Read Recently — May 2014 — SF

To Do Or Die by Mike Shepherd

Okay, this is a little weird. Mike Shepherd, as you probably know from following my back numbers, is the author of the “Kris Longknife” novels. Under the name “Mike Moscoe” (his real name?), he has been filling in some of the background of that universe, starting with Kris’ grandparents (or possibly great-grandparents; people live a long time in the future and I’m not sure how the whole family fits together) Ray Longknife and Terence “Trouble” Tordon and their respective wives, Rita and Ruth. Rita runs the company while Ray heads out to the stars; in a previous book he got a star map shoved into his head. Trouble and Ruth are traveling together on the same starship; Trouble commands the Marines and Ruth runs the ship’s farm, which provides a nice cover for her work as what is basically a DEA agent for the Society of Humanity. They’re after the money behind the drug dealers who took both of them as slaves in the last book. This is a “Jump Universe” novel, but it’s by Shepherd, not by Moscoe.

This time they end up on the planet Savannah, which is not a savannah, but an old planet with a good industrial base and a planetary president who intends to be president for life. The Earth ambassador has requested more marines, and he’s getting Trouble (also, eventually, Ray. And trouble).

This one involves the first appearance of the Smythe-Peterwald family, longtime rivals of the Longknifes, and ends with a lead-in to the Iteeche war.

Like the earlier, though chronologically later, Longknife books, this isn’t just MilSF, but also involves a lot of politics and some cultural exploration. I like the characters (though Rita, being pregnant, stays behind while Ray adventures, so she’s kind of a cypher at this point. She may have been more involved in the first book of this series, but since I didn’t read it I can’t say for sure), the settings are interesting, and there’s enough action to keep you going. Recommended. And you probably don’t have to have read the earlier books to make sense of this one, but it helps.

Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair

Re-read. First covered here. No change in my opinion (mildly recommended).

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