Hellhole, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, is the start of a new space-epic by the duo that continued the Dune series.
It's like A Game of Thrones in space. On one side is the Diadem Michella, a kind of Ruler/Queen, of The Constellation, a group of planets making up known civilization. On the other is General Adolphus, the leader of a rebellion against the Constellation, sentenced to live out his life in the Deep Zone of newly opened wild planets on the planet Hallholme, colloquially called Hellhole. Between them lies all the noble families of the Constellation vying for more power and their chance at the throne.
In the ten years of his exile, General Adolphus has been busy making friends and making plans. The Diadem, on the other hand, has been playing politics and trying to keep herself in power while those around her struggle to consolidate their own power in anticipation of whenever a new Diadem is appointed.
The story moves quickly, there are a handful of smaller plots most of which converge as the story progresses, building to the climax. Which ends just as it's heating up!
Hellhole is fun book with some surprises along the way. It's an easy read too, even though it's over 500 pages long. The characterizations aren't great though; most of the characters seem more like caricatures than fully fleshed out people. Hopefully future books in the series will make them more real. That's really my only complaint. I'm sure I'll continue reading this series.
Hellhole was provided to me for review by the publisher, and is due out March 15, 2011.