From the Publisher
Praise for the Tour of the Merrimack series:
“While Meluch depicts combat and warrior culture as well as any writer in the subgenre, the true joy of this outstanding effort…lies in its inspired use of current speculation on the origins of the universe, quantum singularities and even the old chestnut of time travel…. Meluch shows particular skill in creating memorable characters while exhibiting a refreshing ruthlessness in subordinating them to the logical ramifications of the plot.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review), for The Myriad
“Rousing far-future SF novel.... This is grand old-fashioned space opera, so toss your disbelief out the nearest air lock and dive in.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review), for Wolf Star
“Meluch is an excellent writer, and has a firm grasp of military tactics, character development and storytelling. A good substitute for those waiting for David Weber’s next Honor Harrington novel.” —Sacramento Book Review
“Enough action and suspense for three novels. Meluch’s wry, realistic wit finds the ludicrous in the military, sex in the military, and a dozen other matters. A treat for military sf buffs.” —Booklist, for The Sagittarius Command
“Fast action, hairbreadth escapes, and Meluch’s facility for humor in an astonishing range of situations incumbent on military life become the order of the day.... A fine yarn to chuckle along with, just like the previous Tour of the Merrimack adventures.” —Booklist, for Strength and Honor
“The Ninth Circle is an immensely readable book that flows very quickly and draws you in withsharp little hooks that demand you finish the book before you dream of beginning any other.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“A lovely sequel with excellent writing and wonderful characters…. This is a great read for people who liked Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey and Daniel Leary.” —SFRevu
“A heart-pounding thrill ride…. Fans of Star Trek and Heinlein alike will enjoy the story…a great story of space warfare and the triumph of the human spirit against insurmountable odds.” —Grasping for the Wind
Meluch makes her fifth trip (after 2008’s Strength and Honor) to the universe of the spacegoing warship U.S.S. Merrimack, a futuristic Roman Empire, and a nasty bunch of insectoid aliens. This time out, the Merrimack’s crew are up against space pirates, disgraced former Roman soldiers who take one of the crew members hostage. The pirates are just pawns in a larger game involving the commander of the Merrimack, the new Roman emperor, and the planet Zoe, where the discovery of DNA-based life raises theological questions and creates some highly desirable galactic real estate. Meluch piles on the hard science, but her scientist characters are over-the-top milksops, and the action sequences are oddly inert. This installment is clearly targeted at existing fans of the series, and newcomers will find it tricky to get up to speed. (Nov.)
"The Ninth Circle is an immensely readable book that flows very quickly...[with] wonderful character development and smart story-pacing."
Mixed Book Bag
"The Ninth Circle is science fiction written the way I love. There is action, adventure, great characters and a wonderful plot. Once I started reading I did not want to put it down."
"For the kind of day where what you want to do is lop the tentacles off everything in sight with a sword while standing on the outer hull of a spaceship. Don’t tell me everyone doesn’t have days like that."
Night Owl Reviews
"The Ninth Circle is an introduction for me to the U.S.S. Merrimack series and I must say it is a most excellent one.... [It] is the kind of story for me that, once it finished, made me want to say, 'Next, please.' I look forward to exploring the previous books in the U.S.S. Merrimack series and await the next installment."
Exiled after a hazing gone fatally wrong, a unit of Palantine Empire soldiers steals a spaceship and resorts to piracy, calling themselves the Ninth Circle. At the same time, members of the rival Terran Empire's space battleship, U.S.S. Merrimack, join a scientific expedition to the planet Zoe, where they make an unexpected discovery—the presence of DNA-based life. When both Terran and Palatine forces meet up on Zoe, the political standoff threatens a delicate truce and the fate of a peaceful world. VERDICT Meluch's fifth series installment (after Strength and Honor) takes a personal approach to military sf. The author concentrates on her protagonists' interactions rather than battles. Still, the action is fast and furious, and combats are inevitable. A good variation of the standard military sf that will attract readers who enjoy David Drake, Timothy Zahn, and David Weber.