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    Review of EMERALD SEA by John Ringo (see his website)

    Baen, July 2004

    In the distant future, mankind had created paradise. But too much paradise and not enough fertility caused a decline in human population and a loss of mankind's exploration. Hoping to head off human extinction, one group of leaders, 'New Destiny,' proposed a daring plan--a plan to recreate work and abolish paradise. It was a noble plan, well meant, but New Destiny's leaders couldn't win their argument fairly and resorted to poison and war. The result was an end to paradise all right, but the new world was nothing that anyone could have predicted. Communities sprung up around reenactment camps and a sort of feudal aristocracy battled the immoral forces that New Destiny now command.

    Duke Edward Talbot, along with his family and the Blood Lord Herzer Herrick set off to the carribean to persuade the merfolk to join their alliance against the dictatorship of New Destiny. The mer hoped for neutrality and New Destiny sent its own persuasive forces. Command of the sea is vital as the alliance controls most of North America while New Destiny rules Europe/Asia. An ancient elf-girl and a mercenary rabbit provide some help, but New Destiny has infiltrated the alliance and learns their plans almost before they can be conceived.

    Author John Ringo (see more reviews of novels by Ringo) serves up more military action in a sequel to THERE WILL BE DRAGONS (see our review). The action moves from land to sea as Edward's forces launch a dragon carrier to battle the orca-based reconfigured humans of New Destiny.

    Unfortunately, Ringo can't keep his politics out of his writing. His strong anti-environmentalism (he interupts a battle to engage in a long explanation of how global warming wasn't a problem, how carbon sinks (supposedly not understood by scientists but fully understood by an SF writer) soak up more carbon than anyone can imagine, is completely unnecessary to the plot, boring readers who agree with him and annoying readers who think he's smoking funny stuff.

    If you're like me, you read Ringo for the fast-paced action. EMERALD SEA delivers plenty of that and Ringo fans will want to grab this latest additon. Some selective trimming of Ringo's pet political causes could have made the book even better but that doesn't mean it isn't a solid SF offering.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 8/20/04

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