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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new partnership to enjoy., 4 Mar. 2013
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Stephen Wortley (Londinium) - See all my reviews
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This is another Baen Books partnership between an acknowledged master of SF and a new entrant to the genre (his debut novel, Lucy's Blade, was interesting and well crafted). As with most of the others (Drake/Flint, Weber/Ringo, etc.) it is eminently readable, with each contributing both with ideas and style - I must say that I identified a couple of the more arresting similes as from the English partner, but apart from that it would be guesswork to allocate the origin of characters, concepts or plot.

And what a story! I intend to avoid spoilers, but I can say that the idea of travel outside (I deduce) the E=MC2 universe, through "the Continuum", offers a lot of scope for an imaginative writer to play with - here we have two, and they have done the idea full justice, while leaving plenty of room for further development. The constraints imposed provide a human-scale view of the future - no Lensman-style fleets of fleets, but individuals doing whatever they do in their own fashion. The background is a sparsely settled interstellar rivalry between two main quasi-empires, those of Terra and Brasilia, and is set in one of the remoter colonial sectors, where the two main entities are approaching a clash.

The protagonist, Allen Allenson, comes across as a capable, indeed likeable, man dealing with life's problems as honourably and efficiently as he can. Now, for the first NOT; he is not Daniel Leary, although the two could meet as gentlemen. There is a similar sense of the infinite wonders of the universe waiting to be discovered, but the rules of those universes are very different, as are the individuals.

The other characters are not all as fully developed, but if this is the start of a series (Please!) they will be fleshed out - already one can guess at the reaction of some, such as Hawthorn and Destry, and Trina Blaisdel is a splendidly drawn person. Time for the second NOT; she is not a re-hashed Suzette Whitehall - although the ladies are equally strong, and could doubtless do business together with mutual respect.

I was tempted to add a third NOT - that the plotline is not another rewriting of Earth history: while I see some parallels with Rogers' Rangers, this is no mere copying of history with changed names, and if that was used as a template, this story holds up in its own right. Strongly recommended.
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