Hellhole by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson [Book Review]

Aliens Mysteries & Rebellion in New Series

Hellhole is the first book in a trilogy with the same name. It is a story about conflict between the corrupt Constellation lead by the sweet-faced tyrant Diadem Michella Duchenet, its 20 crown jewel worlds, their interstellar trade network that all goes through the capital Sonjeera so they can enrich themselves and the fifty or so oppressed Deep Zone worlds secretly lead by General Tiber Maximilian Adolphus exiled on Hellhole after a failed rebellion.

It is also about the lost alien civilization that was destroyed when Hellhole was hit by an asteroid, centuries ago. Here Brian and Kevin play with ascension which reminds me of the Stargate universe. We barely scratch the surface on that mystery in this book. I enjoyed that part of the story a lot.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints on both sides of the conflict and it worked well for me here since the characters are compelling and the story is tight. I eventually left Kevin J. Anderson’s Seven Sun series because it was not, so I am happy with this.

Most of the action takes place on Hellhole or Sonjeera but we get enough of a sample from other key worlds to tie them in to the story and to build the world.

There is a struggle for rare minerals that are used in building paths that allows ships to travel faster between the stars that reminds me of the current situation where China produces a majority of all the rare earth minerals needed for our mobile technology. That’s why we have so much research into alternative means of building touch screens. But I digress.

There are many characters in the story some with their own sub plots like Vincent and Fernando’s tale of alien discovery and how this affects their friendship. There is also a cute little love story, a not so cute affair of mutual interest and murder and of course the overall animosity between Diadem Duchenet and General Adolphus. I love the general how we survived the first years on Hellhole stories.

The ending is a cliffhanger so be warned that you have to wait until September 2012.

Hellhole is a rebellion space opera with compelling characters, a tight story and a pivotal alien mystery I wholeheartedly recommend.


Title: Hellhole
Series: Hellhole Trilogy book 1
Authors: Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
Genre: Space Opera
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2011
Order from: Amazon US | UK

Only the most desperate colonists dare to make a new home on Hellhole. Reeling from a recent asteroid impact, tortured with horrific storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and churning volcanic eruptions, the planet is a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits, and charlatans…but also a haven for dreamers and independent pioneers.

Against all odds, an exiled general named Adolphus has turned Hellhole into a place of real opportunity for the desperate colonists who call the planet their home. While the colonists are hard at work developing the planet, General Adolphus secretly builds alliances with the leaders of the other Deep Zone worlds, forming a clandestine coalition against the tyrannical, fossilized government responsible for their exile.

What no one knows is this: the planet Hellhole, though damaged and volatile, hides an amazing secret. Deep beneath its surface lies the remnants of an obliterated alien civilization and the buried memories of its unrecorded past that, when unearthed, could tear the galaxy apart.