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The Ninth Circle: A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack

The Ninth Circle: A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack

4.5 4
by R. M. Meluch

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Fifth in the hard-hitting military science-fiction series.

On the distant world of Zoe, an expedition finds DNA-based life. When alien invaders are also discovered, Glenn Hamilton calls on the U.S.S. Merrimack for help. But the Ninth Circle and the Palatine Empire have also found Zoe. Soon everyone will be on a collision course to determine the


Fifth in the hard-hitting military science-fiction series.

On the distant world of Zoe, an expedition finds DNA-based life. When alien invaders are also discovered, Glenn Hamilton calls on the U.S.S. Merrimack for help. But the Ninth Circle and the Palatine Empire have also found Zoe. Soon everyone will be on a collision course to determine the fate of this planet.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"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."
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) (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) (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 

From the Hardcover edition.

Library Journal
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.

Product Details

Publication date:
Tour of the Merrimack , #5
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
764 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

R. M. Meluch is an American SF writer, and published the first of her Tour of the Merrimack series of military SF/space opera novels in 2005. She can be found at rmmeluch.com.

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The Ninth Circle: A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Farragut is sidelined behind a desk, his greatest gesture is to cry. Instead we get to hang out with Hamster and her mismatched husband for most of the book. Several chapters spent with them and smart-aleck alien foxes. For more boredom, LEN scientists are thrown in the mix to be clueless jerks amd nothing more. Second half of the book features Merrimack and that Mary Sue Cali Carmel vs. new aliens that we're supposed to hate--wait we want to save them--wait, no we hate them. Numi's motivations were murky, a new sinister threat looms off in the distance and Kerry Blue and her cohorts haven't evolved one bit. Done with this series. The Pirates had a meshed together sameness, I defy you to tell Leo from Nicandor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ninth circle is very cool, this the Romans have a hand up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the Merrimack series, but I have to admit I am not really sure how I feel about this book. It was different from the previous books of the Merrimack series, which doesn't make it bad, just . . . I guess I did like it but wasn't what I expected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
On the planet Phoenix, the small Roman unit gives newcomer Cinna a choice to jump or not from the Widow's Edge cliff. Frightened he assumes this is a test to prove he can overcome his natural instincts, but when he lands he leaves a red splat on the ground. His brothers in arms except Nox flee the scene, but Sector Primus Surveillance Center Observer Six watchers observe in horror but bet on the outcome of the incident. The late Cinna's brothers in arms are disgraced and kicked out of the legion. The Spring Beauty scientific expedition to the planet Zoe has the zenzoologists debating whether the native mammoths communicate even before they arrive. Scientists Patrick Hamilton and Peter Szasney are hostile towards each other. On remote Zoe, they find something that shakes the core of their belief system. As the former Roman unit turned into the Ninth Circle pirates, the crew of the U.S.S. Merrimack, troops loyal to the Roman Emperor Caesar Numa, and something more insidious converge on Zoe. The fifth tour of the warship U.S.S. Merrimack (see The Sagittarius Command; and Strength And Honor) is a fascinating entry as the war between the two human cultures remains heated but has a new player. Once again, R.M. Meluch makes a case that war is the waste of foolish politicians who send the young (but not their offspring) to die on remote worlds. The Ninth Circle is an engaging military science fiction tale that fans of the Merrimack will enjoy especially because there is a late twist while newcomers will feel lost on the spacefaring tour. Harriet Klausner