cover image Battle Hymn

Battle Hymn

William C. Dietz. Ace, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-425-27874-1

The final volume (following Seek and Destroy) in prolific military SF author Dietz’s America Rising trilogy is saturated with swift thunderclap battles. Dietz finely concludes his second American civil war, which resulted from reactions to a series of devastating meteor strikes. Maj. Robin “Mac” Macintyre of the Union, commander of the “Mac’s Marauders” group of ex-convict soldiers, is labeled a war criminal by the New Confederacy—specifically her father, Gen. Bo Macintyre, who thinks Mac killed her sister. Now, along with fighting in increasingly brutal battles, she has to keep an eye out for treachery. Dietz has a steady hand with pacing (particularly in combat scenes) and a good ear for realistic battle chatter. He keeps the book consistently intense while displaying a knack for fleshing out flawed characters, both military and civilian. He likewise excels at individualizing characters, relationships (such as Mac’s awkward budding romance with U.S. president Samuel Sloan), and large groups, including the New Confederacy’s upper echelon as they make a surprising and inventive gamble for victory. For fans of Dietz and military fiction, this book is strongly recommended. (Feb.)