually uses the famous preparing-the-Batmobile spiel from the character's 1960's TV series: "Turbines to power! Atomic batteries to speed!" It's also kind of neat that Bruce Wayne enjoys Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, and uses many of Fleming's ideas in the gadgets he constructs.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bill Weinberger on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Enemies and Allies sets forth a comic book thriller set in the early 1950s, creating a weird time frame with both Batman and Superman just a couple of years into their superhero gigs (even though both origins are one or two decades earlier, respectively). They're both still figuring out how to make their own lives work when they both stumble upon a plot involving Lex Luthor, a rogue Communist general, Area 51, unbelievably advanced technology, and, they each believe, the other vigilante. This makes them enemies. Until they, inevitably, become allies.

This is a cool setup. And I wanted it to work. There are some nice mid-century touches. The novel format should allow us a bit deeper into each man's head than a comic usually does. I liked the chance to play amateur psychologist with these guys.

But the writing gets in the way, and so does the plot. There are huge sections where the author seems to have forgotten the old writing chestnut: show, don't tell. He explains everything. Sometimes before something happens. Sometimes without giving a plausible chain of events. Things just happen. This managed to ruin any chance I had of enjoying the formulaic plot, which seemed borrowed from any number of sources, including Watchmen.

With interesting storytelling, I could have easily lost myself in the hackneyed plot and allowed it to unfold. Instead, I found myself almost screaming, just tell the story, and then skipping over whole sections where I was pretty sure I knew what was going on (especially the pointless Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson side plots). Anderson must be a better writer than this, otherwise they wouldn't keep letting him into major franchises like Dune, Star Wars, and Star Trek.
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