Book Review: When the Devil Dances by John Ringo

When the Devil Dances is the third in the Posleen War or Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo. The first two novels in the series are A Hymn before Battle and Gust Front. Devil is followed up by Hell’s Faire.

In this one earth has been invaded and largely occupied by the vicious Posleen. 90% of the human population has been literally eaten. The only parts of the Terra holding out are the high mountain regions of Europe and Asia, non-continental islands and the American heartland bordered by the Rockies and Appalachian mountains. Major Mike “Mighty Mite” O’Neal the hero and commander of the 555th Mobile Infantry fights the alien tide with everything he has, but he is blocked at many turns by the Galactics that are trying to “tame” the wild humans and reduce the whole human race to Janissary status.

Clearly part of a series of books, When the Devil Dances should not be read first. The reader should read the books in order, otherwise many of the events and characters will make little sense without having taken in the first two books in the series.

Ringo’s writing really shines in his intense details of the military operations and technology, some readers will no doubt say he is too detailed. The other high point in the writing are the battle scenes, full of blood, the strum and drang of warfare and the dark humor that often comes out of men in combat. In the battle scenes hyper velocity missile fly, anti-matter explodes, alien and humans die in big batches.

Ringo, an U. S. Army veteran, clearly pays homage to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers with his Armored Combat Suit (ACS) and the Mobile Infantry. But more importantly Ringo’s themes of military honor, service, self sacrifice and average men and women rising to circumstances are the same that Heinlein’s classic novel spoke too. Ringo’s characters fight and often die because it is the right and good thing to do. In the world of the novel, the bad guys are truly evil, the good guys are truly good and there are no grey areas.

If the reader is looking for a solid military science fiction action novel with stirring action scenes, good technology and no subtle philosophizing on the right and wrong of war, then they need look no further then When the Devil Dances and its companion books.

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