Title: In Her Name: Empire
Author: Michael R. Hicks
My Rating: 10/10
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In Her Name: Empire by Michael R. Hicks is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure set in the distant future, circa 25th century. The story follows a young boy named Reza Gard through the first 20 or so years of his life. The story is set in the human Confederation, a vast ‘nation’ of planets entirely comprised of humans. The Confederation is at war with an alien race of warriors known as the Kreelan Empire. The aliens are portrayed to be similar to Sparta in our history, a very war and combat oriented society that finds honor only in fighting for their Empress. Their empire is vast and, perhaps most surprising of all, entirely comprised of females. I won’t go into the gender relationships, you’ll have to read the book to get that little morsel.
The first quarter of the book follows Reza, first as a child when his parents are killed in a Kreelan attack, and later in an orphanage on the planet Hallmark. The later part of the book focuses on Reza’s live in captivity, after Hallmark is raided by the Kreelan empire. Reza must use all his wits and cunning to survive with any attempt of returning home.
I found this a great read and have often compared it, at least for me, to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Another great SciFi book!). However, what really distinguishes Empire from so many other books in the genre is that it is truly a Science Fiction – Fantasy book. All the great elements of SciFi – photon weapons, faster-than-light travel, spaceships and battle armor – are mainstays of the story. On the other hand, the level of detail with hand-to-hand weapons combat (think swords and pikes) is astounding and really makes the reader feel like they are in an organic universe. Being an avid Fantasy reader, who loves swordplay and pitched battles, I sometimes find it difficult to come back to rifles and lasers and space flight. Not so with Empire, which had me on edge to the very end with it’s killer cliff hanger. All in all, I have no difficulty giving this great book a 10/10.