Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns Series #1)

Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns Series #1)

by Kevin J. Anderson

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Having colonized other worlds, humans are certain the galaxy is theirs for the taking. But they soon discover the horrifying price of their arrogance when a scientific experiment awakens the wrath of the previously unknown Hydrogues and begins a war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316003445
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 11/01/2007
Series: Saga of Seven Suns Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 205,826
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson has written 46 national bestsellers and has over 20 million books in print worldwide in 30 languages. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Readers' Choice Award. Find out more about Kevin Anderson at www.wordfire.com.

Read an Excerpt

Hidden Empire

By Kevin J. Anderson

Time Warner

Copyright © 2002 Wordfire, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446610577

Chapter One

Pulling out a section from HIDDEN EMPIRE is like taking a grain of sand from a beach. With all the storylines, alien races, and colorful planets, it's difficult to pin down one piece that is representative.

This chapter features a group of human "space gypsies" who call themselves Roamers. They are fiercely independent and not particularly well liked by the rest of "civilized" humanity, but they have found a very lucrative niche for themselves by taking over the dirty industry of skymining - or extracting hydrogen from the clouds of gas giant planets and converting it into stardrive fuel.

Ross Tamblyn is the oldest brother in his clan, and he has broken from the family water business in order to finance and run a giant cloud-harvesting facility. Everything is at stake for him in this risky venture, and he needs to prove himself to his father (who has disowned him) and his fiancee, the beautiful Cesca Peroni.

Skimming the night-side clouds of the gas giant Golgen, Ross Tamblyn found the Blue Sky Mine too quiet for sleep. He paced the decks, eyes open, keeping a paternal watch on all systems. His life was invested here, his reputation and the inheritance he'd scraped together before his father had disowned him.

Before going out into the biting open wind, Ross dressed in warm garments, wrapping a clan scarf around his neck, shrugging a many-pocketed jacket over his shoulders. He pulled the hood over his ragged-cut dark hair, adjusted the insulated gloves, and stepped out for a breath of fresh air a thousand miles above the unseen surface of the gas giant.

Ross cycled through the wind door onto his private observation deck. He loved to steal time to stare out at the milky ocean of thunderheads and cirrus veils, feeling the raw wind on his face.

Most of the white doves had settled into their roosts for the night. They cooed, sounding like bubbles under water. A few of the pet birds spread their wings and flew out in long gentle courses, riding the high breezes. Instinct drove them to search for insects, but on sterile Golgen the doves would find no food other than what Ross Tamblyn put out for them.

The chill night bore a taint of sulfurous fumes, rising chemicals and gases belched from internal weather patterns. Ross gripped the railing with his gloves, felt the breeze stir his hair and flap his hood. The atmosphere yawned beneath him through uncharted cloud layers. With increasing depth, the air grew thicker and hotter until it terminated at the planet's super-high-density metallic core, where nothing could survive.

As he peered into the silvery cloud deck, Ross noticed deep lightning storms that hid under layers of multicolored mist. The disturbance was far beneath the tentacle-strung weather probes that dangled from the skymine's belly. He could hear no thunder in the vastness of Golgen's sky, only a gentle cooing of doves.

As he watched, though, the lightning storms appeared to climb higher, a turbulence approaching the habitable atmospheric levels. The white birds stirred in their roosts, as if they could sense something ominous.? It was an uneasy night.

But Ross would not have chosen to be anywhere else. The Blue Sky Mine was his home and his dream.

At the age of twenty-seven, shortly after he'd invested in this wild venture, Ross had been brash and bold - and why not, since he was already attempting to do an impossible thing?? With a smile, he recalled the day he had approached Cesca Peroni, a woman he'd long admired but did not know very well. He met her in an empty tunnel in the clustered asteroids of Rendezvous. Willing to take a gamble and ready to accept failure, Ross had walked right up to her and asked her to marry him.

Cesca had raised her eyebrows and assessed the broad-shouldered young man, the outcast son of a powerful clan determined to make his own success. When she'd smiled at Ross, his heart had melted and he knew he'd made the correct choice.

Cesca was taken with him, though hesitant. After being trained by Speaker Jhy Okiah, the young woman was politically savvy enough to know that Ross could be "trouble." She had touched a fingertip to her full lower lip. "I admit your Blue Sky Mine is a viable commercial opportunity. But if you don't succeed and I'm already betrothed to you, then I'll have thrown away my chance to make a good marriage alliance." He couldn't tell if she was teasing him.

"I realize you might be wary of me, Cesca," he had said. "I've already been ostracized by my father, but I swear I'll make my own way.? I know I can pay off the Golgen facility. My dream is to become independent and strong, and I know exactly how to accomplish it."

She shrugged. "And what would my family say? The Peronis are a powerful clan in their own right.? Since I'm his only daughter, my father expects great things from me."

Ross had clasped his hands in front of him. "And well he should. But you are clearly being groomed to become the next Speaker. Surely that's enough for even his pride?"

He was glad they had a chance to talk frankly, but he couldn't decide if she was playing with him, or genuinely considering her options. Though the two felt warm toward each other, their decision would be based on a reasonable analysis of consequences, rather than frivolous romantic giddiness. A true Roamer match.

"I can offer you this, Ross Tamblyn," Cesca finally said, crossing her slender arms over her chest and trying to hold a cool mask over what seemed to be an amused smile. "I will agree to wed you if you're able to pay off the Blue Sky Mine and make a profit."

He had laughed.? "Easily done ... though it might take a few years. Are you willing to wait? Give me four years."

"I'm in no hurry.? Four years, then. I think I can manage to remain unmarried in the meantime."

And so, for the past three years, Ross had tended his Blue Sky Mine, never leaving, never giving up hope, never interested in reconciling with his old father. He had worked diligently in the Golgen clouds, where the harvesting grounds were a particularly rich source of stardrive fuel.

Now, at the age of thirty, he was clearly on the road to paying off the enormous industrial structure.? It was a matter of pride for him, and it would prove himself in front of his father. This year, he would finally meet his goal; their marriage date had already been set....

Now, with a gust of cool wind, the huge skymine shuddered in the air. The white doves fluttered from their roosts, and four more took wing.? Ross looked over the deck rail and watched the angry knot of flashing fireballs, deep lightning storms like a boiling electrical sea. Coming closer.

The intercom startled Ross as the captain on watch located him. "Big disturbance below, Chief. Something large, unlike anything we've seen before." The watch captain had spent his entire life on Roamer skymines; Ross thought the man had seen every possible atmospheric phenomenon by now.

He raised his voice as the biting wind grew louder, whistling around his hood. "Do you think we should move the skymine?"

The captain responded immediately. "The disturbance is moving too fast, Ross. We couldn't maneuver around it, even if we tried."

Then the thick cloud decks split open like a blister, and Ross strained his eyes to see, to believe.? An awesome crystal shape emerged from the silent depths, a shimmering diamond globe that rose higher ... growing larger.

"Shizz! Do you see -" The speaker crackled with static, as if the local intercom transmission had been disrupted.

Ross stared and finally, with even greater amazement, realized what he was seeing. A ship.

The alien vessel was a huge sphere studded with triangular protrusions, like intersecting pyramids half-caught within a glass bubble. Blue lightning crackled from the points of the pyramids, connecting them with an electrical spiderweb, arcs jumping from tip to tip. A weapon of some kind, a bizarre structure from the deepest strata of the gas world. He couldn't imagine what sort of mind might have built it - or what it wanted.

Ross staggered backward, releasing his hold on the support rail. "Take us up!" he shouted, but he didn't know if the watch captain could hear him. "Give me another kilometer of altitude - hell, make it ten!"

Still the alien ship kept coming, silent and ominous. By comparison, the skymine looked like a gnat in the air.

Ross had a sudden vision of a sea monster on old Earth rising to devour a sailing ship. His mind couldn't even grasp the curvature of the diamond hull that reflected the clawlike lightning. "By the Guiding Star!" He had heard old Roamer tales about mysterious sightings on gas planets, a crazy survivor of the long-ago disaster on Daym - but no one had ever dreamed that such deep-core dwellers might actually exist.

All the doves scattered now, winging away from the skymine. The crystalline sphere heaved itself into the open air, growing larger and larger.

"What are you? What do you want?" His words could never be picked up through the storm and wind, nor would they be comprehended by whatever might exist within that strange vessel. He shouted as loud as he could, "We mean you no harm!"

As the enormous construction loomed over the skymine, it sent low-frequency pulses through the air, like basso words in a voice that might have been spoken by a whale in the depths of an Earth ocean. The vibrations blasted Ross, pounding his skin and making his skull shudder.

The watch captain had already sounded alarms throughout the facility, rousing all the workers from their sleep shifts. But the skymine had no weapons, no defenses.

The serpentine energy bolts reached a brilliant intensity, sparking from point to point on the sharp protrusions, then leaped outward. Ross shouted, covering his eyes.

Electrical lances tore open the skymine complex, slicing apart the ekti reactors, chopping through the storage tanks, detonating the exhaust nozzles. Another explosion shook the decks.

The Blue Sky Mine lurched, tilted ... then began to plummet.

Exposed on the deck, Ross could barely hang on. The white doves, shrieking, flew farther away into the sky, though with the skymine gone, they would never find another place to land. The doves would fly without food or rest until they died from sheer exhaustion.

A second blast from the spike-studded alien globe split the Blue Sky Mine down its structural spine.? The components broke apart, and flaming wreckage tumbled like meteors into the bottomless sky.

Ross could hear the screams of his crew. He felt his heart ready to explode with helplessness. He could not even answer the words the exotic alien had spoken.? The lurch of another explosion hurled him from the observation platform out into the open air with the rest of the debris.

High above, the destructive alien ship observed what it had done and sent no further words of condemnation.

Ross plummeted, arms outstretched, his clothes flapping around him. He stared in horrified disbelief at the complete ruin of everything he valued ... before the thickening clouds swallowed him up.

He still had more than a thousand miles to fall.


Excerpted from Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson Copyright © 2002 by Wordfire, Inc.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns Series #1) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Glitchster More than 1 year ago
There has been some chatter in the science-fiction reading community that space operas are disappearing from the genre's lanscape. HIDDEN EMPIRE by Kevin J. Anderson, THE SAGA OF SEVEN SONS, is a testament that it is not. The first book of THE SAGA of SEVEN SUNS; HIDDEN EMPIRE is a creation of a plausable world of characters and aliens existing in the twenty third century. Beginning with all the familiar trappings of day to day life, all the encompassing unseen politics having unwanted consequences that change unescapable destinies. Of course, technologies have changed. Transportation through galaxies, new solar systems discovered, planets explored and settled and new races of sentient beings to share the universe's resources. A universe of four cultures are slowly brought into mix and collide, some by chance others by intension. Humans that have gelled into a pseudo monarchy. The Lldirans, a declining empire, finding it hard to adapt to change, put their faith in diverse breeding within a limited gene pool. The Klikiss, an extinct civilization discovered by xeno-archaeologist on an abandoned planet that left a few mysterious functional Klikissoid robots behind. The Hydrogues thriving on countless gas-giant Jupiter like planets throughout the universe. You could say there is a fifth civilization that split from the humans monarchy, known as the Roamers. These people live in an unknown location within in an astriod city whose location is a guarded secret. They relish their independence and ingenuity. The Roamers have developed an economy through an agreement with the Lldirans for the exclusive rights to manufacture a rocket fuel called "ekti" THE SAGA OF SEVEN SUNS is a tesimonal history of the Lldirans, handed down through the centuries, recording their history to the present day. The saga is always being updated and read aloud by appointees called "REMEMBERERS". Anderson's first book of this saga entwines these civilizations into an inevitable conflict that could annihilate all. A plot built on a strong foundation should stand through the this series of seven books. I'm looking forward to having the rest of the series unfold into an outstanding example of a "Space Opera". Each chapter of the HIDDEN EMPIRE is devoted to one of the character's present actions within the story. Their past is slowly painted in as the chapters focus revolves around the characters. This technique may seem a little slow and tedious at first when introduced to the reader. But, I found that near the completion of the first book, a well constructed universe had been assembled within my mindseye. This giving me a marvelous world to escape into, while I savor the rest of the books (seven in all) of THE SAGA OF SEVEN SUNS.
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
Hidden Empire is fantastic! It is the first series I have really gotten into since Dune. I love all the characters, good & bad, are all delightful and entertaining. The scenes are accurately described and come to life for the reader almost effortlessly. I have read the first book twice now, and I am finally starting to continue in the series, which gets better with each page. I am amazed how seamless the multiple story plots flow together and keep me on the edge of each page. I have always loved Anderson¿s work, but this series is truly a stand alone epic. Cheers & enjoy.
dahuke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This far future space opera weaves a tale between human cultures and a humanoid alien civilisation that maintain cordial relationships across interstellar space.Using knowledge gleaned from the archaeological remains of a mysterious, extinct alien civilisation, humanity constructs and activates an immensely powerful device which turns gas giant planets into stars.The subsequent cataclysmic attacks by hitherto unknown aliens from within gas giant planets launches a new and unexpected crisis of threat and war drawing in all of humanity and their alien allies.The story introduces a large number of protaganists from amongst various human and alien factions and thereby lays a base for several extensive and interwoven story lines. This makes it clear almost from the outset of this book that it is intended to serve primarily as an introduction to a series.The number of characters and independent story lines make entry into this book difficult, although an attempt to mitigate this is made through the use of extremely short chapters, often of three pages or less. However, the short chapters increased my confusion as each one moves to a different character and allowed me little time to settle into one story arc.The characters initially suffer from a lack of depth and some cliches, but over the course of the book work is done on several of the main characters to build them up. In any case this book appears to be primarily focussed on narrative. Unfortunately character dialogue is at times quite stilted and unconvincing, which distracted me from the characterisation and narrative. Another failing is the repetitive exposition of key story points from one chapter to another in an apparent attempt to remind the reader of what has come before. In the context of the short length of the book, these felt more like the result of the chapters being written quite independently and cobbled together later.Several aspects of the writing style, in particular the poor dialogue and the needlessly repetitious exposition, unfortunately reminded me of the dire Return to Dune books Anderson co-wrote with Brian Herbert. I had assumed the worst excesses of those aberrations were Herbert's fault but now I'm not so sure.Several of the base ideas and themes in the book appeared familiar to me from other writings although there is plenty of legitimate cross pollination and common themes found throughout science fiction. However, the ideas and the narrative did progress well and with enough originality that the book is worth reading despite some failings. By its end the book had caught my interest sufficiently that I will continue on to read at least the next installment in the series.
ncarman31 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an epic space opera of the old school. While it doesn't have the razor edge feel of top class science fiction it is nonetheless an enjoyable and entertaining read, with many different interesting characters and worlds.I would rate this as a good holiday read.
Toby_Sugden on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having never read any epic scfi series I decided to borrow Hidden Empire from my local library on the strengh of the reviews on the cover. Well of course this is just asking for trouble. Lets face it, it's not good for business for a publisher to put the bad reviews on is it!One of the biggest problems is that Anderson spends far too long introducing new characters without developing a stong narrative alongside. Instead he seems to leave most of the story telling to the last section of the book by which time i have to admit I was too bored to care! This, coupled with his adequate, although rather pedestrian writing style made it hard to read Hidden Empire through to the end. Another problem that I had with the book was the lacklustre characters who never really developed into anything more than scifi stereotypes.Hidden Empire while not a terrible book is far from brilliant and probably wasn't the best introduction to the scifi epic genre for me. Hopefully I'll have better luck next time.
lithicbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into this book. There are a lot of characters and many settings and factions to digest, and much of the book is like setting out pieces on a playing board and reading the instructions before playing a board game. Necessary to play the game, but not the fun part. Hopefully the rest of the series will be the fun part, playing the game now that everything is in motion.The basics of the story are that you have the humans, divided into the majority Terran Hanseatic League, the gypsy-like roamers, and the green priests (humans who have bonded with sentient trees and can communicate instantaneously across any distance so long as their are worldtrees on either end), and the Ildirans, who are aliens that helped the humans into space. There is also an extinct race of aliens called the Klikiss, and their robots, who are left over but have no memory of how their masters became extinct. Finally, you have the Hidden Empire of aliens who live inside gas giant planets (no spoiler if you have read the back cover of the book). The humans anger the Hidden Empire and everyone has to deal with the consequences.There are some cliched ideas in here, and you have to suspend your disbelief that the characters do not put two and two together about several plot points for a long time, sometimes only figuring things out or being told something several hundred pages after the reader already guessed at it (like why the gas giant aliens are angry). However, I went into this book looking for an epic space fantasy, and it promises to deliver. By the end of the book, I was turning the pages faster and looking forward to the next volume.
gilroy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I made an attempt to read this book but got no where fast. I gave up after maybe 25 pages, because I could not keep track of the characters and the plot never continued for more than a page and a half before a new one started. I don't understand how this author keeps getting published. The writing is horrible. The concept could be great, if he narrowed his point of view to one or two characters. The reader does not need all that information.
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a rather mediocre sci-fi 'epic'. Humanity has reached the stars with the help of the Ildirans, who have a functioning FTL drive that relies on an 'allotrope of hydrogen' that somehow reduces the distance between points to near zero. Humanity is ruled by the Hanseatic League with a completely figurehead king. There are also independent human 'Roamers' and tree worshipping humans on planet Theroc. Humans accidentally start a war with the hydrogues, who live in gas giant planets and were completely unknown until the humans destroy one of their planets. There is way too much suspension of disbelief required in this book. This is either a homage to old time space opera (jazers? really?) or just a dumbed down modern scifi without any science. The format is also annoying, with each of the many characters getting a 3 or 4 page chapter before focus shifts to someone else. The general plot, with the 3 sided conflict of humans, Ildirans and hydrogues is somewhat interesting, though not terribly original. Doc Smith, this isn't, even if it pretends to be.
DWWilkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Why was this book not better, perhaps is the question we should ask ourselves. It should be better. It has a seven book sequence, so that may indeed be the first clue. With seven books to go, does the author need to grab us and rope us into his world and make us feel the sense of urgency that a war in the spiral arm is going to need?Part then is that the pacing is slow. More than six hundred pages and it is slow, and we have six more books. Then the second problem with the book is the giant cast of characters, all of whom are being treated as primary characters. Who do we identify with. There is someone for everyone. Sometimes there have been so many characters that as you begin a new chapter, you have to take a moment and collect your thoughts and think, which one is this, and where were they when we last left off.Last we have the size of the chapters. there are 115 chapters in those 600 pages. These chapters were short, more like parts of scenes then chapters. You might need a few small scenes to give the scope that the universe is descending into war, but little vignettes always might be overdoing it.When you put it all together, the sense is that it fails where others have told stories about galactic wide wars. Cut, cut, cut, is what this story needed, for at the end of the book, when you have read it all, there is a story emerging, but it has taken so long and been so fragmented that you know it could have been so much better. Then you find that the author had been working and thinking about his epic for so long and did so much better elsewhere, you are left with a feeling that he has gone horribly astray and left you disappointed that his skill has gone missing.
sirfurboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is turgid stuff. And the more you read it the worse it seems to get. Anderson has written a science fiction that is more like a 1960s space opera than the true science fiction works of Asimov, Clark and Heinlein. In this world the English speaking interbreeding aliens sometimes have some special force integrating them, but not always. The writing is dreadful and monotonous and character development is so inconsequential that I now, mere months after reading this book, cannot think of any important character name, nor anything worth bothering about them. I simply lacked any involvement in this work. How this should be spun out to 7 books, I do not know. I think the author should concentrate on one good book before attempting such a long series.This is a book to make you embarrassed to read science fiction. Needless to say I will not be bothering with the sequels (despite the shameless way this book stops mid story in an attempt to force you on).
JeffV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book one of the Saga of the Seven Suns. In this book, the Saga is characterized as a tome so vast that no one could possibly assimilate it in a single life time. With I think 7 books in the series, this could actually be true.I've always like Keven Anderson's work on the post-Frank Dune books. This book appears to be his attempt at an epic story along the lines of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series. For a number of reasons, though, it just didn't click with me. For starters, he introduced way too many characters, which in of itself wouldn't have been so bad if most of them didn't die before the end of this book. Setting up the story took an excruciatingly long time -- I listened to the audio book version and actually had to restart it because I was so lost. Most of the action happened near the end, at which point the few characters I cam to care about were eliminated. The overall main plot involving the prime antagonist is familiar to anyone who played the original Starflight computer game. One of the things I found bizarre is that for a tale set in the future, so many elements of the past were employed: the human empire was ruled by a monarchy, and trade was handled by the Hanseatic League. Why we would devolve into 15-16th century institutions is beyond me.When I next have need for an audio book, I might get the next one in the series, just to see if it grows on me. It did start getting better at the end.
kmv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable start to what promises to be an exciting space opera. The characters and storyline are promising, which makes up for some of the lack of sophistication in the story telling. It's a fun read if you enjoy epic space battles, romance, and adventure.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first novel in Anderson's new original series is well done, with an intriguing premise. Mankind has gone to the stars, but we may not be ready for what awaits us there. Hidden within a gas giant planet is a race of powerful and destructive beings. When we inadvertently awaken a sleeping dragon, a war that will consume the galaxy erupts and we must trust in allied who have their own agendas. The story is very good, however the writing style takes some getting used to. The Saga of Seven Suns is written in an alternating narrator method. A chapter or two is told by one person, then the next chapter or two is told by another. Sometimes they are views of the same events, sometimes events that are taking place concurrently but across the galaxy. This can be jarring at first as a reader gets involved with one character and is abruptly jerked to a new one. I still don't like the style as much as standard third person point of view, or even first person, but it does lend itself to this plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first in an amazing series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The prose is pedestrian, with dialogue that would be awkward even in a YA series. The plot developments were predictable. The characters drew attention and sympathy, but were generally shallow and one-dimensional (as if everyone was wearing a white hat or black hat.) And the technology...if you appreciate hard science fiction, aspects of this book will be disappointing at best, and laughable at worst.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just can't get into it. Way to many people and names to keep track of who is who.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun opening to a wonderful series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
This giant sci-fi series is made up of seven novels and at least one short graphic novel prequel. I was drawn to it because the author co-wrote many of the later Dune books. I was hoping to find a similar type of story here. I haven’t decided yet if this saga will be as great for me as the Dune series, but it is an interesting start. The first book started kind of slowly for me. In part, because I allowed myself to be distracted by many other novels I was reading at the same time. Once I focused my attention more on the “Hidden Empire,” it took off for me. I really got into it and its potential. I have begun the second volume, and the graphic prequel. I still think this series might turn out to be greatly entertaining. Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that I would become bored with the story because of the size of this book and series but so far it has been very entertaining and has held my attention. I am already through half of the second book of the series and still interested.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't get myself to finish this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am really liking this book :)
ThePlum More than 1 year ago
I have read Mr. Anderson's Star Wars books and enjoyed them, but this is on a whole new level. A must read for fans of Epic Sci-Fi / Space Opera.