Written by: Elizabeth Moon
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 378 (Mass Market Paperback)
The premise: We're going to Barnes & Noble for the SECOND book in this series: The exciting military career she hoped for never got off the ground–but Ky Vatta ended up seeing plenty of combat when she took the helm of one of the commercial transport vessels in her family’s fleet . . . and steered it into a full-blown war. Now the lessons she learned in that trial by fire are about to pay off: because this time, the war has come to her. To be exact, someone unknown has launched a full-throttle offensive against Vatta Transport Ltd., Ky’s father’s interstellar shipping empire. In short order, most of Ky’s family is killed, and subsequent attacks sever vital lines of communication, leaving Ky fighting, in every sense, to survive.
Determined to identify the ruthless mystery enemy and avenge her family’s name, Ky needs not only firepower but information. And she gets both in spades–from the band of stranded mercenaries she hooks up with, from her black-sheep cousin, Stella, who’s been leading a secret life, and from Stella’s roguish ex-lover, Rafe. Together they struggle to penetrate the tangled web of political intrigue that’s wreaking havoc within InterStellar Communications, whose effective operation their own livelihoods–and perhaps lives–depend on.
But the infighting proves to be infectious, and it isn’t long before Ky’s hired military muscle are turning their suspicions on the enigmatic Rafe, whose wealth ofknowledge about ISC’s clashing factions and startling new technologies has begun to make him smell like a rat . . . or a mole. With swift, violent destruction a very real possibility, the last thing Ky needs is a crew divided against itself–and she’s prepared to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that Vatta stays in business, as well as in one piece.
What she’s not prepared for is the shocking truth behind the terror– and a confrontation with murderous treachery from a source as unexpected as it is unrelenting.
Worth the Cash: while I borrowed this book from a friend, I wouldn't (in hindsight) have minded spending money on it. It's a fast read despite certain parts of the story that get a little too bogged down in details, and the cast additions are really refreshing. I'm starting to become a little more emotionally engaged with what's happening, and not just because there's been a huge tragedy come upon the Vatta family either. It's because I get to see Ky interact with people OTHER than her crew, and while I'm impressed with her as a starship captain (Moon's military experience really shines through), I'm glad to see other sides of her. The side that relates to family, and the side still struggling to define who she is in this universe, and I don't mean on an existential level either: she's got to decide to stay part of Vatta, or to do something more, and that decision makes her character very interesting indeed. I'm looking forward to reading ahead in the series at this point, and that's a good thing, since there's still three books left. :)
Review style: Two sections, what I liked and what I didn't. No spoilers. The full review is in my LJ, and as always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: Elizabeth Moon's MARQUE AND REPRISAL