A Review of In Fury Born

In Fury BornIn Fury Born by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Man, I love David Weber’s books! He really knows how to write action packed sci fi novels. I admire and enjoy that.

In Fury Born has a 4.19 out of a 5.0 rating on Goodreads, which is pretty darn good, but you’d never realize it by looking at the most recent reviews, many of which are pretty savage. Apparently it’s because this book is based on an earlier book he wrote which contains the second half of this book. What he did with this book was write a 450 page prequel to turn it into a near-900 page beast of a novel, all of which I enjoyed as I hadn’t read that earlier work. So no complaints from me.

Alicia DeVries seems destined for a military career from a young age. She listens to her retired military grandfather tell war stories and her parents fret. She turns out to be brilliant and goes to college quite early, I believe at 14, graduating at 17, before then joining the Marines, which probably disappoints her parents. In one of her first roles as a Marine, she acts as a sniper for her squad and methodically kills tons of bad guys in a bad skirmish. In fact, she distinguishes herself so well, that she’s recruited away to become a part of the Imperial Cadre, the best of the best, the Emperor’s own military force, where there is a cap of some 40,000 soldiers (in a universe of thousands of worlds with billions of people) and where they can’t even meet that standard. The Cadre is bad. They’re augmented, turned into types of human robots with internal computers and medical abilities, and something called the “tick,” which slows things down and enables one to enhance their abilities to do just about anything. They’re fierce. In her first action, Sergent DeVries is sent with a company of some 274 Cadre drop commandos to raid a place, only they drop right into a setup. The bad guys are waiting for them and weapons rip right through them. There are hostages they’re there to rescue, some 600 of them. Alley and her company lose their commanding officers immediately and it becomes apparent that she’s the last remaining officer, even though she’s brand new. She rallies her remaining troops to her and they push through to their target, suffering horrible losses, but giving out horrible losses in return. They make it to the building housing the hostages and gather them together, waiting for Marine reinforcements. Out of the 274 Cadre personnel who went in, nine come out. Alley is one of them. Over 800 bad guys died. For this action (or for the next one — I forget, sorry), she’s given the highest military award there is. Only three living people have it, and one of them is her grandfather. She’s the third. She’s now a living legend, particularly after this next action I won’t go into for time and length of review purposes.

Now, however, it’s become apparent to her that there’s a leak from inside the Cadre to the bad guys and she knows where it’s coming from. They’re always one step ahead of the Cadre waiting for them. Turns out it’s an intelligence officer, a colonel I think, who she goes to confront and pretty much destroys before guards can pull her off of him. The thing is, she could have killed him with one punch, but she wanted him to suffer, so she broke just about every bone he had. As a result, she’s told by her hero and friend, the Brigadier Sir Arthur Keita, that this man is going to be essentially retired, but not punished, as the powers that be don’t want bad publicity. She’s horrified and immediately quits the Cadre.

Whew! That’s a lot. But the book’s only half over. She returns to her parents’ world out in the boonies and is out hunting one day when some pirates who have been terrorizing the various worlds out there descend and kill her family. She returns to find them there and goes freakin’ insane, slaughtering all 23 of them and vowing vengeance upon those who ordered this. She was badly injured in the firefight and is lying in the snow in subzero temperatures when she hears a voice in her head asking her if she’d like vengeance. She said yes. She’s asked if she’ll give anything for it and she agrees, so at this point, in chapter 33, Tisiphone, one of the old Greek Furies, enters her head and vows to help her, keeping her alive for days and keeping her hate alive at the same time. Alley is found and brought to a hospital where she’s heard talking to no one at all, Tisiphone. They think she’s crazy. She’s transferred to a military hospital, where Sir Arthur and her old best friend from the Cadre, now a doctor and a major in the Cadre, join her in an effort to help her. She tells them everything, along with an intelligence specialist. They think she’s probably crazy, but that she believes she’s telling the truth. Who knows, right? Well, Tisiphone spends her time digging into computer systems and learning. At some point she tells Alley it’s time. Time to go seek vengeance. She helps Alley escape and they go to an airfield, where they barely get away and then to an orbiting space yard, where they snag a state of the art war ship with a state of the art AI, which the human pilot, Alley, has to synth mesh with. This is frightening, because in many cases, upon separation, both human and AI go insane, so this is permanent.

The goal is to find the pirates. To do this, they disguise the ship as a freighter and decide to become smugglers in an effort to find their way to the people dealing with the pirates and their stolen goods. The odd thing about the pirates, though, is that they’re not really stealing that much. They’re slaughtering people by the millions and not taking much. Why? They daring the fleet to come looking for them. And how are they getting so close to these worlds without warnings being sent away upon sight? Turns out they’re in Navy fleet ships. A lot of them. They’re traitors, and they go deep into the empire. Traitors everywhere. Alley gets closer and closer. The intelligence agent is on her trail. The brigadier is trying to keep abreast of things. Where will everything lead? The whole universe thinks that Alley is a crazed lunatic who has assaulted Cadre personal, stolen an expensive Navy ship, is armed and dangerous, and has a shoot on sight order. How is she going to get out of this?

Well, I’m not going to give away the ending of the book, but it’s very exciting and very climactic and very satisfying. I only have two complaints. One is, as with all of Weber’s books, he has to name each and every major and minor character one encounters in the 900 pages, thus making it impossible to know who the hell is who, as you’re trying to remember hundreds of names, as well as names of dozens of planets. It’s annoying as hell. Especially since about half of these people get blown to hell in a dozen pages. Did we really need to know their names and titles? Was that really necessary? My brain can only hold so many names at one time. The second complaint is the book is hard sci fi for the first 32 chapters and then, without warning, in the 33rd chapter we have this fantasy element appear in Tisiphone — out of the blue — and then she plays a hugely major role for the rest of the book. It’s jarring. If she had been introduced earlier in the book, it would have been easier to take, but to get a major character halfway through? Well, that’s stretching it.

Still, it’s a very, very good book. I kept turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. It was that exciting. Even though it’s long as hell, I’m sure I’ll read it again. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I strongly recommend it.

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