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Vorpal Blade (Looking Glass, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Looking Glass Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Military SF specialist Ringo teams up with real-life rocket scientist Taylor for this far-out sequel to 2005's Into the Looking Glass. Much of the science deals with the arcane mysteries of quantum mechanics, lending the often grim events an absurdist twist appropriately reminiscent of Lewis Carroll. Several years after an experiment that opened a gateway from central Florida into other dimensions, Doc Weaver, a physicist turned U.S. naval officer, adapts an alien star drive to a nuclear submarine and creates humanity's first warp-capable star ship. The goal of Capt. Steven Blankemeier and Cmdr. Clay White of the Alliance Space Ship's unfortunately named Vorpal Blade is to scout out worlds contaminated by the alien Dreen. The awkward use of alien vocabulary to censor the predictably foul-mouthed marines only slightly hinders the shoot-'em-up action as the scientists and crew of the Blade blast through whatever adversity comes their way. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Ringo is author of the New York Times best-selling Posleen War series which so far includes A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances, and Hell’s Faire, as well as the connected novels Cally’s War (with Julie Cochrane), The Hero (with Michael Z. Williamson), and Watch on the Rhine (with Tom Kratman), and is the hottest new science fiction writer since David Weber. A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, Ringo brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his novels of high-tech future war.

Travis S. Taylor—“Doc” Taylor to his friends—has earned his soubriquet the hard way:  He has a doctorate in optical science and engineering, a master's degree in physics, a master's degree in aerospace engineering, a master's degree in astronomy, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years.  He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. He lives in Harvest, AL with his wife Karen and their daughter.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 570 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416555862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416555865
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William N. Brown on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
John Ringo and Travis Taylor team up again to bring out a sequel to Ringo's 2005 Sci-Fi/action novel Into the Looking Glass. Thanks to the events in the first book the door has been opened for space exploration on a new scale as faster than light travel is now possible. So in order to scout out the neighborhood and protect against possible invasion by the alien Dreen, the humans and their allies cobble together their first faster than light spaceship: the Vorpal Blade.

The Ship was a former U.S. Navy nuclear missile submarine and now through alien technology, human ingenuity, and a lot of duct tape and bailing wire it is ready for its maiden voyage. Familiar characters Dr. William Weaver and SEAL Chief Adams are joined by a mixed bag of scientists, naval personnel and force recon marines (now the space marines). Their mission takes them to a number of different worlds and through encounters with aliens both friendly and hostile.

The book is a return to a more classic feel for sci-fi, with real monsters, aliens and strange worlds. Ringo's ability to write engaging military and small unit action stories combines well with Taylor's "techy" side, to give the reader a combination of action, adventure and science based-science fiction. The book especially shines in that it doesn't just depend on the monsters and aliens for tension. The very nature of travel on the first faster than light ship provide intense and often amusing segments to the book. The crew must deal with everything from gravity issues, to possibilities of space viruses to, the question of where in space is the best place to get a drink of water and more. All of this handled with a mix of ingenuity, luck and elbow grease.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this; John Ringo does good space opera, with all the classic elements but updated and with a more thoroughly worked out background. He also does character quite well, particularly certain types of characters -- he understands soldiers, for example, which it is painfully obvious some writers don't.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After confronting the Dreen invasion in Into the Looking Glass, a submarine converted into a starship launches a search of the nearby systems to make sure the Dreen aren't attacking through conventional space. Reminiscent of Voyage of the Space Beagle by way of Rambo, the book is an excellent nuts-and-bolts military science fiction tale with a slam-bang finish. As with the best of the series books, it can stand alone even as its predecessor was initially conceived as a standalone.
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The second book of the Looking Glass series and it is a little slower than the first although it is still a good read. It takes a while into the book before the action begins as this was basically a shakedown flight for the Vorpal Blade. Who figured they'd run into a football field sized crab Octopus? What the first part of the book lacked in action was made up for in the latter parts of the book. It was good enough that I immediately bought the next in the series.
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I am enjoying this very much. There is more good science then in most military SF and that makes it a little more fun as I try to think what some of the points will mean. Good characters and I particularly enjoyed the linguist and the marine hero. Very imiagative badies. Great fun and good entertainment.
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And this book ushers in a area of classic sci fi with a modern theme. This book is true to what sci fi was back in the day (the sci part) as well with keeping in a modern setting. This series should not be missed as this book brings together so much of what sci fi has lost over the years and puts it smack down on the table. Military, Marines, space armor and all the goodies have been included in what should be on the must read list for all sci fi readers.
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Format: Hardcover
Before reading Vorpal Blade I recommend all prospective readers to read Ringo's Through the Looking Glass. This is essential reading to fix the characters' roles in their mind. Forearmed, this story is brilliant! Is this the way we first move out of and into the universe? I frequently think we don't think outside the square enough. Ringo makes this acceptable and palatable. And has enough talent to make it a bloody good read.

If I had a criticism, there are not enough survivors. After 35 years of soldiering, survivors are essential. Some of those killed in Looking Glass would have been major assets to give the next victims some idea of where they wqere heading for and for passing on wisdom. Solsiers have survived most wars and they are usually the better people for it.

May the Vorpal Blade have many other fabulous journeys to he stars,
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Format: Hardcover
This is an OK book - stylistically I'm betting Ringo wrote very little of this - the bits he did write are head and shoulders above the rest tho.

For the most part this sorta plods along - while the first book never really stops moving until just before the end (and I'd swear they ended it like that so there wouldn't be sequels - but surprise!) this just strolls along until it gets where it's going, which is of course nowhere since it's the beginning of a series or whatever, so it cliffhangs.

Anyway, it's not a bad book - like most of Ringos work that he turns over to his buddies to work on it's got a decent base but the work that's being built on that base is pretty pedestrian.
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