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A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War Series #1) Mass Market Paperback – June 15, 2006

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books (June 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416533214
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416533214
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,084,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Michael O'Shea, a fireplug of an iron-pumping ex-soldier, leaves game design behind to train and then lead power-armored infantry in a merciless battle against the equally merciless, centauroid Posleen for the sake of Earth's allies. Several subplots show Ringo's fondness for special ops types and marines, and his experience as a paratrooper shows in the way he handles military small-group politics and disciplinary problems. The subplots point up the potential grimness of Earth finding itself under siege, if not actually under assault. (Don't worry, that will probably come; this book has series written between all the lines.) The interstellar skulduggery is thick, and the final action sequence, occupying a third of the book, juxtaposes power armor, aliens, lasers, and leopard tanks, and is practically impossible not to read in one sitting. An exceedingly impressive first novel is what we have here. Standard military sf based on a standard premise--humans as the desperately needed warrior allies of alien pacifists--it may be, but it is executed with skill, verve, and wit. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Ringo is author of the New York Times best-selling Legacy of Aldenata (Posleen War) series, which so far includes A Hymn Before Battle and nine sequels, the technothriller series starting with Ghost, a dark fantasy titled Princess of Wands, and many other novels for Baen. A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, Ringo brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his fiction. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

I'm a professional author of... Well, I used to say "science fiction." Then came There Will Be Dragons, which is sf with a distinct fantasy twist. Then came Ghost which is techno-thriller crossed with porn. Then came Princess of Wands, a Christian soccer mom battling demons through the power of God. Who knows what's next? Children's books? (I've actually got that one mapped out. You see, there's this girl who is raised by dolphins... You think I'm joking, don't you?)

Customer Reviews

I liked this book and look forward to reading more in the series.
Andy Brim
If you enjoy hard military science fiction and you like your books to contain plenty of Kipling references, this is a must read.
Eric Beyle
This book has some very good premises, and some interesting plot lines.
J. Altland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Kidd on October 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's books like this that make me a loyal Baen Books reader.
John Ringo has crafted a universe in which some aliens, themselves incapable of violence or, apparently, military strategy, have decided to use humans as literal "army ants" to destroy some other aliens who have been taking their worlds away from them one by one. And, of course, once the job is done and we're no longer needed...
Of course humanity has long had a history of wriggling out of binds and generally playing merry hell with expectations made of it, and in this book, we are no different. I won't spoil the fun, but it's interesting seeing Ringo deal simultaneously with High Strategy and Low Tactics at the same time, while giving us characters we can care about and follow around as they attempt to keep humanity alive.
This is the first book in what promises to be a series well worth following. The ending ties up the current set of loose ends very neatly, but I'm already salivating in anticipation of the sequel, which will be out in April, 2001, and I've already bought my "webscription" copy.
Read it and enjoy. Me, I'm going out to get a copy as a gift for my brother, and watch the smile on his face.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John C. Snider on March 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In the very near future, humanity receives good news and bad news. The good news is that Earth has finally been contacted by a superior alien society - and they're friendly. The bad news is, the friendlies are on the losing end of an interstellar war with an implacable enemy - and Earth is directly in the line of fire!
How would mankind adjust to the double shock of knowing that "we are not alone" and the fact that the Earth will soon be ground zero in a seemingly hopeless battle? More specifically, how would the military men and women on the front lines deal with such daunting responsibility? This is the premise of freshman author John Ringo's novel A Hymn before Battle - the first in a proposed trilogy to be published by Baen Books.
Ringo, an Army veteran and admitted fan of such suspense writers as W.E.B. Griffin and Tom Clancy, plunges us into the world of the grunts - the men and women of our armed forces who do all the dirty work, and who must live (or die) with the consequences of incompetent command. This book is tech-heavy and combat-detailed - fellow veterans and fans of the military SF which is Baen's stock-in-trade should love this book. Foul-mouthed, tough and quirky, Ringo's good guys are forced to deal with alien technologies they'd never dreamed of, face foes that make previous human adversaries look like prom dates, and work around short-sighted bureaucrats pursuing personal agendas. In the background, Earth's new allies (a motley collection of intelligent species) are enigmatic and conniving - and it remains to be seen if humanity can trust them in the long run!
Despite a few warts, A Hymn before Battle is a fine first effort and John Ringo a good fit with Baen's stable of writers. With additional experience (and under the tutelage of accomplished SF author David Weber, with whom he is currently writing another trilogy), John Ringo will very likely rise to the top of his game.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John C. Silva on October 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading this in pieces since it was available online at Baen. Take a little Heinlein, a little Clancy, mix in the imagination of this great new author and you have one of the best new SF books to come along in years. A stunningly realistic book that shows what would happen if today's soldiers wer forced to fight tomorrows war. Ringo accurately portrays the United States military, especially the Airborne warriors and writes a story that is amazingly real.
Read this book and then read it again so you catch all of the action. I sincerely hope that there is more to come from John Ringo.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Deann Allen on September 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There's a new name on my "must buy" list, John Ringo. Not many authors make it, and only two write military fiction -- Clancy and Bujold. As for the rest, Ringo just left them in his dust!
You want a gripping storyline? It's here. You like characters so real, you could be standing in their skins? You got 'em. You're looking for sheer storytelling power that grabs your mind and heart and will not let you go? Be prepared to sign up for the duration.
Learn a new definition of "long-range patrol." Know the frustration of dealing with higher-ups who care more about scoring points with the brass than about fighting the battles... or keeping their troops alive. Live the fear and confusion of broken comms, fractured chains of command, desperately depleted supplies, and an unstoppable enemy coming straight down your throat. Look out over shattered rubble that used to be a city and wonder if your hometown will be next. Knowing it will be.
This is life and death, glory and shame. This is combat as I've seldom seen it portrayed, with the human spirit stripped down to the bare essentials where it, alone, can say whether to go on or lay down and die.
Ringo said he wrote this for soldiers. As a veteran, myself, I say, "Thank you, John. You did us proud."
So move over, Clancy. Edge over a bit, Bujold. John Ringo deserves to share that spotlight. I can hardly wait for the next installment from this incredibly talented storyteller.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on November 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps the most difficult obstacle that a Military Fiction book must face is the sense of realism. This is a still more daunting task when you are presenting a military story in a Science Fiction milieu. For a first time writer this is often an impossible task. Many of the well-known authors in Military Fiction are technically competent, but often it is in their later novels that they finally show character development. In Military Science Fiction the list of authors who are technically competent as well as who posses the ability to create characters that one cares for is vanishing small.
This is not the case with John Ringo and "A Hymn Before Battle". The fact that the reader immediately feels the protagonist is "real", carries this book over the initial first time writer jitters. Lt. Michael O'Neal comes to life in this book. By the time you finish you will be able to tell a police sketch artist how to draw him.
Furthermore, the reader will also be able to feel that they care about Mike O'Neal's wife and children, the members of his scratch platoon, and even a Medevac pilot who makes a brief appearance.
To this Ringo adds military reality. Despite the super suits that the soldiers wear, lack of sleep becomes an enemy as well. As anyone who has served in a combat arm will attest, this is a very real threat. Extended combat operations take their toll on soldiers both physically and mentally. In real life and in this book.
That is the key to this book. All of the action that one expects, plus the added personal touches that makes a book both realistic and memorable. Those who think that Military Science Fiction novels are merely exploding spaceships; would be well advised to read this book. It develops into a real page-turner that leaves you ready for more of Lt. Michael L O'Neal.
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