Black Hawks From a Blue Sun

May 16, 2010

Black Hawks From a Blue Sun by Allen Farnham is the sequel to Angry Ghosts, a book I found on Authonomy ages ago.  It was published last year, and I was thrilled to get a copy.  Anyone who is motivated enough can find the review from when I first found it on Authonomy here.  Also, Angry Ghosts was renamed Wraiths of Earth when it was republished, so if you are just now discovering this very promising series make sure you look for it under the new title.

So anyway, when Allen emailed to let me know the sequel was finally ready (don’t you just hate having to wait for the next book!) I jumped on the chance to snag a copy for review.

Black Hawks picks up where Angry Ghosts left off, with a 3 man team from Cadre One dispatched to Earth using information about the planet provided by the colonists.  The team of Gun Thompson, Brick Argo, and Geek Beckert, all familiar characters from the first book, carries the hopes of both surviving groups of humans to make a permanent, sustainable home again.  Their mission:  find out if the alien attackers who wiped out humanity are still there.  No suspense on that point, we find out immediately that the blueskins have set up a colony.  We follow the team as they explore what is left of their ruined homeworld, which no human has set foot on for nearly 1000 years, and launch a guerrilla assault on the blueskins to reek as much havoc as possible in the short time available to them.  In the process we learn that there was also a Cadre Two, and that humans actually started the war with the blueskins.

Black Hawks is fast paced with a lot of action, but Farnham also takes time to explore the reactions of the individual team members as they encounter artifacts from a mostly forgotten past.  It is a good, quick read that offers a little meat to ponder while I wait for the next volume.


Angry Ghosts – Allen Farnham

December 23, 2008

Ok, this is another one from Authonomy.  It suffers less from the lack of formal editing than some I’ve read there.  The grammar and spelling are fine (some on the site have major issues in that area) though it could still use a little more polish, mainly because it has several abrupt transitions that need to be smoothed out a little.

The story starts off with a fantastic first chapter, which describes the annihilation of the human race at the hands of a mysterious race of blue-skinned aliens.  The aliens were not after conquest, they had simply observed humanity, which was starting to colonize other planets in our solar sytem, and decided we were too aggressive and war-like.  So they decided to strike first and exterminate humans completely, to prevent a future war.

Now skip ahead some 900 years.  A small group of humans on a far outpost struggle to survive, living on an asteroid whose resources they have long since stripped.  They are a small group, with numerous genetic defects from not having enough genes in the pool to start with.  They are a military society that has been gentically enhanced to be bigger, faster, smarter, and stronger, and they are brutally ruthless in taking what they need from the enemy that thinks it exterminated their entire race.  Individuals are classed by the job they do, with every person, even those with defects, doing work necessary to the survival of the whole.  The main characters are Thompson, Argo, and Maiella, an Operator team that goes out on “collection” missions to hijack enemy ships.  They operate in complete secrecy, using guerilla ambush tactics to snatch ships for needed resources.  Every member of their group is entirely devoted to survival at any cost, and their only law is that one will not harm another human or allow a human to be harmed.

When the aliens they have been hijacking start fighting back with a new stealth technology, the humans, who call themselves the Cadre, have to adapt fast or risk the destruction of the last remnants of humanity.

Any more would spoil the story for you.  I really enjoyed this book, particularly the main characters who are well rounded and fleshed out.  It has some decent action scenes too.  I also like the glimpses into the alien culture early in the book, showing the division in their society over the decision to exterminate humanity.  It sets up some interesting story lines for the next book.  Oh, yes, I forgot to mention this is the first book in a series.  Go check it out, and explore the Authonomy site while you’re at it.