Dirge: Book Two of the Founding of the Commonwealth

Foster, Alan Dean

Published by Del Rey
ISBN 10: 0345418646 / ISBN 13: 9780345418647
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Synopsis: Alan Dean Foster has written more than twenty novels set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an unforgettable world where humans, thranx, AAnn, and numerous other aliens live and work side by side. But the amicable relationships between species have always hung in a tenuous balance between distrust and diplomacy. Dirge is the second thrilling novel in The Founding of the Commonwealth, an adventure that delves deeper into the fragile early years when humans made first contact.

In the second half of the twenty-fourth century, diplomatic relations proceed cautiously between thranx and humans, who are slow to overcome their aversion to the insectlike beings. But the lowly thranx are nearly forgotten with the sudden discovery of an ideal planet to colonize--Argus V--and the startling appearance of a new race of space-faring aliens. People are dazzled by the beautiful, glamorous pitar. Then tragedy strikes.

A cargo ship making a routine delivery to Argus V finds a scene of grisly carnage has replaced the bustling new world. The entire human population-- 600,000 men, women, and children--has been brutally slaughtered. Not one survivor or a single clue remains to identify the unseen executioners. Even the combined efforts of all alien species prove fruitless in the search for killers who have perpetrated planetary genocide on such a vast scale.

But from a tiny inner moon of Argus V comes a faint, wavering signal--and on that insignificant chunk of rubble lies the key to the crime. The cataclysm that follows is replete with shock and deadly consequences for thranx, pitar, and human alike. For their worlds will change forever by the colossal space battle that is both in their future and their destiny.

Review: First, humanity establishes ties with intelligent, extraterrestrial bugs. Some 20 years later, humanity makes first contact with intelligent, extraterrestrial babes. Or so goes the chronology in Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth, as detailed in the second book of the Founding of the Commonwealth prequel trilogy. Following up on Phylogenesis, Dirge fleshes out the foundation for the universe that's home to the ever-popular Pip and Flinx, among other Foster favorites. And while it's not exactly Heinlein, Dirge provides essential background for fans of all the Humanx books in typical action-packed Foster style.

The space babes in question call themselves the Pitar, and after somewhat stunted relations with the insectoid Thranx (first contacted in Nor Crystal Tears), humanity falls all over itself fawning over this "drop-dead, overpoweringly, stunningly gorgeous"--if strangely reticent--new race. But everything isn't what it seems, of course, or there wouldn't be much of a story here. Not to give anything away, but even the most unobservant reader will soon realize that something's suspicious about these alluring aliens--especially when 600,000 colonists on the otherwise boring outpost of Treetrunk are swiftly, brutally, and mysteriously exterminated. --Paul Hughes

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Title: Dirge: Book Two of the Founding of the ...
Publisher: Del Rey
Book Condition: As New

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