The Swarm: The Second Formic War #1
Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Tor, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
The First Formic War
trilogy written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. That series is a prequel to Card's
novels occurring a century before
ow fans can continue to follow the same characters in
The Second Formic War
books, beginning with
. It's as good as what came before. And Earth has learned that what it faced before was only a scout ship and an advance party of terraformers, rather than the mother ship with an invasion army - those are still to come!
ictor Delgado (asteroid miner and mechanical genius) is now paired with Apache (ex-Lunar Trade Department auditor) Imala Bootstamp aboard an old Somali ship, where his Venezuelan family's survivors took refuge after their own ship was destroyed. They come upon Formics working on an asteroid. Many other alien asteroid outposts are soon discovered and Victor and Imala (who had been on the verge of marrying) are conscripted.
rilliant Maori soldier Mazer Rackham (whose previous heroics are now highly classified) is assigned to the International Fleet, his efforts (as always) hampered by political infighting and military incompetence. Mazer's superior, Colonel Vaganov, is particularly corrupt (in cahoots with a defense contractor) and blinkered, focused solely on personal advancement. He sets Mazer up for a court-martial.
nventive young Bingwen suffers horrendous
at the hands of cruel Captain Li, who controls (almost) his every act. He and Mazer are eventually reunited. Lem Jukes continues to struggle with his father Ukko, who is now Earth Hegemon. And a new lead character, Buddhist biochemist Wilasanee believes that '
the Hive Queen is a bodhisatta, a creature on the path to Buddhahood.
' She despairs when her dissertation is rejected but eventually comes to Lem's attention.
he story develops on many fronts, with key advances in Earth's technological development and understanding of their enemy. But will it be enough? They still face seemingly insurmountable odds. Of course we know that Ender will save the day, but it's fascinating (and highly entertaining) finding out what comes before.
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