Introducing a new epic, The Saga of the Seven Suns, HIDDEN EMPIRE is SF on a grand scale. Humanity takes to the stars in generation ships, but aren't successful pioneers until an ancient alien race shows them habitable planets and gives them stardrive capability. Now humans want to demonstrate their technical prowess.

Xeno-archeologists Margaret and Louis Colicos decipher technology from an extinct third race—and create a new sun. However, only Margaret and Ildiran observers see spherical ships escape from the sun's core, ships that soon start destroying human outposts in retaliation for destroying their homeworld.

Mr. Anderson creates richly detailed characters and planets. His humans have the usual foibles, perhaps slightly parodied, and his aliens have a realistic "otherness." There isn't a lot of conflict resolution, as this book is more background for the new series. (Jul., 432 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kelly Rae Cooper