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    Review of THE RATS, THE BATS & THE UGLY by Eric Flint and Dave Freer

    Baen, September 2004

    A small group of rats, bats, a single vat-born soldier, and a wealthy civilian woman have defeated an invading Magh army, but the Magh are far from mankind's only enemy. Mankind's putative ally, the Korozhet, now control most of the army's high-ranking officers as well as the rats and bats. The first thing they command is that those responsible for the Magh defeat by arrested and eliminated. For wealthy heiress, Virginia (Ginny) Shaw, the result may be even worse. She can't be disposed of easily--she does control more than a third of the shares of the colony--but she is subject to Korozhet mind control. It doesn't take humankind's traitors long to separate her from her lover, vat-born Chip Connolly, and drug her to the point where she can barely recognize herself. Once she has signed away her controls, she will be completely disposable.

    A combination of smart lawyers, scientists, and logic-splitting rats and bats who can somehow believe that the Korozhet are both wonderfully kind and simultaneously horrible murderers, are all that stands between the colony and its destruction. Depending on lawyers is notoriously dangerous, especially since some of the best lawyers are on the other side, but Chip, the other soldiers who disobeyed headquarters commands, and the other humans involved have little choice.

    Authors Eric Flint (see more revies of novels by Flint) and Dave Freer (see more reviews of novels by Freer) combine in an amusing takeoff on old-fashioned space opera. The rats and bats are charming with their Shakespearian and Irish accents, but have nasty enough habits to make them interesting (if they aren't fed every four hours, they just may make you their meal). As a welcome contrast to much military SF, the story doesn't preach an ultra-conservative anti-environmentalist message.

    THE RATS, THE BATS & THE UGLY is an enjoyable, if lightweight adventure story. Freer and Flint are capable writers and the story sucks you in and keeps you reading.

    THE RATS, THE BATS & THE UGLY is a sequel to RATS, BATS & VATS. See our review of that book.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/20/04

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