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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451638043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451638042
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Flint is a modern master of alternate history fiction, with over three million books in print.  He’s the author/creator of the New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. With David Drake he has written six popular novels in the Belasarius alternate Roman history series, and with David Weber collaborated on 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War.  Flint was for many years a labor union activist. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

 K. D. Wentworth is author of seven novels, including Black on Black and Stars over Stars for Baen, and more than fifty short stories, which appeared in such magazines as Fantasy & Science Fiction, Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, and others. Wentworth is a winner in the Writers of the Future contest, and has been a Nebula Award finalist twice. She lives with her husband in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

More About the Author

Eric Flint is the co-author of three New York Times best sellers in his Ring of Fire alternate history series. His first novel for Baen, Mother of Demons, was picked by Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His 1632, which launched the Ring of Fire series, won widespread critical praise, as from Publishers Weekly, which called him an SF author of particular note, one who can entertain and edify in equal, and major, measure. A longtime labor union activist with a Masters Degree in history, he currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife Lucille.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Character interactions & space combat keep the story interesting and alive.
Amazon Customer
A fine military-style thriller evolves, perfect for libraries strong in political and military science fiction.
Midwest Book Review
Flint is amazing at presenting a new species with all its background and traditions and ideals.
May Belle Head

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By G. Mackenzie on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always enjoyed almost all of the books by the two authors, the prequel to this work done jointly by Flint & Wentworth and their other works written apart. If you enjoyed Course of Empire, you'll enjoy this book. This is not a stand-alone work, the reader will really have to have read the first book in this series. On it's on merits, I think this is not as bang-up fun as the first book, and I have some quibbles on how successfully the integration of former-combative species of the Jao and Humans is presented after only a passage of 2 years from the events of Course of Empire. Worse, there is a minor character, a female Jao engineer, Kaln, seems to be wildly inconsistent with how the Jao are presented as a whole.

Minor quibbles, a fun overnight read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Course of Empire introduced us to the Jao conquerors of Earth and the exterminating giant arachnid-like race called the Ekhat. Now, in The Crucible Of Empire, it is two years after the events of the first novel, and the Jao/human taif (a kochan, or clan, in formation) is gingerly finding its feet. The Ekhat menace still looms large, however. Not only has it recently destroyed spaceships of one of the less prosperous Jao kochan, the Krant, but it may be readying for the final annihilation of a another race hiding in the same nebula. So Terra Governor Aille and Preceptor Ronz decide that a newly constructed starship of unprecedented proportions named Lexington will use the Frame Network to jump through a star there and reconnoiter. Manned by both Jao and humans, the Lexington must not only fight a battle outnumbered, but also deal with First Contact.

Many of the characters in the first novel play important roles in this sequel as the native earthlings and their Jao occupiers learn to work together and tolerate, or perhaps even appreciate each other's habits and tendencies. But juggling their alliance becomes more complicated when a third sentient people is tossed into the mix, particularly since the Jao's historical experience with these sentient beings resulted in the latters' near extinction. How will the relatively small colony of aliens greet the Jao and the humans? Will this meeting be for naught if an Ekhat fleet comes to "sterilize" the nebula?

As its predecessor did, THE CRUCIBLE OF EMPIRE excels at portraying alien cultures.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Olin on May 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you have read Course of Empire (highly recommended book) then you will enjoy Crucible of Empire. Unfortunately the entire new book moves the overall story along about as much as half of the original book. The one new part is revealed to the reader early the book (the characters find out in the last part of the book), so there is really no suspense or anticipation for the last 90% of the book. Everything that happens the reader will pretty much predict - the authors then simply fill in the details. I assume another book is coming someday, since even the new part (I won't say what so as no to spoil it) is left hanging as far as what are the concequences. What is the future of the war with the Ekhat (the bad guys)? Plus, none of the original characters have any real further development, although a couple of new characters have potential (not fully exploited in this book). After saying negative things, I still enjoyed the book and will probably read/anticipate another in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Jackson King on April 2, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Crucible of Empire is a worthy sequel to The Course of Empire, but even better, in many ways. The human characters continue to be well developed, while the new Lleix aliens are wonderfully portrayed as a kind of Japanese traditional culture types who are stuck in a rut, so to say. The Jao conquerors who used to work for the alien imperialists the Ekhat are also nicely developed further. The basic plot is simple--contact the ancient Lleix who were almost killed off by the Jao when the Jao were still working for the genocidal Ekhat. But how this simple plot grows, deepens and develops is done wery nicely, with excellent flourishes of character building and culture polishing that the cross-cultural anthropologist in me finds very well done and very rewarding. Building one plausible alien society is a challenge. Doing it three times over for the Jao, Ekat and Lleix is a remarkable effort that reflects upon the storytelling ability of both Wentworth and Flint. The space combat elements are well handled, but above all this novel is a story of multiple alien cultures dealing with the strangeness they find in other species, coping with it, and finding common cause, eventually. The story ends with the setup for a wonderful follow-on series focused on exploring Orion Arm to locate other alien species who can be allies to fight the genocidal Ekhat. While a long novel, it is rich in setting, place, tone and anticipation. You end up really caring what is going to happen to various characters and to the richly developed alien cultures. A tour de force of space combat and space exploration adventure! Tom/T. Jackson King.
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