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Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns - Book #1 Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2003

3.2 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
Book 1 of 8 in the Saga of Seven Suns Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this stellar launch of a new series, bestseller Anderson (Dune spinoffs with Brian Herbert; X-Files and Star Wars books) delivers action, engaging characters and credible fantastic worlds in spades or ekti, the fuel vital for spaceships in the year 2427. The Terran Hanseatic League, in a heady rush of manifest destiny, turns Oncier, a huge gas planet, into a sun so its four moons can be used for colonization. In the process, the Terrans disturb the ancient but dwindling Ildirans, their uneasy allies, whose leader, the Mage-Imperator, suspects that Terrans are far too eager to take over the spiral arm. Still worse, by inadvertently destroying Oncier's hitherto unknown colonists, the powerful hydrogues, the conversion of Oncier sets off a catastrophic conflict that threatens the existence of all Terrans and Ildirans. The Earth Defense Forces of the Terran Hanseatic League, the Worldtrees and Green Priests of Theroc, the gypsy Roamers who mine ekti all must unite with the Ildirans to fight the alien menace. Book one sizzles with a fast-moving plot woven tightly with vivid characterizations: the space cowboys Jess, Ross and Tasia Tamblyn; the exotic Ildirans; the grotesque Mage-Imperator and his handsome Prime Designate son, Jora'h; Beneto Theron, his clan and the bewitching Nira Khali; the appealing and not-so-appealing humans, Raymond/Peter and Chairman Basil Wenceslas; and many others, all conspiring to make this fascinating future epic one not to be missed.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An experiment in converting a gas giant into a star with the potential for transforming the former planet's moons into environments suitable for human colonies awakens a heretofore hidden civilization and plunges the galaxy into a war for the survival of humanity. The latest novel by the author of Star Wars: Darksaber and the coauthor (with Brian Herbert) of Dune: House Atreides launches a dynamic space opera featuring political intrigue and intense personal drama. Anderson's skill in delivering taut action scenes and creating well-rounded human and alien characters adds depth and variety to a series opener that belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Saga of Seven Suns (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect; Reprint edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446610577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446610575
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,292,376 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I didn't really start to enjoy this book until I was about halfway through. Anderson starts off by introducing you to ALL the characters immediately, and there's a good number of them. I think this is mainly because he's trying to set up a whole elaborate universe, and wants to set down all the rules and history immediately, rather than exposing you to them as it becomes necessary. So it's a bit confusing at first. He does start bringing their plot lines together around the midpoint, and as I mentioned, that made it more interesting and coherent. However, I never really identified or personally cared for any of the characters. Anderson never sold me on any of them.
Also, it should be noted that this is indeed the first book of a series, and it can NOT stand on it's own. He leaves you with cliffhangers, so expect to read the sequel(s?) also.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love Space Opera. It is my favorite genre within Science Fiction. Peter Hamilton, David Brin, David Weber and Iain Banks are my favorite Space Opera masters. I love a big story, so I went ahead and read this whole series. But as I got closer and closer to the end of the final book the horrifically bad plotting just got worse and worse and I actually started to lose respect for myself as an intelligent reader. I will give you three examples of Anderson's ridiculousness and let you decide for yourself.

A fundamental constraint of Space Opera stories is the question of interstellar travel: how is it accomplished? how long does it take? The answers to these questions are critical to the issues of trade and warfare within the fictional universe. Anderson does not answer the question - sometimes traveling from star to star seems to take effectively zero time, other times travel time seems extended and slow. He writes about an interstellar drive and in-system drives without indicating when or how they are used. Sometimes ships seem to appear immediately above their destination planet without any need to travel through the system on a slower drive, other times it takes two hours to travel from Earth to the Moon. Multiple fleets, using different technologies, leaving from far flung destinations, all arrive more or less simultaneously for multi-sided battles on many different occasions. Space flight happens however Anderson needs it to happen for any given scene.

Anderson also has failed to grasp the basic concept of space being vast and empty.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My main problem with this book is in the behaviour and thought processes of the main characters. These are people who are supposed to be highly intelligent leaders of worlds and yet who act and react with child-like simplicity. For instance, while it takes the reader mere paragraphs to realize what our protagonists have done to invoke the wrath of the mysterious race of "hydrogues", it takes the characters, in what can only be termed a truly world-class exhibition of monumental stupidity, many chapters to come to the same realization. In fact, said hydrogues have to explicitly spell it out for them. And this is representative of the whole book. Another example: I love how he has characters repeatedly proclaiming their desire to fight the enemy and, when they do, running for the hills when they realize, YET AGAIN, that they don't stand a chance against this invincible foe. Just silly silliness.

And clearly Anderson has absolutely no understanding of economics and geopolitics. The way that the job of harvesting the most valuable resource in the universe ("ekti") is delegated to others because the powers that be just can't be bothered to do the dirty work is simply inconceivable. If only our oil-based world was like that!

And finally, the pièce de résistance. I read my first book when I was six years old. A science fiction story complete with beautifully drawn full-colour art that I still remember fondly to this day. In fact, this is the book that started my life-long love affair with science fiction. I am now in my mid-fifties and have read many science fiction books over the intervening years, both good and bad. But in reading all those books, I have never had a reaction like the one I experienced while reading a certain passage in this book.
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4 Comments 39 of 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not a literary student so I'll try to explain my thoughts in my own words, though I'm sure that someone trained to review books would do a better job.

Dialogue: The dialogue is simplistic and open to the point of being clunky.

Story flow: The story flow lacks a sense of depth and background.. for example take the following excerpt:


" A spike-studded warglobe the size of a small asteroid streaked into the solar system and entered Earth orbit as fast as the distant-early-warning sensors could respond. Before the EDF could rally its troops, the gigantic diamond-hulled sphere disgorged a much smaller globe, like a droplet of dew, that made its way directly to the Hansa capital "

I feel no excitement when I read such a critical paragraph. Nothing really jumps up and makes me gasp with wonder. There is no presence within the words. There is no sense of majesty to a pivotal moment in the story. There is no personality behind the provided facts. WHO saw the warglobe first? Was it a midshipman on a battle cruiser? A sensor technician? How did they feel? Was there horror? Excitement? How crappy are earth's sensors that a huge enemy warvessel can just waltz in without anything or anyone interposing itself? Why not talk about Earth's lack of preparedness? Where is the PERSONAL touch to the paragraph that will make it dear and exciting to me, the reader?

Now there are other paragraphs following the one I posted that continue this lack of depth and background information. Thus, I don't feel a flow in the story just a statement of facts, like something I would find when reading an instruction manual for some device or another. IE: 1. Warglobe come. 2. Warglove send little warglove 3. Little warglobe go to Hansa capital.

So there we go, That's my big beef with the entire book. I didn't put any dialogues in there but they are equally lacking in depths. Childish even.
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