DEFEAT WAS NOT AN OPTION. The war wasn't going well.The mind-numbingly alien Arachnids were an enemy whose like no civilized race had ever confronted. Like some carnivorous cancer, the "Bugs" had overrun planet after planet . . . and they regarded any competing sentient species as only one more protein source. They couldn't be reasoned with, or even talked to, because no one had the least idea of how to communicate with a telepathic species with no recognizable language . . . and whose response to any communication attempt was a missile salvo. No one knew how large their civilization-if it could be called a "civilization"-actually was, or how it was organized, but the huge fleets they threw against their opponents suggested that it was enormous.The Grand Alliance of Humans, Orions, Ophiuchi, and Gorm, united in desperate self-defense, have been driven to the wall. Billions of their civilians have been slaughtered. Their most powerful offensive operation has ended in shattering defeat and the deaths of their most experienced and revered military commanders. The edge in technology with which they began the war is eroding out from under them and whatever they do, the Bugs just keep coming.But the warriors of the Grand Alliance know what stands behind them and they will surrender no more civilians to the oncoming juggernaut. They will die first . . . and they will also reactivate General Directive 18, however horrible it may be. Because when the only possible outcomes are victory or racial extermination, only one option is acceptable.The Shiva OptionAt the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Fans of space opera who have been eagerly awaiting this sequel to Weber and White's In Death Ground (1997) won't be disappointed, to put it mildly. Humanity and its various allies find themselves under attack by an enemy with whom no communication, let alone coexistence, is possible, since their foes lack individual sentience and are driven by a Darwinian imperative to regard all other life forms as food sources. Countered against this nightmare are an assortment of diverse species, some unknown to one another, who share the ability to make moral choices, "including the ultimate choice of sacrificing that very individual consciousness in the name of what all of us recognize, in one form or another, for what it is: honor." This capacity is stretched when it is discovered that, in this war, genocide is a tactical weapon. The authors have created a fictional reality with all of the verisimilitude of a technothriller, but this doesn't credit them enough, since unlike, say, Tom Clancy, they have had to create their own weapons, tactics and even societies. Characterizations are strong and vivid, particularly the Human and Orion command team that spearheads the fight and a fighter pilot who's haunted by the ghosts of her dead. Ultimately, Weber and White have written an exposition, in the form of a novel, of Heinlein's axiom that "ethics are a survival mechanism," leaving the reader both exhilarated and enriched. FYI:Weber is the author most recently ofThe Excalibur Alternative (Forecasts, Nov. 19).