I’m not sure what it was about this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. I tried for several days, reading 20-30 pages a day and just being bored and frustrated. Frankly, I thought the premise was dumb. I guess that’s the basic problem for me. Somehow, somewhere along the way, humanity has discovered an alien species called the Ahanu that predates humanity and that came to Earth centuries ago, built the pyramids, possibly genetically coded humans and then took thousands of them off to their distant planet to serve and breed as slaves, for 10,000 years or more. How we discovered this and them is not mentioned, at least as far as I ever got in the book, because after 187 dreary pages, I’ve given up. Somehow, humans have made it to their planet and have been there for some years, archaeologists, scientists, diplomats, Marines, businessmen, etc., and these reptile-like creatures go insane at one point and attack the humans and apparently wipe them out, although most of their technology is prehistoric, except for one gigantic weapon that blows starships out of the sky. Earth has discovered this and is putting together a Marine task force of some 1300 Marines to go rescue any surviving humans and put down the alien rebellion and hopefully save the human slaves, as well as to stabilize the world for another starship of multinationals coming to form businesses and governments, etc. The catch? It’s a 10 year trip — one way. So each Marine has to make a 20 year commitment, not counting the two to four or more years they’ll be on the alien planet. Okay, shoot me, but how frigging stupid is that??? Virtually all sci fi writers deal with FTL drives, hyperspace, interstellar drives, etc. Basically, it’s possible to get to your destination light years away, in some cases, hundreds of light years away, in hours/days/weeks, not a freaking decade! Where’s the science? If mankind has colonized the moon and Mars and can somehow already travel to this alien planet so that they’ve been there for five years working on stuff, that means that A) they went there 15 years ago and B) they should have the technology to invent FTL drives. Indeed, when the government is getting important Marines and scientists off Mars back to Earth, instead of it taking numerous weeks and months, they take special flights that take a few days, so they do have some technology available. So, what the hell? Is Douglas just a dumbshit writer? Can he not think of normal sci fi standards? Why make such an extreme scenario, one that’s so outrageously unbelievable? It boggles the mind. And then to cap it off, for some reason, one American company is given a monopoly on everything on this alien planet and tells its potential partners it plans on shipping the slaves back to Earth to sell … as slaves for a return on its investment. WTF? I bought this book cheap at a used bookstore, thank goodness, but because it had a pretty good rating and excellent reviews. Indeed, the reviews were so good, I bought the entire trilogy! Now I find that I don’t want to read any of them. And I doubt I will. At least I didn’t spend much on them. Stupid premise. And too many points of view, too many characters. Additionally, in terms of military sci fi, Douglas not only can’t touch David Weber at all, he can’t even touch Chris Bunch. Not recommended.