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Publisher's Summary

An explosive new science fiction series by New York Times best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson, Hidden Empire is the first volume in The Saga of the Seven Suns, modeled after the Star Wars and X-Files universes. Anderson has become the foremost science fiction writer of the century, bringing to life vivid characters and worlds that delight his fans across the galaxy.

The Klikiss, a now-extinct alien civilization, left behind vast technological information that has been discovered by two xenoarchaeologists. One discovery, a device that converts gas planets into life-giving suns is quickly put to the test with unimaginable results. Arising out of the test is a new alien species that threatens every human. Mankind is left with the dim reality, either fight the new alien life form or face humiliation, death, and extinction.

This riveting adventure swings you from one wonderous realm to another as the Hidden Empire is sought after and exposed. Anderson has created a gripping beginning to what will surely be his best series yet. George Guidall has returned a stellar performance and brought these characters to life in vivid detail.

Don't miss a minute of the action in Kevin J. Anderson's Saga of Seven Suns.
©2002 WorldFire, Inc.; (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"In this stellar launch of a new series, bestseller Anderson...delivers action, engaging characters, and credible fantastic worlds." (Publishers Weekly)
"Full of battles, chases, and hairbreadth escapes...this is also an intelligently conceived and executed nailbiter." (Booklist)
"Anderson's skill in delivering taut action scenes and creating well-rounded human and alien characters adds depth and variety to a series opener that belongs in most sf collections." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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It's not as bad as my review makes it sound

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It's wasn't a total waste.

What could Kevin J. Anderson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Hired an editor.

Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Guidall is an excellent reader. I think some of the negative comments are from listeners who don't think aliens have perfect Midwestern U.S. accents. Let's face it, Patrick Tull can't narrate >every< book.

Could you see Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 1 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

George Lucas already did it.

Any additional comments?

Having just finished Peter F Hamilton's wonderful Commonwealth and Void series I was looking to see if there were other big space operas available on Audible.<br/><br/>I noticed the mixed reviews for this book, but the fact that it was read by the great George Guidall and produced by Recorded Books LLC, the world's best audio book publisher, tipped the scales and I risked a credit on 'Hidden Empire'. <br/><br/>The narration and technical production quality are world class, way better than the average audio book.<br/><br/> I don't mind a book that starts kind of slow and takes some time to develop an ensemble cast. Still, 'Hidden Empire' took forever for the action to start, as many reviewers have noted.<br/><br/>There were some aspects of this book that were really irritating:<br/><br/>1) The existence of the 'Hidden Empire' is made totally obvious to the whole Galaxy in the first chapter. <br/><br/>After the humans put on a big show for the galaxy the 'hidden' Aliens appear and practically tow a banner behind their spaceships saying 'you've really PO'd us, humans!'. <br/><br/> Yet none of the characters remark on it. The one guy who had secret ancient knowledge about these guys doesn't really act on his knowledge. <br/><br/> Pretty soon the hidden aliens are kicking human and Ildiran butt from one end of the spiral arm to the other. Humans and Ildirans remain clueless. <br/><br/> Finally the hidden aliens get so frustrated with stupid bipeds that they literally show up on a king's doorstep and spell out the obvious facts of life. The King asks the alien 'what do you want', and the alien says 'we want you to die'....oh wait, that was Independence Day. This alien actually said 'get off our lawn'. But I'm pretty sure he wants us humans to all die.<br/><br/> And faced with total disaster, possibly total annihilation, the Ildirans continue their palace intrigues and earth's corporations still plot against the consumer to maximize their ill-gotten profits. <br/><br/>Only the heroic 'Roamers' seem to have a clue. We have to hope that Ildiran's Prince Charming can save us.<br/><br/>By design I think the Roamers are the only characters in the novel that I didn't hate. <br/><br/>Roamers are colorful rouges flying beat up old space ships that they hot rod to be faster than those belonging to the corrupt Empire government. They hang out at the Cantana....oh wait, that was Star Wars.<br/><br/>2) It's really hard for a human author to create aliens who are not just humans in rubber suits. I understand that. <br/><br/>But Anderson doesn't really even try. His 'Ildirans' ARE HUMAN! <br/><br/> Their teenagers are hot for our teen agers. <br/><br/>We can have a doomed romance between earth teenager Juliet and Ildiran teen Romeo.<br/><br/>Ildirans have a king clearly based on earth's Chinese Emperors. The Ildiran king does resemble a giant slug, I'm sure he keeps a hot human princess on a chain.<br/><br/>They have knights who joust with lances. <br/><br/>They have a military rank system patterned on earth's Roman Empire and Catholic church, complete with medals and officers hungry for promotion. <br/><br/>They have a caste system similar to that in India. <br/><br/>Perhaps in the next novel Anderson will copy Turtledove's 'Lizard' aliens. Turtledove Lizards drive Lizard cars to shop at Lizard Walmart and jog in Lizard Central Park. At least Turtledove's Lizards can't interbreed with humans. <br/><br/>3) Present day earth hippies move into the forest to live with and talk to trees, and evolve to have green skins. They don't have round doors on their houses though. <br/><br/> I will say Anderson shows some imagination with the use of trees to solve the perennial SciFi problem of communicating over interstellar distances. <br/><br/>3) Earth has a King who is a puppet of Evil Corporations. PLEEZZZE. Can't somebody sometime think of a system of government for humans that's NOT based on royalty or all powerful corrupt corporations? <br/><br/>4) Protocol droids like C3PO, ah, excuse me... 'Compi' droids like 'Ox' provide comic relief and with their long memories provide historic background for the other characters. <br/><br/>Summary:<br/><br/>I just about gave up on the book, but stuck with it and things actually started to happen in the last few hours. <br/><br/>The last few hours of the book were actually fun, despite all the silliness of the characters. <br/><br/>This book ends on a cliffhanger, in a way very similar to the way Hamilton ended 'Pandora's Star'<br/><br/>.I admit that I am tempted to buy the second volume just to see if Ozzie goes over the waterfall......opps, excuse me again... just to see if the nice old lady escapes death at the hands, er, claws of [REDACTED].<br/><br/>Kidding aside, I really am tempted to continue with the series based on the way the story improved near the end. Anderson is no Hamilton, Asimov, or O'Brian, but I don't consider I wasted a credit to buy this first volume.

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Good...But Not Exactly Rocket Science

If you could sum up Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 1 in three words, what would they be?

Galactic Soap Opera

Would you recommend Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 1 to your friends? Why or why not?

Simply answered yes. The story as a whole was enjoyable. A very good introduction to the cast of characters and context in which the rest of the books will play out. The narration elevated what I believe to be a somewhat simple story with mildly interesting plot twists and predictable elements. The human race is fragmented into groups that don't get along. There are the big bad aliens who seem to be inherently evil. One of the major sources of conflict is over natural resources, whether it be star drive fuel or green priests (albeit an interesting natural resource as they themselves are human). There is a group of mysterious ancient robots who claim to not remember anything from their now extinct creators. Overall I enjoyed the story as a lengthy light read. There was not a great deal along the line of challenging my way of thinking or philosophy, but sometimes the books that don't make you think are the best indulgences.

Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

Mage-Imperator Cyroc'h

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

[Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!] The death of Louis Colicos

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  • Shawn
  • United States
  • 10-07-11

Fantastic Listen!

This is a great story - huge, sweeping space-opera epic that features numerous characters and plots. If you're a fan of Anderson's Dune books, you'll love this series. It's not a rapid-fire pulp novel, this is a grand tale in the manner of George RR Martin or even Tolkien. There isn't a lot of action, true; but it's a massive setting that requires a thorough background. It's absolutely worth the listen, though, because it is a wonderful ride. Guidall is a superb narrator, and really brings the characters to life. Overall, a great listen, thoroughly entertaining!

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  • Deno52
  • Bradley, Ca United States
  • 05-23-11


this was a poor story and excution one the only books i bought that i wish i had not.

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Australian: Can't get the whole series

I found this engaging and interesting enough. By the end I was hooked enough to want to continue with the series. But once again I have been caught by Audible not having the Australian rights for the whole series!!! So now I can not get books 4,5 and 6. Arrgghhh!!!

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The whole series is great! The reader George Guidall is the best!! I highly recommend it.

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  • Douglas
  • Lake St. Louis, MO, United States
  • 08-31-10

A Multifaceted and Epic Story

As I think on it, I can understand where some of the negative reviews are coming from but as for my own taste I must disagree with their final verdict.

No, this is not a fast action, seat of your pants kind of book, because that is the reality of the situation. This is a story spanning years and while great battles may punctuate points in time, the interplay of political and interpersonal events are just as much a part and just as important to deciding the course of history as the battles and their outcomes.

So while I am actually often a fan of thrilling action filled novels I find myself still in love with this series. I love the detail of the story, the complexity of interweaving events and the subtle growth and development of the characters.

A thought that I would like to highlight for you as you read this. The complete series is named after the Ildiran's own story, "The Saga of the Seven Suns", for a reason. Though though there are plenty of details and comments on the alien epic that are purely part of the story there are still numerous parallels between what the saga is supposed to be, the beliefs wrapped up around it and the flow and direction of the actual series.

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  • Nitin
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 06-25-10

Great book for patient listeners

Overall, i really enjoyed this book. I'm an avid listener of multi-part series from various authors and out of all of the (Eg: Wheel of time, Legend of the Seeker.....etc), this series is by far my favorite. Yes this book has some downfalls like every other multi-part series, authors sometimes drone on with details to fill the page, but for the the most part all the little details that are introduced in the first book play a big part in the next few books. The various races introduced in the books are one of its biggest assets . If you like Sci-Fi, Space, Extraterrestrials, Politics (the bearable kind) and potential of human ingenuity, you'll love this book.

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I just couldn't get into this book. I can't really explain why but it just didn't do it for me. Being the first book in a long series maybe it just spent too much time developing the large number of characters. Perhaps I'm just simple but I prefer a story told in the first person by one character not a half dozen stories told by as many characters.

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  • Aaron
  • Federal Way, WA, United States
  • 04-09-10

Slow to pick up but leaves you satisfied.

I'm glad I got this on audio because there is no way I could've made it though the whole written form. Although I love the detail that does into Anderson's writing, and I enjoyed George Guidall as the narrator, to say that this book goes into minute detail is an understatement. The book (at several point) becomes long and drawn out to the point of irritability (like someone who won't shut up and get to the point.) I recall several times where I got feed up of listening to what seemed to be an extensively loooong rant about festivals people had, or how handsome they were, and would stop to listen to something else. It wasn't until close to the third segment that the plot actually began to pick-up and once it did I was decently hooked. If you have long car trips, or stories with LOTS of backdrop, I would recommend this for you.