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The Dark Wing Hardcover – December 14, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This entertaining first novel plays some welcome variations on formulaic military SF. Tired of a decades-long war with the zor, a race of birdlike aliens, the Solar Empire puts a new admiral, a former scholar who claims to understand the zor point of view, in charge of the space fleet. Admiral Marais believes that the aliens can't imagine coexisting with humans, and declares that the only way to overcome them is to shatter their worldview while pressing them to the brink of extinction. But the Solar Empire doesn't anticipate Marais's personal stake in the war: he believes himself to be a threatening, implacable power called the Dark Wing, part of the pantheon of zor religion. The zor, convinced of Marais's alleged secret identity, see him as their likely destroyer. Up to this point, the novel seems to prepare for a standard, detailed presentation of space battle tactics, but instead the story veers off into a discussion of the morality of exterminating another race, however hostile. As the story progresses, Hunt adds depth to the characters, who start behaving oddly. Although they're comfortably flat, as in most military SF, some of them obviously harbor hidden schemes. By the end, one war is over, but larger and much stranger conflicts are just coming into focus. Hunt delivers a bravura performance, especially for a new writer. It's unclear whether he can keep up this level of razzle-dazzle whether he's juggling chainsaws or just Nerf balls but he's a showman to watch.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

To bring an end to the continual state of war between humanity and the alien, birdlike zor, the Solar Empire places its military command in the hands of Lord Marais, a scholar versed in the culture of the zor. Marais's knowledge, together with his belief that he is the legendary "Dark Wing" of zor mythology, puts him and the human race in the difficult position of having to choose whether or not to annihilate the enemy in order to achieve victory. Hunt's first novel, set in the far future, deals with the problematic issues of xenophobia and genocide while presenting a fast-paced story that should appeal to fans of space opera and military sf. Reminiscent of Orson Scott Card's military classic Ender's Game, this work belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076530113X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765301130
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,296,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It would have been good, if it was 100 pages shorter.
Charlie Watanbe
As a fan of military sci-fi and a reader of any kind of science fiction, I believe that this is a marvellously written book.
"alphatango21"
The author managed to write an entertaining story while exploring deeper issues regarding human nature... genocide, etc,.
Angel J. Martinez-Perez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By blm on March 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am not a fan of military SF, but I enjoyed "The Dark Wing." The space battles have a good balance between "bullet by bullet" action and glossing over the details in a paragraph.
The characters are well imagined; the humans are, for the most part, honorable and duty-bound, but there are shades of color in their personalities, and many of the on-ship details and persional add depth to the characterization.
The zor are believable and intriguing; I especially liked what was revealed of their religion and mysticism. Their psychology is human enough that the reader can understand it, but does have an alien touch that makes their mindset inhuman.
The plot flows along smoothly, despite neccessary shifts of location, and the plot and subplots reveal themselves nicely.
I am looking forward to further volumes of the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 24, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These 4 books - The Dark Wing, The Dark Path, The Dark Ascent, and The Dark Crusade - exhibit many of the standard space opera devices. There are the winged and in many ways admirable aliens, the remorseless insectoid alien adversaries, the hidden powers attempting to manipulate human fates, and the sprawling and somewhat corrupt space empire. There is also more than a touch of mysticism with events mirroring myths of the winged alien species. Nor can it be said that Hunt has done anything particularly novel with these devices.

Nonetheless, Hunt is a more than competent practictioner and these books are a decent read. Hunt does quite well with reasonably tight plotting and characterization. His integration of the mythic elements is better than average. These books are better, for example, than David Weber's very popular books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Holden on December 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is well written, with well-developed characters. The plot woven with so many threads of personal and political agendas, I couldn't put it down. The Zor are painted as such a unique and completely different race, I am very fascinated by them, and want to know more. After reading this book I find myself thinking about the characters (especially Stone) and wondering when the next book will be forthcoming. Walter H. Hunt needs to look no further for a day job. This -- his first book -- shows he is an excellent author and storyteller, and should continue to write. I will definitely be watching for the release of the next, in what I hope will be many volumes. Long live the Solar Empire!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a real treat for hard SF fans: an excellent, well imagined space opera that isn't afraid to tackle big issues like total war, how far to push self-defense before it turns into a massacre, whether genocide can ever be justified, and necessity for knowing one's enemy. It's also refreshing to read military SF that doesn't spend page after page after page explaining the hardware/political system at the expense of the characters and the story.
A very, very good beginning, with plenty of hints about sequels. If the rest are even half this good, we're looking at the start of a major career.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on February 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For decades, humanity has been at war with the Zor. Despite losing every major campaign, the Zor violate every truce, attacking and attempting to eliminate the entire human race. In desperation, the Emperor calls on a retired Admiral, Marais, to take command of the human forces. Marais, having studied the Zor, believes that the only solution is to take the path of the destroyer from Zor mythology--the Dark Wing--and to eliminate the Zor forever. When he embarks on his counter-attack, his subordinate commanders, and humanity back on Earth, must face the ultimate decisions. Although Marais seems completely in charge, someone, or something, is pursuing a different agenda. The mysterious Agency back on Earth has its fingers in many pots. Worse, the Zor believe that another enemy, another race, threatens both human and Zor.
Combining the philosophical questions of Xenocide and solid space action, THE DARK WING can be seen as a sort of combination of ENDER'S GAME and HONOR HARRINGTON. Author Walter H. Hunt has written a novel that is both exciting and thought provoking. Marais is an interesting character confronted with the moral decisions of whether to commit Xenocide and how to protect his soldiers from the reaction back on Earth. Hunt skillfully uses secondary acters as point-of-view characters to maintain a high level of suspense.
Although the Zor problem is dealt with, humanity's place in the universe is not assured. I hope to see a sequel to this fine novel to see what happens next. Note: ignore the truly awful cover. This 1950's retro artwork is not representative of the well thought-out story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First-time novelist Walter H. Hunt is surely a writer to watch, writing credible space opera that harkens to some of the finest I have seen from the likes of Gordon Dickson and Jerry Pournelle, to name but a few. Although Hunt isn't nearly as gifted a stylist as both venerable science fiction authors, he does a magnificient job in reviving time-worn space opera in his literary debut "The Dark Wing". This is a spellbinding tale of a scholar and military officer, Admiral Lord Marais, who becomes mankind's savior in the latest war against the zor, an ancient race of bird-like aliens. Marais seems to be the only one capable of understanding zor psychology and religion, which he uses effectively against the zor in a brilliant campaign after a zor sneak attack on the Solar Empire's key outpost of Pergamum. I liked Hunt's depiction of the zor and the internal conflict within their government as they realize that Marais thinks of himself as their destroyer, "The Dark Wing". Hunt does a fine job in creating several intriguing characters along with Marais, most notably the senior naval officers Torrijos, Hudson and Bell. With this novel, Hunt has established himself as a superb writer of military science fiction, with sufficient political and religious intrigue that is similar in scope to J. Michael Straczynski's "Babylon 5" television series. Anyone expecting to read a thin rehash of routine "Star Trek" fiction will be disappointed. But others, including myself, should look forward to Hunt's future efforts in military science fiction and space opera.
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