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An ancient chinese emperor stakes his own dark claim to earth...
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Teaser:A sacred pyramid in China is invaded by what appears to be a ruthless Tong crime lord and his army. But a stunning artifact and a desperate summons for the Cerberus exiles puts the true nature of the looming battle into horrifying perspective. Kane and his rebels must confront a four-thousand-year-old emperor, an evil entity as powerful as any nightmare now threatening humankind's future....
Circle of DeathThe mysterious barons who once controlled postapocalyptic America have evolved into their true entities, inhuman overlords poised to reclaim the planet they were forced to abandon millennia ago. All that stands between the complete enslavement of the human race is a group of exiles, waging war against an enemy of unlimited power and patience.
Reign of TerrorA sacred pyramid in China is invaded by what appears to be a ruthless Tong crime lord and his army. But a stunning artifact and a desperate summons for the Cerberus exiles puts the true nature of the looming battle into horrifying perspective. Kane and his rebels must confront a four-thousand-year-old emperor, an evil entity as powerful as any nightmare now threatening humankind's future....
Another Rousing Adventure
Hydra's Ring is yet another strong entry in the Outlanders series. It has all the elements of high adventure that make the series great, with globe-spanning action and deep characterizations. Most interesting, the story greatly expands on the character of Erica Van Sloane and shows off a previously unseen vulnerable and human side to her personality. Which doesn't make her any less dangerous, just more complex. Also very interesting was taking a minor villian from a past book, Wei Qiang, and turning into an ancient warlord bent on returning to his position of power.
What I find most enjoyable about this series are the little nuances. Where many books in this genre have cardboard-cutout characters and simple plotlines, Outlanders continues to use a wealth of characterization to propel the storylines. Erica Van Sloane manages to be both sympathetic and antagonistic, often at the same time. The internal struggle by Lakesh, who fears losing his regained youth and might be tempted by the regenerative powers of the Hydra's Ring, creates another strong dynamic to the story.
The action is varied and well executed, particularly a riverboat battle sequence that is truly breathtaking. I struggled between rating this a 9 or a 10, and in the end decided to go with a 10. It is not a series-altering spectacle like Children of the Serpent or Devil in the Moon, but the simple truth is that the story is perfectly executed with no missteps along the way.
Right on target!
In Hydra's Ring, Mark Ellis is once again right on target, providing a gripping combination of rousing action, history, mythology and character analysis, as well as suspenseful intrigue.
The latest entry in the Outlanders series starts with the reintroduction of a minor character from a book published several years ago, who it turns out is far more than what he seemed to be.
The little old Wei Qiang is actually Xuyauan Shi, the immortal Yellow Emperor of China who has lived under different names for thousands of years.
Then we revisit Erica van Sloan, last seen in Children of the Serpent. Her pyramid in Xian, China is under siege by the army of Wei Qiang, and she seeks the aid of the ever-resourceful Cerberus warriors to foil the ruthless Yellow Emperor in his bid to recover the nine hydra rings and the the Kai Bu Xiu, the Armor of Immortality.
Of course, the story isn't that simple, as Kane, Brigid, Grant and Mohandus Lakesh Singh find out when they become embroiled in a conflict that began thousands of years before in ancient China.
Hydra's Ring is another great installment in this masterful, long-running series and it will appeal equally to devoted fans of Outlanders and to s.f. and action-adventure readers.
As usual, Mark Ellis weaves history, legend and lore into the fiction. He excels at describing action scenes, from big military battles to the smaller scale of hand-to-hand combat.
His characters are always colorful and vivid. The humor and humanity he gives the Cerberus warriors makes it easier to accept their larger-than-life heroics.
I've been reading this series for almost ten years and until Mark Ellis stops writing them, I won't stop reading them.
Another great book in a great series by a great author
by Cerberus Man
It's hard to review Hydra's Ring because all I can do is repeat what others have said about it. Once I started reading it I could not put it down until it was finished.
It was fast paced, exciting and very surprising. It has high adventure, drama, comedy, excellent character development and a gripping plot.
I especially enjoyed seeing Erica Van Sloan portrayed as being strong and decisive instead of a conniving b***ch. All the characters come off like they have real lives outside of the book .
They're not static. Unlike the fill-in work by Victor Milan, Kane, Brigid, Grant and Lakesh aren't rewritten with their names just tacked onto strangers.
When they're written by their "father", Mark Ellis, I feel like I'm visiting old friends or family.
In this book, we find the Cerberus warriors involved in a war in 23rd century China where they're trapped inside enemy lines, unable to escape unless they reach the Tomb of the Three Sovereigns ahead of Wei Qiang.
All of the Outlanders books by Mark Ellis hold some unexpected twists worked into the action and Hydra's Ring is no exception. There's also a torture-mutilation scene that left me wincing.
Wei Qiang made for a vicious, intelligent villain and in the best Ellis-style, he's not what he seemed to be when he was first introduced several years ago as a minor character.
Another great book in a great series by a great author.
Another great book in a long line!
This is one great book. You don't have to be familiar with the Outlanders series to enjoy Hydra’s Ring, but the reintroduction of Erica Van Sloane makes the plot that much more colorful. The action descriptions are incrediblle, and unlike the fill-in books by Victor Milan, the characters don't deviate from their established personnas.Hydra's Ring
offers perfect proof that OL is the best series published by Gold Eagle and it deserves more respect from the publisher than what its been getting, especially with their overdone attention to the basically mediocre Rogue Angel series.
This intelligent, action-packed adventure allows Mark Ellis to do what he does best, especially dealing with the mystery and hidden history of humanity, this time dealing with the first emperor of ancient China. Fans of the classic movie Big Trouble In Little China will get a laugh out of a couple of the references.
In Hydra’s Ring, we fans are treated to the quip-filled dialogue and ass-kicking action that we've come to expect from the creator of series, but Mark Ellis goes a step further here, presenting the main cast of characters with a more fully-developed dynamic of enduring relationships. Lakesh is part of the away team this time around, and his interaction with Domi, Kane, Grant, Brigid and even Erica is very entertaining.
You definately get the impression that the Cerberus warriors enjoy being out in the field on grand adventures, even if they snipe at each other on occasion. Some of the dialogue is very funny, like a confused discussion about finding a Chinese pirate with the last name of ‘Ho”.
The basic plot is classic OL—an epic quest for an ancient artifact that may or not make people immortal. It is full of journeys over land and water, gun and sword fights with Chinese river pirates, great battle scenes between two opposing armies and even Cylon like Chinese robots! The Oriental locations are described very colorfully, and the whole book is like a big-budget movie played out in your imagination.
But once again it’s the characters that make this book shine…Wei Qiang, the vicious 5,000 year old warlord who makes a great Fu Manchu-like villain, the sexy and elegant Erica, and even minor characters, like Captain Sun Fan and Musgrave, a member of the Millennial Consortium.
Hydra’s Ring is a great action-adventure novel, as good as or better than anything on the shelves today.
Setting the bar, yet again
It always seems that I'm pretty much the last person to get the latest issue of Outlanders and read it. I guess maybe I should subscribe to Gold Eagle's reader service, but honestly, why bother when other than Rogue Angel, I don't read any of the titles offered by the company?
I digress -
I have stated before in a previous review that Outlanders follows a set formula, one that should be followed by each and every author who is either contributing or wishes to contribute to this long running series. It should include an exotic location, beautiful, intelligent women, an ancient and mystical artifact and serious conflict.
It shouldn't include poorly written characters, un-researched locations or technology, rehashed characters from long dead series or even un-needed sex scenes.
Of course, with Hydra's Ring, you have the former, not the latter. One of the most refreshing aspects of the novel was the distinct lack of retelling of many facts and tidbits of information that we've had to skip over for several years now.
Although not earth shattering as some of the previous novels have been such as Children of the Serpent, it was still an entertaining read. An old enemy introduced way back in Wreath of Fire has made a re-appearance, and a secret he's been hiding for is revealed. Erica van Sloan also plays a pivotal role in this novel, showing the reader a side of her that few suspected existed. Lakesh's character has to deal with the consequences of his actions, and he actually manages to shine on a mission with Kane, Grant and Brigid.
As usual, location plays a key factor in the novel, being set in China along the Yangtze River. Several historical locations are visited with surprising results, not to mention bloodshed.
Of course ancient Annunaki technology plays a pivotal role in the novel as many of the readers have come to expect over the years.
by )3az )3aziah
With the release of Hydra’s ring we have yet another first class entry into the continuing Outlanders series by Mark Ellis. As with all the other books he has offered us this one is again filled with colourful, energetic and absorbing characters and strangely fascinating perceptions of a future world.
This time the tale unfolds around the history and mythology of ancient China, chiefly the legend of the Yellow Emperor and his quest for immortality. Marks obvious knowledge (or extensive pre writing research) provides him with sound and solid platform on which he constructs this epic adventure tale. His ability to throw myth, historical fact and Archeology into the same mixing pot and come out each and every time with a fresh action packed tale leaves me wanting more with each book that is offered to us.
Not only is the tale epic but the adversaries are too. We are given the almost immortal Wei Qiang, Chinese river boat pirates, giant mechanical guardians, midget tomb guards and the return of the Millennial Consortium in the guise of the weasel Werner Musgrave. Back to is the sexy vileness’ Erica Van Sloan –the Dragon Mother, who with her ruthless and seductive manner has not only those in her employ falling for her charms but one of the masterminds behind the Cerberus crew doing the same too.
The dialogue as always is well written, sharp and in many situations witty. Written with intelligence and skill throughout it provides a fully satisfying read from the first page to the last.
If you have never read an Oulanders book before give this one a try, I can guarantee you will be hooked within the first five pages.
I know, Mark Ellis wrote it, it was an excellent read and we got to see the "not so bad" side of Erica Van Sloan. Wei Quiang dropped a long way since his hey days as the Yellow Emperor, all the way down to a not so influential Pirate Lord. You can even see him moonlighting as Huang Di in the citybuilder game Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
All great except for almost a third of the book being rerun. Nothing against Mark Ellis at all, but maybe the publishers could prologue a ministory of all the characters and how they came to be where they are. Or publish a "new reader" issue with all the history of our favorite group of heroes.
Am I the only one that gets tired of flipping past paragraph after paragraph of the same old same old?
But to new readers...Hydra's Ring is definitely one of the Outlanders you must have in your new collection.
Pirates, Immortal Emperors, and Erica!
by The Phantom
Hydra's Ring brings back the character of Erica Van Sloan, one of my favorites in the series. But more than that, we see the return of Wei Qaing, first seen in Wreath Of Fire. His return has a major suprise, and the scene where Kane and crew meet up with him is one of the highlights of the novel.
As always, this OL installment from Mark Ellis brings much adventure, exotic lands, and ancient history and artifacts into the story. The descriptions of the landscapes they travel through in China, and the temples and buildings provide a rich tapestry, background and settings for the Cerberus crew's latest adventure.
Another strong point in the book is the excellent scenes taking place on the river. The battles with pirates was a nice touch.
I loved the plot with the nine rings and the armor of immortality. An excellent ending taking place in the mausoleum. Again the mixture of ancient alien technology, cultures, characters, and legends make a fascinating reading experience.
I don't consider this book to be among the very best, but still Hydra's Ring is good enough to rate a ten.
Bring on Skull Throne!