Read Recently — March 2016 — Science Fiction

Kris Longknife: Unrelenting by Mike Shepherd

Kris’ war against the homicidal aliens continues apace. The aliens are learning and creating new ways to attack almost as fast as the humans are learning ways to fight them off. Mostly things are going better for the humans than for the aliens, though Kris has to play politics more than her enemies do (part of the cost of being part of a multi-world force, for all that Kris is supposed to be in charge); her problems this time include an Earth admiral convinced that his grasp of tactics and strategy is as superior as his new technology is — and neither is true. Also, almost immediately at the start of the story, Kris gets pregnant. This isn’t supposed to happen: the Navy supplies birth control implants for its female staff. Someone, however, has sabotaged a large number of implants.

This series continues to be a fun read, with focus shifting between problems of a personal nature, military action, and logistics. A little something for everyone. Recommended.

An Ancient Peace: Peacekeeper book one by Tanya Huff

When last we saw Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr, she had retired from the military of the Confederation and, in the wake of destroying a space station full of criminals to retrieve her lover, Craig Ryder, assembled a team of friends and fellow ex-marines to work with her as mercenary agents for the Confederation Department of Justice.

This book opens with one such operation, taking down a group of terrorists calling themselves “Human’s First” (sic). As you can probably guess from the bad punctuation, Human’s First aren’t much of a challenge to Torin, though the fact that only three of the people on her team are human enough to infiltrate the group (and one of those is Ryder, who was not a soldier and who Torin is driven to try to protect) does help to make things more interesting.

Returning to Ventris station (a marine haunt from the earlier books), the Crew are immediately sent out again by Marine Intelligence (not their usual employer). It seems that someone has been trafficking in H’san grave goods. The H’san are the eldest of the Elder Races, a species who long ago gave up violence. Before they did, though, they at one point depopulated an entire planet. When they achieved enlightenment (term actually used by the Colonel briefing our heroes) they turned that planet into a giant necropolis and buried their dead there for centuries, along with the weapons they had originally posessed. Military Intelligence suspects that the thieves selling the goods are seeking out those weapons with an eye towards selling them. Not only would it be a bad idea to let some people (such as Human’s First) get their hands on such weapons, but the grave robbing is likely to offend the H’san and could lead to the Younger Races, now no longer needed due to Torin having basically ended the war they were all brought into the Confederation to fight, being kicked out of the Confederation and restricted to their own places until they learn not to be such shitheads any more. Torin and Crew will have to find the graveyard planet, find the criminals on it, and stop them without letting the H’san find out what’s going on. All in a day’s work, right?

For a lot of chapters the book alternates the thieves and the Crew, especially as the thieves finesse their way through the heavily-trapped H’san crypts, losing people as they go, heading for a showdown with the H’san ultimate security setting, and the Crew themselves.

This was as much fun as the rest of the series. Huff (so far) always brings her “a” game to the Kerr novels. There were a couple of tiny editing errors (on one page Mashona is called first “Mashana” and then “Mashona” a couple of paragraphs later–that type of thing) but nothing worth making a fuss about. I’m looking forward to where the Kerr Crew (the Kerr Bears?) go from here.

Highly recommended, but you don’t want to start here. Start with either Valor’s Choice or the omnibus edition of the first two books, A Confederation of Valor. They are also Highly recommended.

The Line Of Polity by Neal Asher

A re-read. Originally written-up here. Still highly recommended.


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