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Publisher's Summary

With Earth in the path of the rapacious Posleen, the Galactic Federation offers help to the backward humans - for a price. You can protect yourself from your enemies, but God save you from your allies!
©2000 John Ringo; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • james
  • Hartselle, AL, United States
  • 03-05-09

Definitive Ringo

This is military SF written by an author with military experience. If you judge books by PC standards, skip this one. It's violent, pro-military, pro-US, hilarious in places, and extremely satisfying. It's thick with rank, tradition, jargon, and tactical detail, but even if you don't like that it's still worth the listen just to get to the "Immigrant Song" scene.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • New Orleans, LA United States
  • 03-23-09

We're not alone...

Some ETs have arrived to warn us that we've got five years to prepare to be invaded by really hungry, really dangerous aliens. This story is the start of a series that seems to get better as it goes (not that the first books aren't great!). The action is almost nonstop, and you can't help wondering how we're going to survive the roller coaster of preparation, off-world battles, and political change in the face of invasion.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Excellent story... a bit heavy on the swearing.

What did you love best about A Hymn Before Battle?

The story was solid. The technology was very well described, but not mired down in so much technical babble that the listener was lost. The characters were great.

Which character – as performed by Marc Vietor – was your favorite?

Mike O'Neal

Any additional comments?

Couldn't wait to hear what was going to happen next. At least 3 distinct story lines running in the book. They are all working toward the dame goal, victory, and they were written so well that it was easy to transition between each one as the chapters changed.I immediately purchased and downloaded the second book in the series.For those of you who, like myself, cringe when hearing profanity or taking the Lord's name in vein, this book has lots of both. fair warning. That is the only reason I rated the story 4 stars instead of 5.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Another heads up!

Why pay $4.95 for this "Audio Book Du Jour" when the kindle edition is $0.00 (Caution there are 2 Kindle editions - make sure you select the right one) and after you "purchase" that book the Audible audiobook is $1.99. Obviously this is not a review but I didn't know where else to post.

80 of 92 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Just Plain Fun

I listened to this book while I was recovering from the flu and it was amazingly fun. John Ringo delivers the story in a way which is satisfying for the sci-fi enthusiast the gun geek and arm chair generals alike.

Combined with the masterful reading delivered by Marc Vietor. While I wish there could have been a bit more of range in the voices Marc Vietor did an awesome job of delivering the gruff battle toughened voice of the main character and the click-clack sounds of the "Tchpth".

While I wish I could say I saw the ending coming I did not, however it was immensely satisfying. The action pace combined with intrigue that was woven into the story definitely has me coming back for more!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • cincinnati, OH, United States
  • 08-10-09


The first 2 chapters of the book are boring,but once you get out of those, it's awesome.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 07-13-09

Hard Core Blood and Guts Military Sci Fi

Great audiobook. Narrator's marine drill sargent voice is perfect for the military sci-fi genre and varies his voice well for different characters. Battles are outstanding. The writer lets the reader do the imagining on much of the aliend world detail, but the soldiering and action are reflective of the author's military experience. Sometimes the story gets a little "jargonny" for the non-vet, but bearing through it should not confuse the average reader in the end. Stories are not so out of touch with today that we can't relate to the equipment and the people. However, it is clearly written pre - 9/11/01, so some lee-way has to be given to the story line when it discussed life without war in 2001 and 2002.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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You SURELY get your Money's Worth With Ringo!

Let me say up front, I may be a bit biased when it comes to Ringo's Writing.. the man is a prolific writer, turning out an INCREDIBLE number of books in bursts along the way, each with so much accuracy and detail it's amazing! I've had the pleasure of covering some of the same ground as Ringo being 11Bravo, and have spent much time at Dragon*Con talking with him and his wife out at the pool-side Breezeway (surrounded by many other fans).

I also own a Mountain Top Ranch in the Mountains between Greenville SC, and the North East Georgia Mountains where the majority of the battles take place in this series. I found myself constantly looking at "Nuclear Yields" and "Prevailing Winds" to see if my Ranch survived the actions, and as of the last book in the series, we seem to have come out OK,even though being DEEP in Posleen Territory ;) You can literally pull up a Google Map of the Areas where the Battles take place and track them road by road, Mountain Pass by Mountain Pass, Stream and creek by stream and creek, which is a LOT of fun!

Being Retired Military, and a Semi-Retired Electrical Engineer, I can usually "Pick books apart on bad technical details", things like "Misunderstandings between the differences of "Geiger Counters" and "Survey Meters"", etc.. But in a later book in this series, just as I think "Oh John, how could you screw up THIS detail? No way they could be that badly irradiated by a splash of 'Contaminated water!'" John turns the whole incident into a Funny Set of circumstances caused by one of the characters that mistakenly misused a Radiation Meter, and didn't know that pure water can't be contaminated by Radioactivity (Obviously John knew!)...

The series is FULL of John's typical "Side Stories" that branch off into technical details that get a little boring sometimes, and lots of "Training Details, and "Hoo-Yah", but end up being part of something VERY funny in future books in the series and always tie in somewhere along the line... During the Final book (so far) in the series I laughed so hard in places I woke my wife up repeatedly... then later she woke ME up laughing repeatedly (We use Audible's "iPhone App" to listen to books, which is an AWESOME App, FULL of great features... We also use "Sleep Phones" I modified to "Blue-Tooth" instead of "Wired" to listen to books at night in bed!)

I admit I got a little tired of hearing things like, "Like trying to hold back an avalanche with a fire-hose", and "Wiped the off the face of the earth", and several other sayings that were used a bit too often in the first 4 books, but that's so minor I feel petty mentioning it.

Ringo quotes a LOT of Kipling in all of his books in this series, which is great, and in the last few books he switches to quoting lyrics from the CruxShadows, which I believe he got into during Dragon*Con (I know *I* did), but it works!

Throughout the series there are references to "Star-Wars", "Space Balls", "The Princess Bride", "Monty Python" and several other Cult Classic Movies and TV Shows and Comic Books... But I found them hilarious since I know those cult classics well.

What I really love about Ringo's writing is that he's so accurate in his technical details, when he teaches you something new, you can take it as a given, he's done his research!

I really hope there is a continuation of the series since it's left WIDE OPEN for a whole NEW long series of books! I've also written and asked Audible to see about bringing in the Series of books "The Council Wars", which I read in paperback years ago, and would LOVE to have in Audio-Book form. Audible is usually VERY good about quickly getting books you may ask for by popular writers, so I'm hoping they can pick that series up also!

Marc Vietor does a FANTASTIC Job of Narrating, as usual! Much like "John Lee", I think I could listen to Marc Read a Dictionary and find it interesting ;)

If you love Hard Military Sci-Fi, Ringo is one of the Greats! His books are right up there with Richard K Morgan, Charles Sheffield, Alastair Reynolds, and the other "Deep thinkers of Realistic Far-Future Sci-Fi", yet with a style uniquely his own!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Edgar
  • Brandon, FL, United States
  • 08-16-12

Read it Now Heard It

My 3rd time, read twice now heard audio still love it. John Ringo is a master of Military SciFi

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Get Greedy. Stay Hungry. Step Up To The Table!

I've enjoyed a wonderful variety of scifi and fantasy audiobooks here at Audible over the years, but I need to preface this review with a growing personal preference when it comes to my audiobook selections.

The more I listen over the years, my tastes have further refined. Now it seems, I prefer a GREAT audiobook SERIES, when and IF it ever occurs, one that carries the great writing, storyline and character development MUCH further than a single audio telling. And, of course, the writer needs to be good. VERY good. So, you know what that means. Slim pickings. But.

When it DOES occur, it's wonderful. It's extremely satisfying. It's like watching The Walking Dead, my favorite television series. Some of the episodes are better than others, sometimes I get frustrated at the pace, sometimes I shout at the screen, in shock, joy, anger or disbelief, giving profound character advice or brilliant script opinions. My sometimes verbally graphic and demonstrative rantings at the characters or plot lines are as R rated as the show.

So, I'm becoming the frustrating guy at the dinner party that wants more than one serving of the turkey - There's one at EVERY dinner party. I want seconds. I want thirds. Fourth's, please.

It's all about me. Me, me, me.

So, if you feel the same way, seeking a greater and longer personal satisfaction in your listening experience, and like military scifi, this first in the series by John Ringo, a military and political scifi writer, is a launchpad that will definitely propel you into a twelve book series here at Audible that will keep your attention. The narrator adds just the right accents, both human and alien to the work, expressed with feeling and continuity.

Here's a brief overview that will get you started. Again, no spoilers, no secrets, no giveaways:

In the early 21st century, Earth is approached by a pacific federation of alien races in need of earth's warlike tendencies, soldiers to save them from a race of vicious predators who also threaten Earth as well and the federation itself. A multinational and elite army of warriors gather to protect both Earth and the universe. They quickly discover that their allies have their own dark agendas and unique challenges. Even some of the leaders of earth are puppets for a much larger plan that has yet to be revealed.

Ringo's first novel is a fast-paced scifi military action story personified, boiling with acidic humor, character and future technology development, political intrigue, military life, and extremely vivid battle scenes. It so well lays the groundwork for what's ahead, that I went for seconds, thirds, fourths and more. I've acquired ALL of the audiobooks in the series, and am thoroughly enjoying them.

So, get greedy. Stay hungry. Step up to the table, and get a heaping helping of Ringo's "A Hymn Before Battle."

I'm thinking you'll want seconds, thirds and fourths at this awesome audiobook party.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 06-24-15

Good scfi

Really good story, a little slow for my liking but in general a damn good bit of space Sci-fi. very much enjoying and a really good performance. Thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • bettyandjohn
  • 03-05-15

Ten out of Five thats how good it was

Where does A Hymn Before Battle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was interesting and I am glad it was included, as it made me laugh, and look forward to reading all of his books.

What did you like best about this story?

The story line, the characters and the way it was written

What about Marc Vietor’s performance did you like?

He is such an imaginative writer, and has a great way of expressing himself.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed and cried, the characters are real

Any additional comments?

Read Chris Fieldwarer IRA Intrusion, not to the high standard of Victors writing, but enjoyable, also the Contagion books

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Harvey M Bell
  • 11-19-13

Brilliant storie, grate naration, Highley recomend

Would you listen to A Hymn Before Battle again? Why?

YES a good store well told is always worth a second telling

Who was your favorite character and why?

Michal O'Neal plays the typical hero.

Which character – as performed by Marc Vietor – was your favourite?

To mant to name, both goodies and villians

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's to long for me to take in one hit.

Any additional comments?

If you like the Stat Force series, I feal sure you will like this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful