These books have a great, crisp feel to them, and while I don’t have any
in-depth military knowledge, they feel military, and as I would expect a
naval ship to feel. I love the style that the author takes with the
captain and the entire crew. In the first book they evolved into a crew.
Here they show their trustworthiness and loyalty. I especially liked
Pushkin, who could observe Dunmoore’s actions and comment on them as an
outsider, while still following orders. He is a very, very good
conscience. Because I had trouble believing that Dunmoore would fall for
the Admiral’s schemes in the first place. She found him charismatic, but
I didn’t. Maybe that’s just because I’m also observing from afar.
Fortunately, that part of the book didn’t last long, and we could get
into her own scheming. Both the first and last third of the book were
great, in setting up the characters on convoy duty and her ultimate
plan. I just don’t think the author made Corwin as much as a believable
influence as he wanted, and that brought the book down in my view.
However, I expect to see a fallout from this in the future, and look
forward to it.
This book takes place in three parts, as far as story goes. It was nice
reuniting with Dunmoore. After the hard time the crew gave her, trying
to solve the mystery of the lax and reluctant crew in
No Honor in Death, this one shows a
well-honed and trustful crew, people who would follow their captain into
any danger, because they believe in her, and know she’ll do the same for
them. The convoy duty is a kind of punishment for failing to save a ship
whose crew was taken and the ship destroyed while they tried and failed
to catch the reivers (pirates).
Dunmoore’s actions and
interactions with the captains of the convoy were a lot of great fun to
read about. Very few of them like the idea of her taking the lead,
especially as they doubt her abilities due to the destroyed ship. She
manages to herd them along, but loses one ship, which turns out to have
dropped off her radar intentionally. At their destination well outside
the Commonwealth, the crew notices one of the reiver ships, and she
follows it to a star system incorrectly tagged on the charts. It’s here
that Admiral Corwin is hiding.
By way of a crewmember who once
served under Corwin, the author lets us know how magnetic a personality
he is. Dunmoore goes into the first meeting with him knowing that he’s
been preying on merchant ships, and is heavily skeptical of his motives.
He claims that the planet he has claimed is an ancient Shrehari world,
long abaindoned, but preserved as if their ancestors planned to come
back. A hundred thousand years later, humans are digging up artifacts,
and Corwin thinks some of them are weapons that will allow them to win
the war. When he gains her trust a little more, he lets her in on the
secret plan to overthrow the Commonwealth government, and leans on her
continual troubles with the established government, the mismanagement of
the war, to gain her interest and support. I didn't fall for Corwin, and
had a lot of trouble believing that Dunmoore would, too. But she's had
so many troubles with the existing leadership that he is able to
convince her his treason is the best way.
I'm also glad that we didn't visit Shrehari society in this book, as I
found it to be weak and derivative. I'm sure we'll have to return to
them at some point, but I think they need a bit of a revamp before we
It’s only when Dunmoore
raids a reiver base that turns out to be a merchant base (with a secret
service fighter on the runway), that she starts to get doubts. Her first
officer Pushkin sees how she’s been manipulated, and offers not to
relieve her of duty if she can come to her senses. Investigating
further, they find that Corwin has set himself up as despot on the
planet, confining anybody who disagrees with him to an internment camp.
The mercenary ships he has under his control, along with the mercenary
army, are ready for a strike Earth’s government.
pretty good at deceiving Corwin, who is obviously unstable and is ready
to believe everything she says. I had my doubts, but the author gives a
few pages from his point of view, which makes it clear that he doesn’t
see through her. I really liked the way she planned out her mutiny,
disguising it as a training exercise, and staging the attack on his
planet, as if they were planning the attack on Earth. They laid out
mines, destroyed the planetary defenses, and used Corwin’s own plans of
a coup with bioengineered weapons against him, gaining the trust of most
of the mercenary captains.
As with the best stories, things
don’t go according to plan, but Dunmoore and her crew made extensive
preparations, so even when some things go awry, it doesn’t thow things
too far off track. In the end, Corwin kills himself, and Dunmoore
survives. It does leave a lot of tension, though, as she knows the coup
attempt was real, and that it had powerful backers probably both in the
Admiralty and elsewhere. What that bodes for this ship and its crew is
anybody’s guess, but there are more stories to come, and I expect to see