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A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War, #1)
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A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  7,340 ratings  ·  160 reviews
With Earth in the path of the rapacious Posleen, the Galactic Federation offers help to the backward humans -- for a price. You can protect yourself from your enemies, but God save you from your allies!
Paperback, 467 pages
Published June 15th 2006 by Baen Books (first published 2000)
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Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonRevelation Space by Alastair ReynoldsOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Excellent Space Opera
21st out of 286 books — 1,537 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Forever War by Joe HaldemanOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Military Science Fiction
14th out of 544 books — 741 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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MILITARY SF that hits the G-SPOT and causes a FULL ON HAPPY!! Interesting POLITICS, unique ALIEN CULTURES, intelligent PLOTTING, engaging CHARACTERS...oh yeah, and lots and lots of:

4.5 stars. I’ve said before that I like military SF, but it is not the sub-genre that I intend to settle down with and spend the rest of my life. Therefore, I am fairly prudish and selective about the books I engage with in this category. Well book bachelors and bachelorettes, this book is definitely ROSE WORTHY as
Sep 15, 2008 Matt rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of military pulp science fiction, most of whom have already read it
Shelves: science-fiction, war
In full disclosure, I've bumped into the author a couple of times online as we have certain interests in common. I hope he remains willing to talk to me after this review.

The biggest problem with the book is that it’s not really to my taste. Along with Jerry Pournelle, John Ringo is one of the main figures in the pulp military science fiction. You might think that's right up my alley, but really not so much. I just can't get into it. Whether it denounces the horrors of war or it glamorizes the g
A really good apocalyptic hard sci-fi series. Earth faces alien invasion without time to prepare adequately, and allies who may or may not be trustworthy. The series details the brutal struggle against an encroaching canninbalistic horde, on other planets, in space, and finally on Earth. The series predictably gets darker as it progresses, and it is definitely hard/military sci-fi. The books refer to the R&D, training, and brutal combat involved in the struggle, but also contain vivid charac ...more
This person definitely has a military background with minute detail included about military organizations and strategies. However, the otherwise very action-packed novel gets lost in that very detail. He not only describes an action (such as lots of liquid traveled through some large plumbing pipes which the characters had to navigate through), but he describes everything from the circumference of pipes (in specific meters) to the volume of liquid (in liters or gallons) that can be passed throug ...more
An impressive middling-hard-sci-fi war novel. Earth gets good news and bad news on the same day. The galaxy is full of sentient life, most of it peaceful and friendly. But the nasty ones are headed our way and will arrive in a bare 5 years! Solution: become the "good guys'" mercenaries. Basically, the federation of peaceful species transfers a boat load of tech and some good interstellar cash to the humans, who use it to build a competitive fighting machine and the men to use it. The hope is tha ...more
A bit jumpy, and mildly entertaining. Insufficient character development, excellent military empathy.

The deeper into the book I got, the more I empathized with the main characters. I found myself cursing under my breath at the politicians, the underhanded dealings, the insecure, power-mongering higher-ranked military personnel and the questionable motives of our new alien benefactors. The author does an excellent job in portraying the foolishness that costs lives, the greed that takes lives, and
This, the first book in a series focusing on the character Michael O'Neal, is perhaps the best of them. It provided me with some hours of amusement, and for that alone it deserve its score.

The problem, as with the rest of the series, is that of Weberisms, so named in my mind after David Weber who - at his worst - tend to do the same. First, infodumps. These are frequent, and detailed; terribly, terribly detailed. So much detail is presented that one get the impression that a publishing agent has
Dirk Grobbelaar
”War! What is it good for?”

Military Science Fiction does come to mind…

A Hymn Before Battle is the first in the Posleen War saga. The series is also referred to as the Legacy of the Aldenata, which has a nice ring to it. In essence, it’s all about war. The aliens are coming! This theme, of course, isn’t new. Not by a long shot. There are different aliens involved too, some are nicer than others. Some are treacherous. Some are just plain evil. Not having much of a choice (with Earth being next on
Aug 05, 2008 Jimmy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone over the age 15 who enjoys either sci-fi or military thrillers.
Recommended to Jimmy by: I actually found the 4th book on a free book shelf in Iraq and w
This book is the beginning of the Legacy of the Aldenata. It lays out a very plausible different future for humanity than the path we are on now. Right about the time the global war on terror is starting in our universe, earth finds out that a cannabalistic, carniverous alien race known as the Posleen are on their way to make serve man. On rye with a side of bacon that is. These vicious aliens have advanced technology, a voracious appetite, and they breed like, well rabbits. It will take everyth ...more
Per Gunnar
I have generally liked the works of John Ringo so far. This one I didn’t really like. The story seemed quite interesting. First contact, Earth is enlisted to help defend the peaceful races of the galaxy, lots to learn, design new weapons etc. Sounded good to me.

Well it all slowly turns into a bloody mess. [Minimal spoiler ahead] It turns out that one of the alien races holds all the decision making power over the other ones. These are political vendetta makers which would make the political bull
Michael Barnette
I just finished 'A Hymn Before Battle' and I have to say I greatly enjoyed the book.

The first half was beyond slow. Not much happened other than character introductions and a lot of people talking, which bugged the crap out of me since it rode along on the rule about never doing 'info dumps' in fiction. The action in the last half more than made up for the slow start/info dumping. Granted it wasn't done like a new author's info dumps, but still... On the other hand, I can understand why Ringo di
Alien invasion stories have been done before, but to my knowledge never quite with this much desperation, lack of hope, or heroism on the part of the defenders. This is rich military SF with a keen eye for the strategic dimension and human psychology as well as kick-ass fun. The “original” series consists of the following.

* A Hymn Before Battle
* Gust Front
* When the Devil Dances
* Hell’s Faire

The first novel is a sort of “eve of the war” story. I was put off by the cover for quite a while but
A few years ago I burned myself out on military sci-fi by binge-reading David Weber. I think I still have a rant I wrote about that. I have since been looking of Mil Sci-Fi authors I can stand because the sub-genera itself it very mature and exciting. John Ringo just didn't make the cut. I put the book down about 3/5 of the way through and skimmed to the end. I don't regret it. Saved me a lot of time and told me I wasn't missing anything. Part of the attraction to this book was the enticement th ...more
Cara Schulz
I'm not normally too into military Sci-Fi or much sci-fi since they tent to focus too much on toys and tech and not enough on plot and character development. Hymn did pretty well on both - enough that I and my husband both enjoy this series.

The premise is very interesting - Earth gets contacted by aliens and they're here to tell us that some other aliens are getting ready to kick our butts (and eat us). We have 5 years to prepare and they'll help us with tech, but that's it since they are physic
The other John
I was intrigued by this first contact tale because it contained a favorite trope--the quirky underdog ends up making a major contribution to the cause. In this book, the quirky underdog is the human race. The cause is the survival of a federation of races in the local part of the galaxy. This federation is advanced (compared to humanity), stable and peaceful. It's also being systematically slaughtered by an invading race, the Posleen. At wits' end, they decide the best thing to do is contact a p ...more
Carl Bussema
This will not be for everyone. Not only must you enjoy military sci-fi, you must enjoy logistics and reading about how the governments of the world (especially U.S., since it's mostly told from American p.o.v.) can really screw up by the numbers.

Around 2002 AD, aliens make contact with Earth. The good news? They're friendly and sharing technology. The bad news? The bad aliens are conquering everything in their path, and Earth is on the short list.

The story takes a LONG time to really get to a p
From Booklist

Michael O'Shea, a fireplug of an iron-pumping ex-soldier, leaves game design behind to train and then lead power-armored infantry in a merciless battle against the equally merciless, centauroid Posleen for the sake of Earth's allies. Several subplots show Ringo's fondness for special ops types and marines, and his experience as a paratrooper shows in the way he handles military small-group politics and disciplinary problems. The subplots point up the potential grimness of Earth fi

Kamas Kirian
OOOhhh, I loved it. O'Neil and Pappas were really the only two well rounded characters, but the story was awesome and paced very well. I didn't want to put it down. I'm a little surprised that the tactics of the Posleen are so two dimensional; they can control the air, but don't take full advantage of it. Their tactics don't seem very sophisticated, but they probably have never had to be considering who they've been fighting.

I generally like military fiction, and I like SF. This was a well blend
Mar 21, 2008 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Military SF fans
Shelves: scifi
An excellent combat series. This guy can write realistic military fiction. He uses the jargon of the military forces with such accuracy, he must be a former soldier. His portrait of the SF mentality is spot-on. The book takes a bit to get going and the science is pretty much skipped over (interstellar travel, galactic weapons tech, etc). But the battle scenes are vivid and how the missions are carried out seem very realistic. Last half of the book is great.
This is a full-on military vs alien conflict by someone who knows his stuff. Enjoyed it a lot and will read the rest of the series. John Ringo co-wrote the "Prince Roger" series with David Weber. Clearly, much of the military tactics, equipment and military sensibilities came from John Ringo. Really enjoyed that series too.
Micki Whitesides
It wasn't a bad read. It was alittle sluggish from the get go but once the battles started it was really exciting. If you can make it through the beginning and character development, then this is a good sci-fi, alien battling, kick ass book.
Neda Stojkovic
Solidly written, testosterone based military sf with some impressive plot holes and lack of characterization. But I did read it till the end, so it must not be so bad. Oh, and the girl on the cover? Nonexistent.
This book sucks. It's like it was written by a 7th grade boy who really, really likes the military. Boring and unbelievable. Good thing I got it for free.
Zach Ulibarri
I mean good god, look at the fucking cover. I should have brown paper bagged it because I was so embarrassed to read this thing in public.

I read it because of all the rave reviews I've seen about it on the internet, and I was expecting it to be a really fun space opera. It has its moments, but it's really just a run of the mill trash novel fraught with all the tropes of the genre. And whoever designed the covers to these books should be dragged to the streets and shot. Look at the one for "Gust
Mike (the Paladin)
Intergalactic politics and a bloody war (yellow blood as well as red...but hey that's variety, right?) Not a bad start.
Leon Aldrich
As a fan of BAEN publishing, this was the first Ringo novel I read. Epic, military alien warfare at its best!
a very good, quick read... loved every minute
Nov 08, 2014 Brad rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers looking for creative and violent SF combat
The rating is based on the genre of Military SF. Although there are some cool SF ideas, this is a book read for the adrenaline rush, not for the intellectual stimulation. I considered giving up after about 40 pages but was hopeful that somehow the cheesey writing would make for great action scenes. I wasn't disappointed and had a lot of fun along the way.

The main character, O'Neal, is an odd hodgepodge of adolescent masculine fantasy and geek epitome. He is short, at 5'2", but incredibly muscul
I can't help but feel a little guilty for enjoying much of this book. The level of Misogyny was palpable at first then the buddy action war story begins after it effectively kills off the only female in the story, other than the nagging wife. The alien descriptions were laughable. I had a hard time picturing what the enemy looked like without scratching my head. Basically we were given the image of a minotaur with a crocodile head and raptor talons? Only reason I can think of for enjoying such a ...more
An interesting military Sci-Fi series, about humans being brought into a peaceful and advanced galactic society. Why? Because they've been losing a war for centuries, and the aggressive and warlike humans might be their last chance.

Being military Sci-Fi, the story can get a little confusing at points when Ringo is using military acronyms (some old, some new), so expect to do a little back tracking here or there if you forget. Some of the tech might seem a bit dated to some readers (the book cam
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John Ringo is a prolific author who has written in a wide variety of genres. His early life included a great deal of travel. He visited 23 foreign countries, and attended fourteen different schools. After graduation Ringo enlisted in the US military for four years, after which he studied marine biology.

In 1999 he wrote and published his first novel "A Hymn Before Battle", which proved successful.
More about John Ringo...

Other Books in the Series

Posleen War (5 books)
  • Gust Front (Posleen War, #2)
  • When the Devil Dances (Posleen War, #3)
  • Hell's Faire (Posleen War, #4)
  • The Hero (Posleen War, #5)
Gust Front (Posleen War, #2) Live Free or Die (Troy Rising, #1) Citadel (Troy Rising, #2) When the Devil Dances (Posleen War, #3) Hell's Faire (Posleen War, #4)

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“Peace through superior firepower.” 30 likes
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