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The Crucible of Empire Mass Market Paperback – January 31, 2012

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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: 1.5 x 4.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,072 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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer 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 Cynesige VINE VOICE on May 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"The Crucible Of Empire" is Book II of what is increasingly looking like a trilogy-in-the-making or, hopefully a quadlogy or quintlogy. I was one of the reviewers who gave the first book ("A Course of Empire") a five-star, "one of the best books of the decade" review on Amazon, five years ago. That was just a great book - a substantive, thoughtful novel that happened to have a goofy spaceship on the cover which probably limited its market unfairly. Here, we'll take a look at the new offering. First things first, though: You must read Course of Empire before going on to this book. Though the authors do try (and partially succeed) to deliver a stand-on-its-own book, there's a lot of backstory you just have to have before reading this one. This book does include a coupon for a free e-book of Course of Empire, so that is convenient. One of the best aspects of this book is that it gave me a reason to go back and re-read the first one, and it was, on second reading, just as much fun as the first time around.

This book is a sequel, and I generally dislike sequels. In most cases, the Sequel is a noble effort, but also a fudamentally flawed one, in that it tries to recapture the magic of an earlier book but by its very nature lacks the newness or freshness of perspective which produces the magic. Crucible of Empire does suffer a bit from this problem, as is unavoidable; the alien "outside-looking-in" perspective on human nature and behavior is still entertaining, but not as shockingly fresh as the first go-round. Crucible, however, is a whole new book, which takes Course of Empire as its foundation, but then launches into an imaginative space-war type of novel.
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