Metal Swarm

Metal Swarm

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For years, the alien Klikiss robots have pretended to be humanity’s friends, but their seeming “help” allowed them to plant an insidious Trojan Horse throughout the Earth Defense Forces. Now, in the aftermath of a devastating war, swarms of ancient black robots built by the lost insectoid Klikiss race continue their depredations on helpless worlds with stolen and heavily armed Earth battleships.

Among the humans, the Hansas’ brutal Chairman struggles to crush any resistance even as King Peter breaks away to form his own new Confederation among the colonies who have declared their independence.

And meanwhile, the original, voracious Klikiss race, long thought to be extinct, has returned, intent on conquering their former worlds and willing to annihilate anyone in the way.

“Rapid-fire action and panoramic plotting make this a first-class space opera.” —Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501240058
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 03/01/2015
Series: Saga of Seven Suns (Audio) , #6
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson has written twenty-seven national bestsellers and has over 15 million books in print worldwide. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Readers’ Choice Award.

Read an Excerpt

Metal Swarm

By Kevin J. Anderson


Copyright © 2007 WordFire, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-02174-6

Chapter One


An unending swarm of giant beetlelike Klikiss poured through the transportal on Llaro for days, marching from some unknown, distant planet. During the initial panic, Mayor Ruis and the Roamer spokesman Roberto Clarin had issued a futile appeal for calm among the people. There was nothing more they could do. With the Klikiss controlling the transportal, the colonists had no way to leave Llaro. They were trapped.

The horror and shock gradually dulled to hopelessness and confusion. At least the creatures hadn't killed anyone. Yet.

Alone on a barren hill, Orli Covitz stood looking toward the termitemound ruins and the colony settlement. Thousands of intelligent bugs moved over the landscape, investigating everything with relentless, alien curiosity. No one understood what the Klikiss wanted-with the exception, perhaps, of the strangely haunted Margaret Colicos, the long-lost xeno-archaeologist who had spent years among them.

Presently, the fifteen-year-old girl saw Margaret trudging up the hill toward her accompanied by DD, the Friendly compy who had taken a liking to Orli almost as soon as he arrived with Margaret through the transportal. The older woman wore the field jumpsuit of a xeno-archaeologist, its fabric and fastenings designed to last for years under tough conditions in the field, though by now it was tattered and stained.

DD walked cheerfully up to Orli. He studied her expression. "You appear to be sad, Orli Covitz."

"My planet's being invaded, DD. Just look at them. Thousands and thousands. We can't live here with them, and we can't get off the planet."

"Margaret Colicos has lived among the Klikiss for a considerable time. She is still alive and healthy."

Breathing heavily in the dry air, Margaret stopped beside the two. "Physically healthy, maybe. But you may want to reserve judgment as to my psychological health."

The distant, shattered gaze of the older woman discomfited Orli. She didn't want to imagine what Margaret must have endured among the giant insects.

"I am still getting used to talking with other people again, so my social skills may be somewhat lacking. I spent so long trying to think like the Klikiss. It was very draining." She placed her hand on the compy's shoulder. "I really thought I might go mad ... until DD arrived."

The compy didn't seem aware of any sort of threat around them. "But we're back now, Margaret Colicos. And safe among friends."

"Safe?" Orli didn't know if she would ever feel entirely safe again. Not long after she and her father had left dreary Dremen to become colonists on Corribus, black robots had wiped out the settlement, leaving only Orli and Mr. Steinman alive. To make a new start, she had come to Llaro. And now the Klikiss had invaded.

DD's optimism was unrelenting. "Margaret understands the Klikiss. She will explain them to the colonists and show you how to live together. Won't you, Margaret?"

Even the older woman had a skeptical expression on her face. "DD, I barely understand how I survived. Though my years of training as a xenoarchaeologist should count for something."

Orli reached out and took her calloused hand. "Then you have to tell Mayor Ruis and Roberto Clarin what you know."

DD dutifully took her other hand. "Knowledge is helpful, isn't it, Margaret?"

"Yes, DD. Knowledge is a tool. I'll explain what I learned and hope it turns out to be useful."

As they descended the hill toward the town, they walked directly past several spiny Klikiss warriors and a troop of mottled yellow-and-black builders that had begun to dig long trenches, disregarding any boundaries the colonists had marked. Anxious, Orli held the woman's hand tightly. Margaret was unruffled, though; she paid no more attention to the individual Klikiss than the creatures seemed to pay her.

"Why are there so many types of Klikiss? They've all got different colors and markings." Orli had even seen some with almost human heads and faces like hard masks, though most just looked like bugs.

"Klikiss don't have sexes, they have sub-breeds. The large spiny ones are warriors to fight in the many hive wars. Others are gatherers, builders, scouts, scientists."

"You can't be serious. Those bugs have scientists?"

"And mathematicians and engineers." Margaret raised her eyebrows with a certain measure of admiration. "They discovered the transportal technology, after all. They invented the Klikiss Torch and left detailed records and intricate equations on the walls of their ruins. Those creatures solve problems through brute force-and they do it well."

Orli watched the swarming Klikiss, whose clustered, towerlike structures looked like a giant hive complex. "Do they have a queen?"

Margaret stared with unfocused eyes, as if buried in unforgettable nightmares. "Not a queen-a breedex, neither male nor female. It is the mind and soul of the hive."

Orli drew the woman's attention back to the real question. "But what do they want?"

Margaret remained quiet for so long that Orli thought she hadn't heard. Then the archaeologist said, "Everything."

Most of the Klikiss had moved back into their ancient city as if nothing had changed in millennia. One huge Klikiss, with a silvery exoskeleton adorned with black tiger stripes, had an extra pair of segmented legs, a carapace full of spikes and polished knobs, and several sets of faceted eyes. Its head/face was ovoid, composed of many small plates that shifted and moved, almost giving it expressions. This one seemed much ... vaster somehow, more important and ominous than the others. Orli stared, her eyes wide.

"That is one of the eight domates that attend the breedex," Margaret said. "They provide additional genetic material necessary for spreading the hive."

"Will I see the breedex myself?"

The older woman flinched. "Hope you do not. It is very risky."

"Did you ever see her-it, I mean?"

"Many times. It is how I survived." She offered nothing more.

"So it can't be that risky."

"It is."

They passed by EDF barracks built among the alien towers. The soldiers were pale and frightened, their uniforms rumpled and stained. These Eddies-stationed here with instructions to "protect the colonists" and guard the transportal so the Roamer detainees didn't escape-could now do little more than watch the invasion, as helpless as the colonists they were supposed to safeguard.

Orli was surprised to see that the Klikiss had not disarmed the troops. "Why do the soldiers still have their guns?"

"The Klikiss don't care."

Without asking permission or making any gesture to acknowledge what they were doing, the Klikiss workers began to tear down the modular barracks, ripping open the walls with their armored claws.

The edgy EDF soldiers began shouting. "Wait a minute!" Some of them pushed forward. "At least let us get our stuff out first."

The bustling insects diligently continued their tasks, paying no more attention to the distraught men than they would to ornamental rocks.

Bolstered by their fellows, several soldiers ran toward the barracks. "Stop! Hold on!"

Klikiss workers tore one section into scrap metal, strewing dismantled bunks, storage units, clothing, and supplies around like garbage. The nearest EDF soldier got in the way of an insectile demolitionist and raised his pulse jazer rifle. "Back off, bugs! I'm warning you-"

The Klikiss swung a segmented limb, decapitated the man, and returned to its labors before the corpse fell to the ground. Outraged, nine uniformed soldiers screamed, took aim with their high-powered rifles, and started shooting.

Margaret groaned and squeezed her eyes shut. "This will turn out badly."

"Isn't there something you can do?" Orli cried.

"Not a thing."

As projectiles slammed into them, the insect creatures didn't comprehend what was happening. Despite the weapons fire cutting them down, workers continued to destroy lockers full of clothing, equipment, scrapbooks of friends and family.

EDF weapons splattered eleven of the insect workers before the rest of the subhive turned on the soldiers. Dozens of spiny warriors marched up while the soldiers kept firing until their weapons were empty.

Then the Klikiss killed them.

Orli stared at the bloodshed, speechless. Even DD seemed alarmed. A troop of workers arrived to replace the dead insects, and others hauled the human and Klikiss bodies away.

A tiger-striped domate strode up to Margaret and spoke in a clattering language. Margaret made a clicking, unnatural sound in her throat, while DD translated for Orli. "The domate says those newbreeds are defective. They have been eliminated from the gene pool." It turned away as a new troop of workers continued the demolition of the barracks in order to build their own structures.

"They're going to kill us all, aren't they?" Orli asked with grim resignation.

"The Klikiss aren't here for you." Margaret narrowed her eyes, staring at the ancient structure that housed the transportal. "I learned something very important when I deciphered their language. Their primary enemies are the black robots. The Klikiss mean to wipe them out. All of the robots. Just don't get in the way."


Excerpted from Metal Swarm by Kevin J. Anderson Copyright © 2007 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Metal Swarm (Saga of Seven Suns Series #6) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
dw0rd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the first 5 books. The stereotypical stupid-human political subplot ruins the stories of the truly awesome alien beings and cultures conceived and developed throughout the series.
edecklund on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the first 5 books. The stereotypical stupid-human political subplot ruins the stories of the truly awesome alien beings and cultures conceived and developed throughout the series.
yale_kid_izzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the perfect set up for Book 7. In Part 5, the major players had already been revealed, the alliances brokered, the war seeking a stabilization, not a new "mystery". Book 6 solidifies that. More importantly, it does the very vital work of showing us Basil's true madness.Overall, a good read and I'm terribly excited for the seventh one. I can't fathom what the conclusion is going to be. A prosperous Human/Ildrian Confederation? Who knows? :) ^^
DWWilkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Only one more book to go.Often during the reviews of this series I cite how timeline is a terrible distraction. The Pregnancy that has gone on forever is now finally over. How a second problem that the author thinks is a triumph is the short vignettes of everyone's story. That still plagues us.How as a political treatise we have a meglomaniac ruling earth without a checks and balance system. Still the Chairman gets away with terrible horrors and no one stops him.A new item has come to the surface and that is the absence of death. In a story with so many heroes, killing some of them would seem to be natural. Especially with so many chances that they should die. Some of the horrors that our heroes face are such that cheating death should not be an option. But here very few have died.For a successful author who certainly has a great deal of royalties form his other successes, one should believe that Anderson had the time to devote to polishing the story. Sometimes it takes hours to get to a planet, and sometimes weeks. Sometimes days goes by in the threads of one hero and then another is picked up and it is a few moments since last we met.This is a story that a map of the galaxy could not be given because the author creates devices he needs whenever he needs it. The same with the abilities of his alien adversaries. All that means to me the reader that logic is absent. Further causing the story to be ridiculous.That it gains higher marks from me then before is that now as some of the storylines are finishing, I am happy for it, and have the tiniest bit of better perception. But I will be glad when it is all done.
JeffV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You might say this series has really grown on me, perhaps like a cheap beer after the 10th or 12th can. The unlikely coincidence of events are leading to more wars -- and it's hard to identify two factions that have not been at war sometime in the course of this series events. Despite its title, Metal Swarm wasn't about the rise of the evil robots -- in fact, they are rather on the decline. The Klickiss, a race of giant insects, has come back from presumed extinction to reclaim all of their former worlds. Worlds that several novels earlier were the targets of a new human colonization initiative. Ooops.The Earth's Hansa's chairman is getting nuttier by the day, and is now pretty much an incarnate of Stalin. His minions are even becoming conflicted with the magnitude of the orders being issued -- and one actually has the wherewithal to do something about it. But if internal strife and giant bugs aren't enough of a threat, the Faeros, a race of fire elementals that live in suns, have gone on the offensive under the direction of a mad, outcast Ildiran usurper who had started a civil war a few books back.
plappen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book, part 6 in the series, takes place in the far future, after a brutal galactic war. Klikiss robots pretended to be humanity¿s friend, building soldier compies (battle computers) for the Earth Defense Forces in their war against the hydrogues. The compies were all programmed to turn against their human hosts at a particular moment, killing thousands and stealing many Earth battleships. Sirix, the leader of the robots, uses these Earth battleships to attack undefended Earth colonies.The leader of Earth, Chairman Basil Wenceslas, is forced to abandon all of Earth¿s colonies, to concentrate whatever forces he has left on Earth¿s defense. The figurehead monarchy, King Peter and Queen Estarra, escape to a forest world called Theroc, to set up a rival confederation, which the former Earth colonies gladly join. Now that the war is over, Chairman Wenceslas wants those former colonies back under his leadership. He makes an example of an average, undefended farming colony, by sending a fleet with orders to flatten and destroy everything. The whole event is filmed, and is to be shown to all other former Earth colonies.Meantime, the original Klikiss are a black, insectoid race that live in colonies (like a bee hive). They have an overwhelming desire to fight and destroy all other colonies, called breedexes. They attack breedexes on other planets through transportals, teleportation portals spread all over the galaxy. When there is only one breedex left, it grows until critical mass is reached, and that breedex spreads to other planets via the transportals, when the fighting resumes. The original Klikiss were thought to have been extinct thousands of years ago, leaving their mark on many, now inhabited, planets. They¿re back, and they want their planets back. The Klikiss have no problem at all with annihilating anyone, or anything, that gets in their way.When reading a series, I am one of those who must do it in order, so the summary in the front of this book is a big help. It also helps because there is a lot going on in this book, perhaps too much. Having said that, if the rest of the series is as good as this volume, it is very much worth checking out. It is a very interesting story that will certainly keep the attention of the reader.
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MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this 6th volume in the series. There are tons of action, and much movement in the storyline. The novel has the bad guys gaining the upper hand on many fronts. It’s hard to imagine how the good guys can come out on top in the end against such odds. I have just begun the 7th and final book. This series has become very entertaining. I’m very eager to see how it all turns out. Michael Travis Jasper, author of the novel “To Be Chosen”
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I try to talk to everyone -.-
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-.- no. That is the opposite of what i do.
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Donniebee More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most sadistic things I have ever read. He has spent years and five installments giving us magical characters we can truly love and in just a few hundred pages, killed them all. This is not why we read Sci-Fi. I just don't understand how this became a best selling series in an age of instant reviews. Awful!
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