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Hellburner (The Company Wars, #5)
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Hellburner (The Company Wars #5)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,040 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Lt. Ben Pollard thinks he's traded the perils of the Belt for security as an Earth-based computer jockey for United Defence Command. Then he's forced to perform a mission of mercy - and lands on an isolated, intrigue-riddled space station. In Hellburner, her newest novel, Hugo Award winner C. J. Cherryh returns to the best-selling universe of Heavy Time, Cyteen, and Downbe ...more
Paperback, 393 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1992)
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This is science fiction at its best. It contains lots of futuristic technologies and uses scientific terms without losing you. Cherryh has a masterful way of weaving together social commentry and attacks on corruption into her stories. This book, its direct predecessor Heavy Time, and the next chronologically - Downbelow Station all are set against the earth clinging to its old ideas as being the centre of the universe and how more advanced colonies are throwing off this yoke. While all this is ...more
This is the second book in the series, and you do need to have read the previous book Heavy Time.

Another paranoid, claustrophobic dystopian book, following very closely on the previous one, with the same characters, in a different situation.

The start of the Company/Union split, with the Fleet shown as becoming the Mazianni and showing the possibility of why and how they did so - although Downbelow Station shows it in actuality, and so does Merchanter's Luck.

First appearance of rider ships, first
Lian Tanner
Cherryh's books can be hard to rate. This one for example. It's tech-heavy, frequently hard to understand, full of internalised angst and labyrinthine politics. Plus which I hadn't read the book before this one, which meant I was playing catch-up a lot of the time.

But ... the human stories inside all that stuff are gripping. That's why I keep reading her, even when it means not knowing what's going on half the time. She does space opera like no one else, with all the complex humanity and bitter
I'm a big Cherryh fan. I've read most of what she's written and read whatever of hers I find. I read "Heavy Time" (the book before this one) and found it less than the quality of her other books I've read. Even so, I felt to read this one since it appears to be pretty much a follow-on story with a couple of the same characters. But I quit reading it after the first few chapters.

This story really was feeling like "more of the same". Not just another story with the same characters, the same story.
4.5 stars. A hell of a ride. As usual, Cherryh reveals the story up close and personal, showing us what's happening from the points of view of four or five main characters, in bits and pieces, building tension and suspense, despairing of a good outcome, until finally the whole jigsaw comes together in a complete whole. Cherryh writes fantastic science fiction from a very human perspective, with all the realities of politics, lies, sweat, insanity, and incredible pressure. What a writer.
Ken McDouall
This is a rather disappointing follow-up to the prequel "Heavy Time." It lacks the intensity and momentum of the first book, and expends most of its energy detailing the mental state of a somewhat unbalanced test pilot.
Lance Springer
I don't know why I'm so enamored of Cherryh lately. She really take a long time to get going but when I'm done I'm kinda interested in how she got there.
Kirk Lowery
It's okay, but not Cherryh at her best. The plot and themes just aren't compelling.
A great sequel to Heavy Time! I would highly recommend reading Heavy Time before Hellburner to get introduced to the characters.

I thought the buildup to the end was done well. The intensity was great and, as always, I like that Cherryh doesn't explain everything to dumb the story down.

Sometimes it is hard to understand the world Cherryh has created. There's a lot of lingo and references to things that are barely explained. Although I think the world would be richer if she had went into more deta
This book picks up a year or so after the events in Heavy Time with most of the same cast of characters. They have all gone their separate ways but because of Dekker they all will get pulled back together to deal with a problem with an experimental rider ship he is suppose to be test piloting but has almost been killed doing so. This book along with Heavy Time are good stories on their own with a good pace and you do care about what happens to the charcters. I also enjoyed this book because it g ...more
In the sequel to 'Heavy Time' and prequel to the Hugo award-winning 'Downbelow Station', Paul Dekker is a skilled pilot with the Earth Company Fleet - a new militia being under construction and tasked with suppressing the colony uprising on the planet Cyteen. Dekker is a part of the Hellburner program, a high-speed piloted weapons platform designed to protect its home carrier and deliver ordnance. A joint program between the Fleet and Earth's United Defense Command it's a political hot-potato an ...more
See updates. I liked the characters and situations in this book a lot, the technology and political structures and conflict. However, as stated before there is way too much "should I, shouldn’t I" internal thought conflict for the characters. Not my favourite two books of CJ Cherryh, but worth reading.

For Cherryh, the Alliance-Union universe books are (mostly) fantastic -
* In order to read:

Downbelow Station (1981) - Superb!!
Merchanter's Luck (1982) - Perhaps her best ever!
Rimrunners (1989) – Ver
Norman Howe
Set in the early years of the Company War"," this is an intense psychological thriller about the training of crews for the warships.
Stephanie Foust
another great read from same universe as Down Below Station & Heavy Time
Chris Garland
I very much enjoyed this sequel to Heavy Time.
As far as literature goes, this book isn't all that hot - no character development to speak of, and stuff just sort of happens.

But it's well-written, it shows the story instead of telling it (the universe exists and is surprisingly detailed, but we only learn about it in glimpses, which is how it SHOULD be), and was overall enjoyable and kept me interested throughout, so a win.

(This is in specific contrast to Downbelow Station, the next in the series, which begins with 3 pages of exposition.)
Aug 19, 2007 Rob rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: (I would recommend this book?)
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of those books where you see the truth in those "don't judge by the cover" cliches. I picked this one up through some sci-fi book club that I had joined. "Get 10 for a dollar each!" Since I'd been playing a lot of Wing Commander on my PC at the time, this novel's cover really spoke to me. Too bad the story seemed thin and barely engaging.

Also: I think this was the first time I'd ever encountered a writer that used "effing" instead of just ... you know ... CURSING.
liked it quite a bit more than the first... helped that the first in the series gave the context necessary to comprehend the language and the culture. am looking forward to reading the third Company Wars novel
Murray Writtle
I loved this 'retro' piece filling in how the fearsome ships of the Alliance do their mojo. Now when Norway talks about its riders I know what they are!
Dec 26, 2012 Amanda added it
Loved the culture clash. The language is a tiny bit dated for me, but that is forgiven because of the amazing world-building.
Preparing for war, the test pilots of a dangerous new ship are pawns in political machinations. Superb.
Sequel to Heavy Time, both good space opera. Read this a long time ago.
Robin Lynne Rogers
good book. very tense. never sure if it'll end well or not!
Leslie Q
Currently my favorite Alliance-Union book, have read it many times.
Aug 03, 2011 Steve added it
follow up to Heavy Time but not as satifying
Azz Lunatic
Hellburner by C.J. Cherryh (1993)
Ruthie Mcruthiepants
Ruthie Mcruthiepants marked it as to-read
Nov 25, 2015
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Currently resident in Spokane, Washington, C.J. Cherryh has won four Hugos and is one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed authors in the science fiction and fantasy field. She is the author of more than forty novels. Her hobbies include travel, photography, reef culture, Mariners baseball, and, a late passion, figure skating: she intends to compete in the adult USFSA track. She began ...more
More about C.J. Cherryh...

Other Books in the Series

The Company Wars (7 books)
  • Downbelow Station (The Company Wars, #1)
  • Merchanter's Luck (The Company Wars, #2)
  • Rimrunners (The Company Wars, #3)
  • Heavy Time (The Company Wars, #4)
  • Tripoint (The Company Wars, #6)
  • Finity's End (The Company Wars, #7)

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