THE DARK WING by Walter H. Hunt
TOR, December 2001
For decades, humanity has been at war with the Zor. Despite losing every major campaign, the Zor violate every truce, attacking and attempting to eliminate the entire human race. In desperation, the Emperor calls on a retired Admiral, Marais, to take command of the human forces. Marais, having studied the Zor, believes that the only solution is to take the path of the destroyer from Zor mythology--the Dark Wing--and to eliminate the Zor forever. When he embarks on his counter-attack, his subordinate commanders, and humanity back on Earth, must face the ultimate decisions. Although Marais seems completely in charge, someone, or something, is pursuing a different agenda. The mysterious Agency back on Earth has its fingers in many pots. Worse, the Zor believe that another enemy, another race, threatens both human and Zor.
Combining the philosophical questions of Xenocide and solid space action, THE DARK WING can be seen as a sort of combination of ENDER'S GAME and HONOR HARRINGTON. Author Walter H. Hunt has written a novel that is both exciting and thought provoking. Marais is an interesting character confronted with the moral decisions of whether to commit Xenocide and how to protect his soldiers from the reaction back on Earth. Hunt skillfully uses secondary acters as point-of-view characters to maintain a high level of suspense.
Although the Zor problem is dealt with, humanity's place in the universe is not assured. I hope to see a sequel to this fine novel to see what happens next. Note: ignore the truly awful cover. This 1950's retro artwork is not representative of the well thought-out story.
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