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The Spoils of War by Alan Dean Foster
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The Spoils of War

by Alan Dean Foster

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Over the course of these three novels, you learn a lot about different alien societies that are part of the Weave or the Purpose.

In this novel, we spend a lot of time with Wais, the bird like aliens who are the keepers of culture, manners, and are also expert translators.

All aliens in space are afraid of humans. Civilized races do not relish war and fighting like the humans do, which is great when they are on your side. but if they were to turn on you, then that could cause a galactic disaster.

Here is the story of a Wais who breaks her cultural norms to become a scholar who studies the interactions of humans and non-humans in battle conditions. She is almost a daredevil in comparison to other Wais. In her studies, she is coming up with a theory she really wants to disprove. She is afraid that after the war is over, the humans will have to channel their aggression somewhere. Her early conclusions are that, perhaps, they will war against the Masood or return to internal wars.

Remember the previous novel, False Mirror, where we learned of the genetically manipulated humans that were reversed by Weave scientists? All of the survivors of the genetic manipulation have created a secret society, known as the "Core". Once our Wais stumbles upon the existence of the Core, and what they can do, the stakes become very high indeed. Due to her intelligence and daring (for a Wais), she convinces a member of the Core to allow her to be their historian and sociologist, providing a non-human viewpoint in their various deliberations.

This is the spring board for the rest of the fascinating tale. She works to convince the Core of her theories that the humans will either destroy themselves, or turn on other Weave races after the war is finished.

There is indeed a conclusion to the War somewhere in this novel, and the aftermath has many twists in it that I didn't see coming.

In all this was a very entertaining series, with well developed characters through them all. And this was my favorite of all three. ( )
  NightHawk777 | May 21, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For John Soderberg: sculptor
Fellow shaper of the aether
Fellow Explorer
First words
"I wish that you would not do this thing>..."
Quotations
The impending social isolation did not trouble her the way it would have an ordinary citizen. Serious researchers spend the majority of their time working in solitude anyway, while historians in particular tend to stumble awkwardly through reality, their minds constantly adrift in other times and places.
Languages were a matter of sorted sounds, of which their were always a finite number. Translating was simply a cataloging problem. For reasons the Wais had never been able to quite comprehend, all other species seemed to find this difficult. Like the rest of her kind she felt sorry for those who were forced to rely for communication on on simple, primitive systems - which meant ever species that was not Wais.
Most humans had only their inadequate words with which to try and elucidate interpersonal relationships. Under such primitive conditions it was a wonder any matings survived long enough to produce offspring.
Human soldiers had pet nicknames for all non-Human species, friend and foe alike. Even though they resembled emus far more than diminutive bright yellow songbirds, all Wais were "canaries," just as the Massood were "rats" and the Amplitur "squids," and so on into the depths of human inventiveness.
"Do not feel singled out. Because of our solitary natures we choose to have as little contact as possible with all other beings. We regard this, as you would say, as a necessary evil. We regard life itself as a necessary evil."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345375769, Mass Market Paperback)

The Weave was on the verge of winning a decisive victory after a milennia of war, thanks to their new allies from earth. But then the birdlike Wais scholar Lalelang found evidence that Humans might not adapt well to peace. Researching further, she uncovered a secret group of telepathic Humans called the Core, who were on the verge of starting another war, and then eliminating Lalelang. At the last moment, she was saved by a lone Core commander. He took a chance on her intelligence and compassion, and gambled the fate of Humanity on the possibility that together, they could find an alternative to a galaxy-wide bloodbath....

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:10 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Overcoming her instinctive aversion to violence, the birdlike Wais scholar Lalelelang has chosen to study Humans in their natural element--combat.

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