I’m trying to remember a book I read about 4 years ago (though I'm sure it was older). It was military sci-fi portraying humanity’s war with a species of bird-like aliens that were rather martial in nature and had a fondness for swords.

I don't remember too much, except that the aliens used red interior lighting in their ships, the shield systems on starships used a series of interconnecting nodes, and in the end humanity and the aliens ended up creating an alliance against a far greater threat in the form of a telepathic insectile race which invades their sector of space in the following books.

  • Humans and birds against a telepathic enemy sounds like the series "The Damned" by Alan Dean Foster. But, the humans and birds never fought each other, and the Amplitur (the telepathic bad guys) are described as "squidlike."
    – JRE
    Jun 11 '18 at 5:30

I think you might mean The Uplift War, by David Brin. The Earthlings, humans and genetically modified chimps, fight the Gubru, which are an authoritarian avian race who invade the planet Garth.

  • 1
    This came to my mind also. One of the more memorable details was that the Gubru spoke in triplicate -- every verb was a set of three related terms that helped set meaning. (She wrote - posted - contributed this comment.)
    – arp
    Jun 12 '18 at 5:27
  • I do remember that trilogy and enjoyed it, but thats not what Im trying to remember Jun 12 '18 at 6:21

This could be The Stars at War, but there are two elements that do not match.

  • Humans at war with aliens: yes, with the Orion felinoids.
  • Humans become allies with previous enemies: yes.
  • Bird-like aliens: yes, (half of) the Star Union of Crucis.
  • Bug-like telepathic monsters: the aptly named Bugs.
  • The shield systems on starships used a series of interconnecting nodes: yes

But if I remember correctly the humans were never at war with the Union of Crucis, and it was the Orions that had a penchant for bladed weapons (and teeth, and claws); the Crucians are never described during a melee fight (they're excellent space fighter pilots).

Also, I do not remember the interior lighting in any ship featuring in the books' series.


Empire from the Ashes by David Weber. I don't remember bird-like aliens, but there were certainly insectile enemies.

  • The Achuultani were similar to centaurs.
    – LSerni
    Jun 11 '18 at 17:58

Try the Dark Wing series (2001), by Walter H. Hunt. From Wikipedia:

It features an ongoing war between humanity and birdlike mystical aliens known as the Zor. The two species have been at war for over sixty years, punctuated by numerous truces, each broken by the Zor. Every time this occurs, humanity wins territory from the Zor. However, humanity has little understanding of the Zor and fails to understand why the Zor continually engage in these wars. Lord Ivan Marais, with the assistance of Mr. Stone, collects information on the Zor during diplomatic missions and writes a book on them, stating the only way to win the war was to exterminate the Zor, as their religion dictates that their main deity, esLi, has granted the entire universe for the use of the Zor, and any other sentient species is an affront to their religion that must be removed.

The Zor launch a surprise attack; now-Admiral Mairas is given command of the campaign and he attempts to exterminate the Zor. However his second in command Stone is not what he seems.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This would be a better answer if you could show how this series matches the details of the question, like the use of swords and red lighting.
    – DavidW
    Nov 22 '19 at 20:52

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