Michael R. Hicks
Imperial Guard Publishing
The amazon.com product description:
This trilogy collection contains the first three novels of the bestselling IN HER NAME science fiction & fantasy saga: EMPIRE, CONFEDERATION, and FINAL BATTLE...What a good book. I'd finished reading the first book, In Her Name: Empire, a couple of weeks before the omnibus edition went free for a day, and immediately started reading the whole thing again on downloading that.
This is the coming-of-age story of Reza Gard, a young boy of the Human Confederation who is swept up in the century-long war with the alien Kreelan Empire. Nightmarish female warriors with blue skin, fangs, and razor sharp talons, the Kreelans have technology that is millennia beyond that of the Confederation, yet they seek out close combat with sword and claw, fighting and dying to honor their god-like Empress. Captured and enslaved, Reza must live like his enemies in a grand experiment to see if humans have souls, and if one may be the key to unlocking an ages old curse upon the Kreelan race. Enduring the brutal conditions of Kreelan life, Reza and a young warrior named Esah-Zhurah find themselves bound together by fate and a prophecy foretold millennia before they were born.
Banished from the Kreelan Empire, Reza is once again a stranger in a strange land as he returns to the human Confederation. Befriended by a marooned Confederation naval officer leading a desperate fight against the Kreelans on a distant colony world, she reunites Reza with Nicole Carré. With their help, he fulfills his childhood dream of becoming a Confederation Marine. Reza will need all the help he can get, for dark forces are at work at the heart of the Confederation, and Reza becomes a pawn in a lethal power struggle that leads him back to the planet Erlang. There, a heartbreaking reunion awaits him, along with the discovery of an ages-old power that the Kreelan Empire will stop at nothing to control.
Reza awakens in a hospital on Earth after having been in a coma for months. Charged with murder and high treason, he finds himself the scapegoat for a daring plot to assassinate the President of the Confederation. Escaping with the help of Jodi Mackenzie, who is now hunted for what she knows about the death of the president, Reza discovers that something is deeply wrong with the Empire: the warriors have lost their will to fight. Compelled to step into a trap set for him and Jodi, the two once again find themselves bound for Erlang. But this time it is to meet Tesh-Dar, who has been captured. When Reza and Jodi are taken prisoner and sentenced to death, they can only watch as a human armada gathers for a strike against the Kreelan homeworld. But the human fleet - and humanity itself - will be doomed to utter annihilation unless Reza can reach the Empress in time...
Any book where you can start to re-read it so soon after reading it for the first time is bound to be good, and this one was no exception. Even with the familiarity with the characters, plot etc for the first third of the omnibus edition, the story was compelling me to keep reading.
From the first chapter, Reza's experiences are gripping - all the way through to the end of the first book: Empire - I couldn't just stop reading there, and continued right into Confederation. Confederation and Final Battle felt more like one longer book combined rather than two separate books.
Elements of this Michael R. Hicks work reminded me of several other science fiction authors I liked: David Weber (specifically his co-written series with Steve White), John Scalzi and Robert Heinlein, so in that sense it fits the style of "classic science fiction", but at the same time the story is still very fresh and original.
It did take until part way through the second book to really get a good mental image of what the Kreelan looked like though, which bugged me a bit at times I have to admit. Other than that though, I have no complaints about any of the three books.
In fact, I found that I couldn't put In Her Name down easily at all, and was just waiting for the chance to pick up my e-reader again as soon as I could. Only problem is, I'm having trouble saying anything about the book other than how much I enjoyed it.
The Kreelan are an intriguing race, with a lot of history behind them - Their empire has been around thousands of years longer than any of our civilizations, but one of the things that makes them so unique is their adherence to The Way, something that is is developed throughout the book. The Way is on;y one of the mysteries surrounding the Kreelan. There's also the question of why the Confederation has only seen female warriors, in fact female anythings among the Kreelan to date.
I repeat: In Her Name is five star science fiction, and a book I'm sure to be re-reading. Thankfully there's more books set in this world, including another omnibus edition: In Her Name: Final Battle, and a new release, In Her Name: From Chaos Born. I'm looking forward to reading these titles too.