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

(Posleen War #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  11,394 ratings  ·  282 reviews
With Earth in the path of the rapacious Posleen, the peaceful and frindly races of the Galactic Federation offer their resources to help the backward Terrans- for a price. Humanity now has three worlds to defend. As Earth's armies rush into battle and special operations units scout alien worlds, the humans begin to learn a valuable lesson: you can protect yourself from you ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Baen (first published October 2000)
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Nate Thern The series chronology and publication order line up AFAICT. The Hero is an outlier and is a bit non-cannon as well.
Anyway, the order to read the other…more
The series chronology and publication order line up AFAICT. The Hero is an outlier and is a bit non-cannon as well.
Anyway, the order to read the other books is
1 A Hymn Before Battle
2 Gust Front
3 When the Devil Dances
4 Hell's Faire
5 Watch on the Rhine
6 Yellow Eyes
7 Cally's War
8 Sister Time
9 Honor of the Clan
10 Eye of the Storm
11 The Tuloriad


Community Reviews

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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,394 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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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
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of military pulp science fiction, most of whom have already read it
Shelves: war, science-fiction
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
Mr. Matt
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, 2015, sci-fi
There is no leap of imagination, no stretch that I could make, no possible way that I could rank this as anything other than a solid three star book. Don't get me wrong. This book falls solidly in the "fun" category. I picked it up for free on Amazon and had low expectations. (No idea why). And I enjoyed every damn minute of it. It was a guilty pleasure.

The premise is pretty straight forward. It is the near future (well, actually 2000) and aliens have arrived on Earth. Yay! Unfortunately, they
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
May 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Tony Hisgett
May 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have been meaning to read this book for quite a while, as it is now free on Amazon I decided to give it a try. I’m really glad I didn’t pay for it!!!!

The start of the book was interesting, but packed with far too many acronyms for different agencies. As the story develops I was hoping it would concentrate on just a few characters, but it jumped all over the place and new characters were thrown in and then never seen again. As for the story, this got bogged down in technical information, politi
Sep 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
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.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
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.
I invested 7 hours (out of a total 14 hours) in this one but finally gave up. Boooooooooooring.

In the entire first half of the book there is precisely ONE firefight, which lasts all of about two minutes in the audio version. The rest of that 7 hours is mostly filled with complaining about how most of the officers are incompetent idiots, about how most of the military industrial complex is corrupt and self-serving, about how even the races that the humans are supposed to be saving are trying to s
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
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
05-18-17 re-read. Very good, even for the 3rd time.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun if a little uneven first entry in a series about an alien confederation that reaches out to Earth because they’re being conquered and literally eaten by a race of yellow lizard-centaurs called Posleen. Turns out that these races either can’t kill or literally don’t have the ability to, and given that killing shit is kinda humanity’s wheelhouse they logically hit us up for help. Giving us just a tiny bit more motivation to help them out is an impending invasion of Earth by the Posleen. The co ...more
Feb 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Barnette
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
I'm sorry, but when EVERY physical description of a woman includes a loving, nay, ogling, description of her breasts, I just can't do it.
Good story line and characters! Parts of the story were too detailed for me!
Slick Dungeon
Aug 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is supposed to be a hard military science fiction epic. Ringo, nailed the very first word. It’s hard. Hard to read. Also it is far too long. This is just the first in a trilogy and I am not recommending to anyone ever that you read the first so I am going to assume the second and third are not any more worth it.

I’ll try to summarize this the best I can but honestly this book goes all over the place and is seriously confusing at times. The basic premise here is that earth has made conta
This is a crazy book. It is the first book in what has become a multi-volume series, so there is a lot of "world-building" over the course of the book. Most, if not all, of the "primary characters" of the series are introduced in the book, and the author does a decent job if fleshing most of them out. Some of the characters are definitely throwaways, and some of the ones I expected to [hoped would] survive . . . did not. The actual "fighting" does not take place until the end, and when it does, ...more
Glen Robinson
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise is that earth is contacted by a federation of alien races that are fighting a war–and losing. They haven’t contacted earth before this because we are so far behind everyone else technology wise, AND we tend to be a bit, ahem, aggressive. And that’s the problem they are having. They are fighting a losing war because none of the good races are aggressive–warlike–enough. They agree to supply us with the technology to fight if we agree to go and fight their war for them. And one other in ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
War Porn

*Excellent verisimilitude in the portrayal of the modern military.
*Captured the feel of desperation
*Hints of an interesting plot

*No character arcs or development
*Simply a description of a series of political power plays and a long drawn out battle
*Nothing in the way of plot twists or surprises
*The most interesting and developed character is the battle armor

It's not bad, per se, and it is solid military sci-fi, with an over-extreme emphasis on the military. The humans win, the set
Siddhant Mohalanobish
Good fighting, hampered by stereotyping and poor consideration of sci-fi.

Telling a good story is essentially about telling a human story, otherwise we can't empathise with it.

John Ringo commits the cardinal crime of showing the alien point of view without really defining the alien terms. It adds signifIcant cognitive load on the reader, something Isaac Asimov warned us against. (-1)

Perhaps this is decades of Science fiction reading and gaming talking, but the usage of tech seems rather unimagina
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A couple of years ago, I read several of John Ringo's books, starting with his zombie-apocalypse series Black Tide Rising (book 1: Under a Graveyard Sky. The books had their issues, but the non-stop action and especially the flashes of noble sentiment made for a really fun read. So I kept going, moving onto the more traditionally sci-fi March Upcountry and eventually trying out his thriller series Ghost. That last one was so utterly horrific that I swore off all further Ringo books for years.

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Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. "A Hymn Before Battle" by John Ringo 1 3 Feb 26, 2012 10:54AM  

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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.

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)
“Peace through superior firepower.” 48 likes
“I have been to the speed of God, sir...and I discommend it.” 14 likes
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