Books by Kevin J. Anderson

SPINE OF THE DRAGON by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: June 4, 2019

"The pages turn almost by themselves, because you absolutely, categorically have to find out what happens next."
Anderson begins a new high fantasy series, Wake the Dragon, after recent diversions into science fiction (The Dark Between the Stars, 2014, etc.). Read full book review >
SLIMY UNDERBELLY by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: Aug. 26, 2014

"Anderson's obviously found his niche. Readers who share it will be in zombie heaven, or wherever zombies would go if there were life after undeath."
Dan Chambeaux, zombie private eye (Hair Raising, 2013, etc.), once again juggles a series of cases as deftly as if he were equipped with the same tireless tentacles as his chief suspect.Read full book review >
Released: June 3, 2014

"Avoid. Unless you're an Anderson addict."
The beginning a new doorstopper sequel series to Anderson's fantasy space opera The Saga of the Seven Suns (The Ashes of Worlds, 2008, etc.). Read full book review >
MENTATS OF DUNE by Brian Herbert
Released: March 11, 2014

"The magic lingers, even when the final chapters have already been written."
Another prequel (Sisterhood of Dune, 2012, etc.) piecing together the developments by which the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers, human-computer Mentats, legendary-warrior Swordmasters and interstellar navigators of the Spacing Guild created the universe of the original Dune. Read full book review >
HAIR RAISING by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: April 30, 2013

"Dan (Unnatural Acts, 2012, etc.), who'll clearly do anything for a laugh, seems to be having the time of his afterlife. The result is like an early, funny Woody Allen film with zombies, ghosts, vampires and werewolves."
A serial scalper threatens to ignite a full-scale war between two bands of werewolves in Dan Chambeaux's Unnatural Quarter. And there's much, much more. Read full book review >
AWAKENING by Brian Herbert
Released: March 26, 2013

"A routine entry in a mediocre series, strictly for fans already hooked with volume one."
Part two of the interstellar war/alien contact series that kicked off with Hellhole (2011). Read full book review >
UNNATURAL ACTS by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: Dec. 24, 2012

"As exhaustingly inventive and jokey as Dan's debut. Think of the entire first season of True Blood on fast forward."
Another full caseload for Dan Shamble, the zombie detective who was just warming up when he solved his own murder in Death Warmed Over (2012). Read full book review >
DEATH WARMED OVER by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"Like Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Precious Ramotswe, the sleuths really do settle most of their cases, and they provide a lot of laughs along the way. It's hard to disagree with Dan's verdict: 'Never a dull moment.'"
Tireless sci-fi chronicler Anderson (Enemies & Allies, 2009, etc.) creates a day-after-tomorrow world in which a zombie sleuth prowls the mean streets as he works a half-dozen seriously weird cases. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 3, 2012

"McDune, sure, but the universe conceived by Frank Herbert is so vast, complex and fascinating that the magic lingers, and even Herbert-Anderson detractors will be hard put to resist the allure."
Another entry in the latter-day Dune saga, this one beginning a trilogy about the origins of the Bene Gesserit, Mentats and Swordmasters. Read full book review >
NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE 2011 by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: May 1, 2011

As voted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: 15 stories, three poems and two appreciations, plus listings of all the other awards from 2009—although the year appears to be flexible, since several of the works first appeared in 2008. Read full book review >
HELLHOLE by Brian Herbert
Released: March 1, 2011

"Ho-hum—it's on to volume two."
A new far-future trilogy from the latter-day Dune wizards (The Winds of Dune, 2009, etc.), bristling with revolution and alien contact. Read full book review >
THE WINDS OF DUNE by Brian Herbert
Released: Aug. 4, 2009

"Slim pickings, even for Dune fanatics."
With all the main events of Frank Herbert's Dune universe now in the bag, all that remains is for his team of successors (Paul of Dune, 2008, etc.) to fill out the corners. Read full book review >
ENEMIES & ALLIES by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: May 1, 2009

"<\b>Injects a welcome dose of retro exuberance into the capes-and-tights routine."
Caped Crusader meets Man of Steel in the early 1950s. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

"Sci-fi of Miltonic ambition."
Apocalypse Then. Its prose aptly—on occasion annoyingly—portentous, this Superman prequel is action-packed, depicting a lost world in fanatic detail. Read full book review >
SANDWORMS OF DUNE by Brian Herbert
Released: Aug. 21, 2007

"Dune lite—but for all that, a rare, rattling page-turner that no Dune adherent will pass up. "
Final installment—chronologically, anyway—in the Dune series (Hunters of Dune, 2006, etc.) begun by the late Frank Herbert in 1965 and continued by his son, Brian, and collaborator Anderson. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2007

This second page-turner in the Crystal Doors trilogy begins right after the gigantic battle that ended the first volume. Merlons, with the help of the treacherous Orpheon, kidnap Gwen, Vic, Sharif, Tiaret and Lyssandra. As their captivity progresses, they uncover information about the Merlons' plans for destroying the island of Elantya. The need to warn the citizens of Elantya adds urgency to the five teens' plans to break free from their captivity. Near escapes and recaptures, new underwater characters and the cruelty and violence of the Merlon world will grab readers' attention and keep them involved with the story. As a result of their hardships, the teens grow in understanding and mutual support, adding a depth to this chapter in the unfolding story. Although the Elantyans bring the battle to the Merlon, they cause severe damage, but leave the enemy capable of carrying out their plans. The story will be clearer and more accessible to those who have read the first installment. But, as in that one, this fun read will appeal to middle-school fantasy fans. (Fiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
CRYSTAL DOORS by Rebecca Moesta
Released: June 1, 2006

The world called Elantya, a wannabe Atlantis with some faux Greco-Roman nomenclature, runs on telepathic powers that are magnified by special crystals. Fourteen-year-old cousins Gwen and Vic are transported there and become the focus of a group of five gifted teens, all from different universes. As can only be expected in this formulaic Heinlein juvenile, they save the world from the bad guys, leaving plenty of loose threads to set up the next in the series. Characters are predictable, harking back to earlier science fiction and fantasy styles, and including a villain so obvious that youthful readers will be hooting and pointing as they read on. And read on they will, because once the story takes hold, the suspense builds and builds. This tension-filled work by the authors of the "Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights" series, with its likable teen characters and exciting plot, will appeal to readers of tween SF/fantasy series fiction. Unchallenging but entertaining fare for middle-schoolers. (Fiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
HORIZON STORMS by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: July 29, 2004

"While the series has been compared to Robert Jordan's apparently endless Wheel of Time, the Star Wars movies (which Anderson has novelized) are equally plausible models."
Third in Anderson's sprawling space-opera series (A Forest of Stars, 2003, etc.). Read full book review >
A FOREST OF STARS by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: July 17, 2003

"Anderson models his darkening epic on Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series—now in its 11th volume. Quo vadis, Kevin? "
Ultraprolific Anderson has penned a forest of novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune, not counting entries with L. Ron Hubbard, Doug Benson, and the solo effort Hopscotch (2002). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Ideas aplenty, but shallow, unsubtle, and tepid: the pitch here is precisely Star Wars: Dune."
With three Dune books under their collaborative belt (Dune: House Corrino, 2001, etc.), the boys go back 10,000 years to tackle the epic conflict that shaped the entire Dune universe: humanity's struggle with the thinking machines. A mere handful of "cymeks," human brains inside powerful robot bodies, conquered the first human Galactic Empire. But then Omnius, a self-aware machine that replicated itself, built robot armies, and enslaved both the cymeks and humanity. Now, only the disunited and disorganized human-occupied planets hold out against Omnius's Synchronized Worlds. On Salusa Secundus, Xavier Harkonnen ponders ways to challenge the machines in battle; his beloved, firebrand Serena Butler, raises the collective consciousness. On Rossak, inventor Tio Holtzman broods over foldspace technology and personal shields; Sorceress Zufa Cenva trains a cadre of women with extraordinary mental powers to destroy cymeks and machines, while her husband, businessman Aurelius Venport, runs the economy and experiments with strange new drugs. On Earth, the independent robot Erasmus brutally vivisects humans in his study of emotions and creativity; trusted slave Iblis dreams of leading a slave revolt. On Arrakis, outcast Selim learns how to ride sandworms and receives inspiration from God. And young human Vorian Atreides, son of the cymek Agamemnon, loyally serves both cymeks and Omnius as he travels from world to world, updating each copy of Omnius with new information. Battle, be assured, will commence. Read full book review >
HIDDEN EMPIRE by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: July 24, 2002

"Loyalists will leap aboard and groan with delight at a cliffhanger ending that arrives all too soon."
Anderson has keyboarded installments beyond number of the Star Wars, X-Files, and, with Brian Herbert, Dune series, hitting the bestseller lists, which he's also hit in novels with L. Ron Hubbard, Doug Beason, the SF anthology Dogged Persistence (2001), and, most recently, a solo novel, Hopscotch (2002). Now he sets out to create an epic serial saga of his own, saying that his models come from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time epic fantasy series—and from Terry Brooks's Shannara novels, which long ago kicked off the Ballantine Del Rey imprint and were indebted to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. In Hidden Empire, humans are laggards in space exploration and development and find themselves assisted by the intelligent and advanced race of Ildirans, ruled by a Mage-Emperor. About 11 human generations ago, in the 1940s, the Ildirans discovered the empty cities of the insectlike Klikiss robots on the ice moons of Hyrillka. Now, in 2427, cosmo-archaeologists Margaret and Louis Colicos, who have dug through many lost civilizations, assemble the leaders of the Terran Hanseatic League to witness a discovery they've adapted from the Klikiss robot race that vanished 5,000 years ago: How to use the Klikiss Torch and turn a pastel globe of hydrogen gas five times the size of Jupiter into a small sun and, using its many moons, create a new solar system rife with commercial possibilities. But when they implode the ball of gas, a bad thing happens: the awakening of a formerly unknown race, the Hydrogues. Anderson thinks his story character-driven and has already keyboarded Book Two. We find it wondrously imagined and zip-driven in paper-thin rose. Read full book review >
HOPSCOTCH by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: Feb. 4, 2002

"Like to join a society where physical appearance and identity mean nada? Then enter Hopscotch. But beware of being bodynapped, as happens to Eduard, who then must race about swamped by paranoia while seeking his old existence."
Ingenious SF fantasy about bodyswapping. With many awards and 27 novels to his credit, Anderson (the inspired Dogged Persistence, 2000, about a black Lab made immortal through an injection of nannorepair units that rebuild injured or diseased bodies forever), a bestseller several times over, has written for the Star Wars, the X-Files, and the Dune series In Julio Cortázar's groovy 1966 Hopscotch, all chapters can be rearranged at whim for a new storyline. In Anderson, three adult orphans, set free at last from their sheltered upbringing at Falling Leaves, descend on the Club Masquerade center for body swappertunities. There, a big Hopscotch Board that lets one swap bodies with another club member. Garth weighs delivering a baby by swapping with a pregnant woman in her eighth month. Eduard makes a fast buck lending himself out as a patient and going through unpleasant experiences for others: surgeries, colds, dentistry. One's bank account can swell while one undergoes miseries for the elderly who hop about on your youthful hormones. Meanwhile, the orphans' straight friend, the freakishly intuitive Daragon Swan, works at the Bureau of Tracings and Locations, which keeps track of who's in what body. Read full book review >
DUNE: HOUSE CORRINO by Brian Herbert
Released: Oct. 9, 2001

"Even though the cracks are beginning to show, and the sheer narrative power of the superb original series is lacking, Dune in any guise is as addictive as the spice itself."
Third in the Dune prequel series from originator Frank Herbert's son Brian and collaborator Anderson (Dune: House Atreides, 1999, and Dune: House Harkonnen, 2000). Duke Leto Atreides plans to attack planet Ix and drive out the occupying genetic-whiz Tleilaxu, while his concubine Jessica must travel to the imperial capital, Kaitain, to give birth to her child—not the daughter she was ordered to bear by her Bene Gesserit superiors. The Emperor Shaddam grows crueler and less restrained as his conspiracy with the Tleilaxu to develop a synthetic substitute for the miraculous spice "melange" advances. Shaddam's coconspirator Ajidica, the Tleilaxu Master, has tested "amal" on himself and obtained a superhuman brain boost; better still, the imperial Sardaukar troops stationed on Ix are already addicted to amal, so that now they'll obey him rather than the Emperor. The Emperor's agent, Hasimir Fenring, isn't convinced that amal will be an effective substitute for melange and demands more tests. Regardless, Shaddam squeezes the Great Families to reveal their secret spice stockpiles; once equipped with amal, he can destroy planet Arrakis—the sole source of the natural spice—and hold the galaxy to ransom. The plot heads for one of those black-comic moments where everybody's holding a gun to somebody else's head. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2001

"Shining invention and talent and style."
Eighteen fantasy and SF stories by Anderson, a veteran novelizer and author with Doug Beason of several thrillers (Ignition, 1997, etc.). "A Whisper of the Caladan Seas," written with Frank Herbert's son Brian, carries on the Dune series with the first fiction about the planet since the master died. The story features much of the battle plans and weaponry in the original series, as the Harkonnen fight the Atreides, and turns on a mystical appearance of salt water on the desert planet. Though Scully and Mulder are not in the title piece, it was later used as the armature for Antibodies, one of Anderson's bestselling X-Files novelizations (he's done Stars Wars books too). "Dogged Persistence" concerns an immortal black Lab and the futuristic nannorepair units that, when injected, rebuild injured or diseased bodies forever. Anderson's "Prisoner of War" hangs from Harlan Ellison's teleplay "Soldier": Ellison posits future soldiers bred and trained to do nothing but fight from birth to death; Anderson suggests the horror of these same soldiers teetering on the abyss of peace when, taken prisoner in an underground paradise, Barto and Arviq find themselves disconcerted by food that doesn't taste like combat gruel and utterly disoriented by the absence of commands ringing in their heads. Rock fans will dig "Music Played on the Strings of Time," in which a failed musician goes to an alternate universe for five hours and finds that over there he had a hit record—before making Rolling Stone's obit page. In "Fondest of Memories," a man has his dead wife cloned and reprogrammed with only his fondest memories of her, then enters a kind of space hibernation for 30 years to await her maturity. Read full book review >
DUNE by Brian Herbert
Released: Oct. 10, 2000

"Authoritative, no. Still, the scenario's extraordinarily well developed and continually fascinating, and most fans will conclude that ersatz Dune is better than no Dune."
Second installment of the authors' prequel (Dune: House Atreides, 1999) to Frank Herbert's mighty Dune series. In the far-future galactic empire ruled by House Corrino's Shaddam IV, the genetic-whiz, pariah Tleilaxu continue their occupation of the machine planet Ix. The exiled Ixian leader Dominic Vernius smuggles melange, the miraculous spice produced by Dune's giant sandworms; unaware of Dominic's fate, his children, Rhombur and Kailea, are guests of Duke Leto Atreides on Caladan, where they plot revenge. Against his better judgment, Leto takes Kailea as his mistress; she bears him a son, Victor, but soon the relationship sours. Warrior-troubadour Gurney Halleck, first a slave on the Harkonnen home world Giedi Prime, escapes and joins Dominic. Duncan Idaho studies the art of swordplay on Ginaz. The evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen learns that the Bene Gesserit witches are to blame for his debilitating and disfiguring illness. The baron's nephew, Beast Rabban, murders his gentle, well-meaning parents. Shaddam's assassin-confidante, Hasimir Fenring, conspires with the Tleilaxu to develop an artificial source of melange. And Leto takes Jessica, a Bene Gesserit, as his concubine, unaware that Jessica's secret orders are to bear him a daughter who eventually will mate with Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, the superman who can see both past and future. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 12, 1999

Since Frank Herbert, author of the mighty Dune series (ending with Chapterhouse: Dune, 1985) died in 1986, rumors have been circulating that his son Brian (Sudanna, Sudanna, 1985) would continue the saga. Finally, in collaboration with Anderson (Star Wars novels, X-files novels, thrillers, etc.) he has: the action of this prequel occurs several decades before that of Dune, the series opener. In a far-future galactic empire, everything from commerce and politics to interstellar travel and longevity depends on a miraculous spice, mÇlange, whose sole source is the desert planet Arrakis. The Emperor, Elrood IX of House Corrino, sends scientist Pardot Kynes to Arrakis to study its puzzling ecology. Elrood's son Shaddam, meanwhile, plots with the assassin Hasimir Fenring to murder his father, while simultaneously prodding the old emperor to conspire with the despised, genetic-whiz Tleilaxu to develop an artificial source of the spice. A young, lean Baron Harkonnen oversees Arrakis and spice production, while his deadly rival, Paulus Atreides, sends his son, 14-year-old Leto, to planet Ix to study its sophisticated machines. The manipulative Reverend Mothers of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood require both Harkonnen and Atreides genes to achieve their long-standing objective of breeding an omniscient psychic that they can control while remaining dependent on a poisonous spice-liquor to ignite ancestral memories. Undeniably, the authors have accepted a formidable challenge. So how does their effort stack up against Frank Herbert's originals? Well, the plotting's as devious and complicated if less subtle, and it's comparable in scope, with gratifying inventive touches. Still, the disappointingly lightweight characters make for less powerful drama. In a word, satisfying: all Dune fans will want to investigate, newcomers will be tempted, and it should promote fresh interest in the magnificent original series. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: June 26, 1998

Before his self-glorification as the founder of Scientology, Hubbard was an inhumanly prolific pulp-fiction hack. This time, his original story is turned into a novel by Anderson (three X-Files novels, not reviewed here, and Ignition,1997, with Doug Beason). Hubbard insists that the tale is based on real incidents that sprang alive in his memory during the time he wrote Battlefield Earth (1982)—yet this somewhat comedic mistaken-identity novel also describes the shallow loyalities and convoluted worlds of American and Russian intelligence after the fall of the Soviet empire. When Russian and Cuban intelligence in Cuba notes that Lt. Tom Smith, of the USN Missile Security Section of the Office of Naval Intelligence, and Pedrito Miraflores, the notoriously mad but faithful Communist revolutionary leader, are exact doubles for each other, a plan is put into motion for switching their identities, with Tom Smith taking the fall for Pedrito's misdeeds south of the border and Pedrito assuming Smith's place in naval intelligence. Is this the greatest intelligence coup of the century? Well, not when—as the subtitle warns—intelligence goes wrong. The obligatory face-out scene comes when Smith and Miraflores are locked up together in a Cuban cell and one of them—the "real" Pedrito Miraflores—must be sent to Havana to be shot as a traitor. Dreadful preadolescent plotting in comic-strip prose. Read full book review >
IGNITION by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: March 26, 1997

Terrorists seize Cape Canaveral at the time of a shuttle launch in a new technothriller from Anderson and Beason (the eco-disaster novel Ill Wind, 1995; etc.). Film rights to Ignition have already been sold, and, indeed, it seems to have been written for easy adaptation into a script: One action scene follows another, and the characters, all stereotypes, are minimally drawn. Mr. Phillips, a fastidious type, the sort often cast as the mastermind in James Bond movies, surrounds himself with several assassins, one of whom is, of course, a slinky female, another of whom, you guessed it, is a pathological explosives-expert. The members of the team demonstrate their ruthlessness at an Ariane launch in French Guiana, blowing up a rocket just after it's launched. Several months later, they capture the command complex at Cape Canaveral just prior to a shuttle launch, blocking out communications with Houston and feeding tapes of prior launches to the public, until they have the mission under their own control. Mr. Phillips even disappoints as a stereotype, since he merely lusts for a ransom in jewels rather than global dominion. He's opposed by the astronaut who had been scheduled to command the mission, ``Iceberg'' Friese, suffering now from a broken ankle, and his sometime lover, the former astronaut Nicole Hunter. Lots of gun battles and explosions ensue as Iceberg saves the world, a US senator is made to look oafish, and the fussy Mr. Phillips falls out of a helicopter. Iceberg is interesting enough to carry the reader along, perhaps, and Anderson and Beason portray Merritt Island and NASA's launch complex convincingly, virtues which, for some, may be enough to excuse the silly plot. Even Steven Seagal's standards are higher than this, but blowing up the Vehicular Assembly Building ought to look good on the screen. (Film rights to Universal) Read full book review >
ILL WIND by Kevin J. Anderson
Released: June 1, 1995

A big, near-future disaster novel straddling the border between science fiction and technothriller, likely to appeal to fans of both. Anderson and Beason (coauthors of Assemblers of Infinity, 1993) begin with a huge oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The oil company decides to deploy an octane-eating bacteria, crossbred from two naturally occurring species, but the cure turns out to be worse than the disease: While scientists who bred the new bug swear it cannot spread beyond the spill, it contaminates gasoline in the tanks of cars crossing Golden Gate Bridge during the spraying. As each of the cars gasses up, the bacteria spreads to the gas in the service station tank. Worse, the bug soon develops an appetite for petroleum byproducts, in particular plastic and other synthetics. As the elaborate web of modern technology begins to disintegrate, the characters, a varied cast from all walks of life, are thrown back on their own resources for survival. A venial Louisiana congressman suddenly inherits the presidency; an insurance agent quits her job and takes to the wilderness; ghetto families from Oakland join forces with a hippie commune near Altamont; and a scientist developing a solar power facility in the New Mexico desert becomes the hope for technology's revival. Meanwhile, civilization degenerates into anarchy and cannibalism, the government attempts to retain control by increasingly harsh measures, and a good many protagonists die—usually nastily. In the end, there is hope, as the good guys manage to hang on in spite of all the forces ranked against them. Style and characterization are often clunky, but the fast- moving story pushes all the right emotional buttons for mass success: It's almost un-put-downable. Read full book review >