In this exhiliarting sequel to Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Hellhole, the stakes on planet Hallholme have been raised to new heights.
After declaring his independence from the corrupt Constellation, rebel General Adolphus knows the crackdown is coming. Now he needs to pull together the struggling Hellhole colony, the ever-expanding shadow-Xayan settlement, and his connections with the other Deep Zone worlds. Even then, he doubts his desperate measures will be enough.
Diadem Michella Duchenet has collected a huge space fleet led by Commodore Escobar Hallholme, son of the hero who originally defeated Adolphus. They expect resistance from the General's rebels, but who could possibly stand up to such a mighty fleet?
Adolphus knows he's running out of time, but he still has some hope—the shadow-Xayans have banded together to defend their sacred planet with "telemancy," but can they discover new powers to protect all the stored alien lives on the already devastated world? And when all hope seems lost, the awakened Xayans reveal information hidden even from their own followers—the existence of a bigger threat that makes even the Constellation fleet seem insignificant.
Disaster has come for General Adolphus and Hellhole…and this time there is no escape.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
About the Author
BRIAN HERBERT has written numerous novels, including Man of Two Worlds with Frank Herbert, The Race for God, and Sudanna, Sudanna. In 2003, he published Dreamer of Dune, a Hugo Award-nominated biography of his father.
KEVIN J. ANDERSON has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Reader's Choice Award. He set the Guinness-certified world record for the largest single-author book signing.
Brian Herbert, the author of numerous novels and short stories, has been critically acclaimed by leading reviewers in the United States and around the world. The eldest son of celebrated science fiction author Frank Herbert, he, with Kevin J. Anderson, is the author of Hellhole and continues his father’s beloved Dune series with books including The Winds of Dune, House Atreides, Sandworms of Dune, among other bestsellers. He also wrote a biography of his father, Dreamer of Dune. Herbert graduated from high school at age 16, and then attended U.C. Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in Sociology. Besides an author, Herbert has been an editor, business manager, board game inventor, creative consultant for television and collectible card games, insurance agent, award-winning encyclopedia salesman, waiter, busboy, maid and a printer. He and his wife once owned a double-decker London bus, which they converted into an unusual gift shop. Herbert and his wife, Jan, have three daughters. They live in Washington State.
More than two dozen of Kevin J. Anderson's novels have appeared on national bestseller lists; and he has over eleven million books in print worldwide. His works have been translated into over 22 languages including German, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Hebrew.
For a book signing during the promotional tour for his comedy/adventure novel AI! PEDRITO!, Anderson broke the Guinness World Record for "Largest Single-Author Signing," passing the previous records set by Gen. Colin Powell and Howard Stern.
Kevin worked in California for twelve years as a technical writer and editor at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the nation's largest research facilities. At the Livermore Lab, he met his wife Rebecca Moesta and also his frequent co-author, Doug Beason. After he had published ten of his own science fiction novels to wide critical acclaim, he came to the attention of Lucasfilm, and was offered the chance to write Star Wars novels.
The novels in his Star Wars Jedi Academy trilogy became the three top-selling science fiction novels of 1994. He has also completed numerous other projects for Lucasfilm, including the 14 volumes in The New York Times bestselling Young Jedi Knights series (co-written with his wife Rebecca Moesta). His three original Star Wars anthologies are the bestselling SF anthologies of all time.
Kevin is also the author of three hardcover novels based on the X-Files; all three became international bestsellers, the first of which reached #1 on the London Sunday Times bestseller list. Ground Zero was voted "Best Science Fiction Novel of 1995" by the readers of SFX magazine. Ruins hit The New York Times bestseller list, the first X-Files novel ever to do so, and was voted "Best Science Fiction Novel of 1996."
Kevin's thriller Ignition, written with Doug Beason, has sold to Universal Studios as a major motion picture. Anderson and Beason's novels have been nominated for the Nebula Award and the American Physics Society's "Forum" award. Their other novels include Virtual Destruction, Fallout, and Ill Wind, which has been optioned by ABC TV for a television movie or miniseries. His collaborative works include ARTIFACT (Forge Books; May 2003), a thriller written with F. Paul Wilson, Janet Berliner, and Mathew Costello; and DUNE: THE BATTLE OF CORRIN (Tor Books; August 2004) written with Brian Herbert, Book 3 of their acclaimed Legends of Dune trilogy, and the sequel to the bestsellers DUNE: THE BUTLERIAN JIHAD and DUNE: THE MACHINE CRUSADE.
Kevin's solo work has garnered wide critical acclaim; for example, Climbing Olympus was voted the best paperback SF novel of 1995 by Locus Magazine, Resurrection, Inc., was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, and his novel Blindfold was a 1996 preliminary Nebula nominee. Anderson has written numerous bestselling comics, including Star Wars and Predator titles for Dark Horse, and X-Files for Topps.
Kevin's research has taken him to the top of Mount Whitney and the bottom of the Grand Canyon, inside the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD complex, into the Andes Mountains and the Amazon River, inside a Minuteman III missile silo and its underground control bunker, and onto the deck of the aircraft carrier Nimitz, inside NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral. He's also been on the floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange, inside a plutonium plant at Los Alamos, behind the scenes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and out on an Atlas-E rocket launchpad. He also, occasionally, stays home and writes. Kevin and his wife, writer Rebecca Moesta, live in Colorado.
Read an Excerpt
The growler storm rolled over the landscape of Hellhole, a riot of static discharges and blistering wind. The electric bursts etched glassy scars along the ground, scattered pebbles and dust, and splintered a spindly tree on the edge of the spaceport landing field.
High-resolution weather satellites had observed and followed the storm as it came over the hills toward Michella Town. The colonists took shelter in their reinforced homes, protected from the planet’s persistent violence. They were accustomed to the destructive vagaries of Hellhole’s weather, the frequent quakes and everyday shifts in wind. By now, they knew how to survive here.
On the outskirts of town, Elba, the large headquarters-residence of General Tiber Adolphus, stood armored against the storm: The sealed window plates and thick doors held firm, and the wind moaned with frustration as it pressed against the structure. Grounded lightning rods dissipated the repeated blasts.
Standing at the reinforced window plate, Adolphus stared out at the wind-whipped landscape. During the first desperate years of the Hellhole colony, growler storms had taken a high toll, but now the fury was just part of daily existence. Static discharges exploded in the sky like weapon blasts. He saw the weather as a metaphor, an apt one.
The storm is coming. The members of his strategy session were safe for the moment, but soon a far more destructive hurricane would arrive when Diadem Michella Duchenet sent her Army of the Constellation against the upstart rebels.
Sophie Vence brought him a cup of hot kiafa to drink before the strategy meeting resumed. “This is recently harvested, our best crop yet. Another step toward providing civilized amenities out here.”
He sipped the hot beverage and nodded. “Further amenities can wait until I secure our freedom.”
It was here, inside the meeting room of his headquarters, that he had conspired with a select group of like-minded planetary administrators to construct their own transportation network that did not rely on the old government. And they had done it right under the Diadem’s nose. Now that the isolated frontier worlds were connected by the new stringline network, they could become self-sufficient, without paying exorbitant tribute to the Diadem Michella.
Holding his cup of kiafa, Adolphus took a seat at the planning table. “The Constellation fleet will be coming—we can be certain of that. Sonjeera received our announcement more than a month ago and killed our ambassadors two weeks ago. We know Diadem Michella will respond.”
“We’ve been preparing for this all along, quietly building up our defenses. Each day, we get more and more ready.” Bony Craig Jordan, his security chief, was proud of the hodgepodge Hellhole military. A veteran from the first rebellion, he had been protecting the General for years in his exile. Now, during the rapid military preparations, Jordan managed part of Hellhole’s defensive army.
“The Army of the Constellation is a lumbering beast, widespread, mismanaged, hobbled by its own bureaucracy. That buys us a little time.” Adolphus tapped his fingers on the table. “Their fleet is being assembled, armed, loaded, and supplied right now—a gigantic operation for which they are ill prepared. The Diadem is impatient, but confident in her overwhelming strength. She will try to destroy everything on Hellhole, just to make an example of us.” He showed strength by maintaining a smile on his face. “I would prefer not to let that happen. Therefore, we have to outsmart them—that’s all there is to it.”
Jordan let out a boisterous laugh that carried more velocity than his frame seemed capable of delivering. “Diadem Michella has a habit of underestimating you, sir. When she exiled you to Hellhole, she didn’t expect you or our colony to survive, much less prosper.”
“We can hope she’s too old to learn any new lessons,” Sophie said, her voice laced with equal parts bitterness and sarcasm. She had been both his sounding board and lover for years. With gray eyes and wavy dark hair, she was beautiful without relying on elaborate makeup, hairstyles, jewels, or fashions. Although she owned a house in the heart of Michella Town, she spent most of her time with him at Elba these days. Not only was it practical to have her here at his headquarters when they had war planning to do, but she also made the place feel more like a home.
As if to express frustration, a tantrum of wind hurled itself at the house, but was unable to reach the people protected within. Adolphus turned to the other strategists in the room; they still looked windblown, although they had arrived before the storm struck in full force. None of them seemed bothered by the violent growler outside.
The exiled lordling Cristoph de Carre said, “No one disagrees with you, sir, but how do we ensure it? We should buy more time.” His face became angry, perhaps as he recalled the tragedies that had driven him out here. “I suggest we blow the stringline substations, cut ourselves off from the Crown Jewels, and just be done with it. It’s the only way to be sure.”
“That remains a final option.” Adolphus frowned. “But it’s a desperate one, and very costly to reverse.”
“If we cut all the stringlines,” Sophie said, “it’ll take years to reconnect, and possibly more iperion than we have.”
“But at least we’d be safe…,” Cristoph persisted.
“Unless it starts a civil war here in the Deep Zone,” the General pointed out. If he completely severed contact with the Crown Jewels, his fragile coalition might not survive the uproar. “We can’t afford the distraction.”
He knew that six DZ leaders had already voiced resentment over how his decisions placed their people in danger. They had never asked to become embroiled in a vast rebellion, but they had been swept up in it anyway. Though the frontier worlds overwhelmingly wanted independence, Adolphus had forced the matter. There was no turning back. When faced with retaliation from the Constellation, he worried that those surly administrators might turn against him. For security, he had stationed extra warships—ships he couldn’t spare—at those planets, ostensibly to help protect against the Diadem’s incursions.
Adolphus held up a hand before Cristoph could argue further. “We have other alternatives at the moment. Planning makes the reality.” The General had proved that time and again, achieving seemingly impossible military victories because he could see several moves ahead on the most complex of game boards. He expected to do it again.
Next to Cristoph de Carre, the Diadem’s tall, auburn-haired daughter spoke up. “And we have our telemancy. The Constellation fleet cannot be prepared for that.” Keana’s voice changed, becoming more flat and formal as her inner alien companion, Uroa, took control. “This is the Xayan homeworld, too. We will use our powers to protect it.”
As strange as it felt to allow Michella’s only child to participate in this planning meeting, Keana Duchenet was a powerful telemancer with the Xayan memories inside of her, capable of tremendous psychic powers. Worst case, she made a potentially valuable hostage.
The growler continued to cause havoc outside, moaning and scraping along the walls of the main house. A static discharge exploded in a geyser of sparks in the General’s yard. The house lights flickered, but came back on.
“No matter what, we can put up a hell of a fight—much more than the old bitch suspects.” Sophie rattled off the numbers without even consulting her data display. “We’ve had more than a month of full-bore military preparations across the Deep Zone, and plenty more already in place. Our factories are producing metals and equipment at breakneck speed. Right now, the DZ Defense Force has twenty-one military ships, and we’ve armed and refitted another seventy-five at Buktu. They’re on their way here now.”
In Michella Town, Sophie managed warehouses full of incoming goods and a set of productive greenhouses; at the distant outpost of Slickwater Springs, she also oversaw the settlement of “shadow-Xayan” converts, human volunteers who had merged their consciousnesses with ancient alien memories. She performed her work with extraordinary skill and had become one of the largest commercial brokers on the planet. Adolphus had made her his chief quartermaster, whose job was to prepare everyone on Hellhole for the lean times ahead.
Now, ignoring the building storm outside, the General looked at all of his advisers, waited for silence. “I don’t expect it’ll come to an outright military confrontation. I have a plan.” He smiled. “It’s a matter of timing and strategic use of information. I still have many loyalists in the Crown Jewels, and some of them even work for the military. Very soon now, I expect to receive details of the offensive operation Diadem Michella plans to send against us, the exact numbers of ships and crew, as well as the precise departure date. She wants to make a grandiose gesture—which takes time. Enough time for us to prepare a trap.”
Craig Jordan grinned. “A trap! Now that’s what I like to hear.”
“Don’t cut it too close, sir,” Cristoph warned.
“The General can make it happen.” Sophie had no doubt in her voice.
Copyright © 2013 by DreamStar, Inc., and WordFire, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
With more action, more drama, more compelling schemes and juicy drama, Hellhole Awakening cranks things up a notch for an explosive journey. As the second book in the trilogy, I was prepared to expect another fun adventure, but I was pleasantly surprised with how the plot moved forward with grander schemes and richer characters. There were some moments in this book where I laughed out loud, raised my first in triumph, or stared at the page in disbelief. Hellhole Awakening proves that this series is not one to be trifled with. This is a tale that not only promises great things, but delivers. Beyond the myriad cast of enjoyable characters, the story really pushed some plots into new territory. For starters, the war kicks into gear with several battles, thus ratcheting up the action of the book. This is further supported by several smaller plots involving murder and treachery. Then there are the alien Xayans who finally get to spring into service and show off their telemancy powers. Everything that was built up and hinted to in the first book gets to play out in this one. The end result was a book more entertaining and fun than the first. There were a lot of great moments in the book, but I don't want to spoil them. In short, there's drama, action and a whole lot of fun. If you haven't started reading the series yet, Hellhole Awakening may be the tipping point in your favor. It packs in space battles, assassinations, alien mysticism, moral character conflicts, dark humor and galactic strife all in one tight, interwoven tale. If you like sci-fi driven by colorful characters and a smart plot, then this may be just the book you're looking for. I give Hellhole Awakening a five out of five.
The evil empire and its cast of characters against the righteuos rebels. Snore. And the bad guys convienently escape with no resistance.
15 bucks is way to much for this book. The first book was so good. Too bad for Herberts fans . Looks like a trip to the libarary if they have it....
Great sci-fi story. The bad and the good forces and let's not forget the aliens.
It was just okay for a sci-fi book. Got a little hard to read about half way through ...... just a little too far fetched to the point of silliness.
A real page turner! Looking forward to book #3.
The middle book of a planned trilogy, Hellhole Awakening, resolves a few threads, and creates more that make waiting a year or more for the third volume a bit frustrating. The story is written in the style of the old serials of the pulp magazine age. The frequent recaps can get repetitious, but as it is a big story with a large cast of characters, some readers may find the effort worthwhile. This is not his father's Dune, but it is an entertaining look inside another interstellar civilization.
No let down from the first installment. Good complex plot...forsee many Hellhole books to come.