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    HEIRS OF EMPIRE by David Weber

    Baen, 1996

    Colin MacIntyre, alias Colin the Great, has destroyed the mutineers who tried to make Earth their private kingdom, but he hasn't overcome all of his enemies. A traitor who has infiltrated Imperial Security plans to make himself Emperor--by killing everyone who stands between him and the throne. Unfortunately for Colin, Laurence Jefferson has plenty of allies and a wealth of tricks--including a planet-destroying bomb.

    HEIRS OF EMPIRE switches between two stories--the Jefferson plot itself, and the activites of Colin's marooned children (Sean and Harry)--set on a world which fears everything from space as demons and where hundreds of thousands of fanatical soldiers will give their lives to prevent Sean and his sister from reclaiming the stars. Jefferson's plotting is evil but almost heroic. One man stands against all of the power of billions of humans and dozens of planetoid-sized warships. David Weber (see more reviews of novels by this author) does a good job presenting Jefferson as an evil man but he still tugs on the reader's sympathies proving exactly how difficult it is to write a sequel to a novel where the hero has accomplished everything (HEIRS OF EMPIRE is a sequel to Weber's MUTINEER'S MOON and THE ARMAGEDDON INHERITANCE). Sean and Harry make more compelling heros, cast in a world where they must make decisions that risk their own lives and those of their friends and loved ones.

    Weber writes compelling battle sequences and HEIRS OF EMPIRE offers several exciting clashes where Sean's riflemen battle the muskets and pikes of a fanatical church (a different fanatical church back on Earth also causes problems for Colin).

    Three Stars

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