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Ninth in the series of military science fiction novels centred around the exploits of Kris Longknife.

Whilst there's a reasonable amount of exposition early on in this one, and new readers to the series might be able to get into it, there's still a lot of back story so you are far better off starting with book one.

Regular readers, read on.

This one runs for three hundred and fifty six pages and is divided into sixty three short chapters.

And there's a note from the writer at the beginning which promises that it's the book where it all changes.

Can he deliver on that promise?

Well...

This does pick up the plotline that began two books back about the mysterious alien force that threatens the race of aliens called the Iteeche. And it sees Kris leading an expedition out into uncharted space to try and find more about the nature of the threat.

The book starts in the thick of the action though, with Kris and Jack about to come to grief, and then flashes back to show us how they got to that point.

That's by having to put together this expedition. Which brings in various disparate humans forces, including one time family enemy but now almost friend Vicky Peterwald. With all the planning and the various actions of all the characters including the regulars on Kris' team, the pages do fly by very pleasantly enough, in the style that regular readers who enjoy these books will be accustomed to.

New planets are seen and a few mysteries result.

Then aliens are encountered. And Kris has to make a fateful choice.

Even bigger ones await..

The second of these comes halfway through and at this point the book really does shift up a gear and the writing delivers on the promise in the introduction. Space battles and drama and powerfully emotional moments await - as ever the wounds of past battles loom large here, making for some very strong character scenes - and the decisions Kris makes really are life changing ones.

This is one chapter in a bigger story, and thus the book ends in a manner that will leave you even more desperate than usual to know what happens next. There are also questions still to be answered.

This moves the big story along very nicely, and really does develop a few things. It also contains some very powerful and gripping moments that you won't forget in a hurry. A very good entry in a good series. Roll on book ten.
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on 10 November 2011
Kris Longknife is one of my guilty pleasures. It is about one of those Longknifes. Kris always gets into trouble usually on her grandfather's instigation. She usually gets out of it by herself with the help of a few colorful friends. This time she teams up with her new frenemie Vicky who brings a few battleships to the alien exploration that Mike has teased us with the last two three books.

This is a turning-point novel in many respects in Kris life with her family, with society and with love. What I like with this series are the colorful characters and their bickering. That is me, I like bickering and colorful. Mike leaves the formula a bit with most of the novel taking place in space and out exploring in force. Earlier books usually contained a large planet bound (or station bound) cast.

Another fun thing is Nelly Kris sentient computer and her children. I know it is a gimmick but I love it. Kris also gets three long potent toys to play with. You will love it.

The whole alien mystery gets explored and we learn a bit of what is going on but the door is open for a lot more exploring and development in forthcoming books. The next book is named Furious (Ace October 2012) probably due to Kris state of mind.

I would place Daring above average in the series and well worth reading if you like this kind of thing.
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VINE VOICEon 28 October 2011
This is the ninth paperback in the very popular Kris Longknife series. Mike Shepherd again works his excellent formulae of interstellar adventure, laced with humour, dark undertones and a pace that does not let up. As readers of the Longknife adventures know when you associate with Kris Longknife, it's one dam' thing after another and don't you just feel sorry for those who get caught up in her world, trying to keep her alive? If you've not read any of these books, please consider starting from the first `Mutineer' and follow the sequence, that way you get the true sense of narrative.
This outing refers back to the events in then sixth book `Undaunted' and Kris' meeting with the dread Iteeche and seemingly Humanity's mortal foes. It would seem there is still the unresolved business of Iteeche scout ships being destroyed by `something' `out there' and with the business the previous book `Redoubtable' all sorted out Kris is chafing to scout beyond the borders of the Human empire into Iteeche territory and find out why. Politics being what it is in this neck of Human space other confederations and small empires apart from her own native US want to be in on this, if only because they believe The Longknife clan are up to something. So despite the presence of the other groupings admirals and battleships she is the effective leader of the expedition by virtue of being in command of her own fast patrol squadron. Most of the action in this book takes places in space and there are many indications of just how dangerous and vast this environment is; some nice parallels with fleets in the Age of Sail.
Once into unknown regions it's not long before the fleet is confronted by unidentified aliens whose policy is shoot first and shoot often and death before defeat, even more intriguing is that these are human in appearance but not related to Human stock. Deeper in and upon finding the remains of a recently dead insectiod civilisation the evidence is that these human-like beings are a brutal, resource stripping, genocidal race.
Of course there is conflict within the Fleet on the next course of action, particularly when observations reveal this dangerous race travels through space in a moon size mother ship with hosts of smaller ships a substantial number of which dwarf even the fleet's battleships. Some are for a rapid withdrawal and warn what's coming; Kris of course is for getting in closer. When circumstance offer her fleet the choice to take on the monstrous invasion in defence of one apparently innocent planet of birdlike civilised beings or retreat then things become very, very tense indeed. I will reveal no more, Shepherd's readers do not like spoilers and I've said enough. The following is mostly opinion and observation.
Now we have tended to become used to Kris always getting her own way and identifying her with taking the right course of action no matter how tough that might be. Well in this book you might well be thinking `Kris? Did you do the right thing here? Was this worth it?' Congratulations to Mike Shepherd for allowing his hero's actions to be questionable and allowing the reader to be possibly drawn into the other side of the argument. We also might be used to Kris coming back to a mixed, but generally exasperated hero's welcome. Maybe not so in this book. The tension with her great-grandfathers and effective rulers is particularly sharp in this book. This one ends with several interesting question marks. Oh by the way there is that obligatory attempt on someone's life... but... Kris or Vicky?
As regards the colour and depth so important to these tales, there are the usual cast of characters all intent to keep Kris alive, and carry out her commands, but their way. This includes the ever developing Nellie the Computer and her `children'. Vicky of the Peterwald dynasty is here but not taking up so much of the tale, although when she does things are intense and there's more back story as to why she feels safer in a battle fleet than back on her home world. We also have Ron the Iteeche who always brings an interesting perspective on humanity. In this saga there is quite a high toll of minor characters some of whom were becoming familiar. This is war, but Kris suffers; theirs deaths weighing heavily upon her. There are times when she does appear very alone, distraught and afraid; a very human hero.
Just one small spoiler, we finally have the Kris and Jack romantic interlude, but sorry folks no underthings flying off in zero-gravity, it's all very restrained and tenderly dignified.
So plenty of witty one-liners, lots of diplomatic subterfuge, much thrilling action, and a great deal of...'Hang on! You can't leave it there!' (Don't we just love it?) This is vital to your Longknife Collection, it's another quality work but also a departure, Mike Shepherd has tightened up Kris' world.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2015
The Kris Longknife novels form an ongoing series, before reading Daring, if you are new to the series I highly recommend reading these first:

1 - Kris Longknife: Mutineer
2 - Kris Longknife: Deserter
3 - Kris Longknife: Defiant
4 - Kris Longknife: Resolute
5 - Kris Longknife: Audacious
6 - Kris Longknife: Intrepid
7 - Kris Longknife: Undaunted
8 - Kris Longknife: Redoubtable

I suspect that will be a long list by the time this series is done ha ha, anyway moving onto Daring, book Nine of the Kris Longknife series. This one shifts gear back onto the teased story arc that book seven, Intrepid, introduced. Kris Longknife finally gets her wish to form a fleet of discovery and go exploring looking for the cause of the Iteeche lost ships. This in itself is a challenge as Kris not only has Wardhaven ships but also ships from Greenfield, the Helvetican Confederacy and Musashi in a joint venture. The fleet do eventually discover the cause for those lost ships and it's bigger and badder than anything hummanity or the Iteeche have seen and it's heading for a developing planet of bird like aliens ready to devour them. It takes everything Kris has to persuade the fleet to risk everything to defend them never mind win a battle severly outgunned.

This is the book where the series really starts going in a new direction away from human problems to bigger galaxy ones. This novel does start off slow as Kris is exploring around various jumps and finding planets, there is a fair amount of exposition before leading up to the main event but once it comes, wow, the events are intense and the fallout from them all the way to the end are no less so, full of humour, emotion and last stand action.

For some reason, Admiral Kratz a fairly well established character in the series so far has a complete personality change in this book though and not for the better which was really annoying. That aside, Shepherd takes a pretty big risk to completely change how the series was going and I honestly feel it really pays off and only continues to do so in the next couple of books.

Recommended.

+ Returns to an aforementioned plot thread changing the path of the series.
+ Epic latter half of the book with a large battle.
+ The events afterwards are just as interesting.

- A little slow at first.
- Admiral Kratz has a personality transplant.
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on 18 March 2016
Whose your favorite character in the Kris Longknife universe, Jack, Cara, Abby or maybe Kris's computer Nelly. Well the whole lot of them are in serious trouble this time out, The current situation suddenly finds itself turned up to 21 never mind 11.
book 9 keeps up the pressure on Kris and co, its not a case of winning its can they survive.
The best books are those you forget you are reading, and Shepherd has lmproved over the last few novels, I felt I was there with the main protagonists, and kept me solidly hooked.
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on 30 October 2012
Kris really tries to show growth but her family keeps frustrating her. She wants a small looksee and her government sends her off with Battleships!! I own all these books and reread them often. Thanks Mike
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on 2 December 2011
Daring is the latest entry to the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd. Kris is the one who convinced me that I could read, like and understand SF, so a new Kris Longknife book is always a cause for celebration in our household, especially as my husband is a big fan as well. So when I saw Daring was out, I decided this was what Wiebe wanted for Sinterklaas and got it for him and then didn't wait for Sinterklaas to get here before reading it (for those who're not familiar with him, Sinterklaas visits on December 5th and leaves presents for everyone). And boy, was it good to get back to Kris' United Society space! As noted in my review for the previous book, Redoubtable, I was a little disappointed with that one. I had hoped to find out more about the Iteeche, but instead we went on a side trip.

Well, in Daring I got what I asked for in my review of Redoubtable... Iteeche! And as an added bonus even more aliens. And these aliens are even bigger and badder than the Iteeche were before we met Ron. I liked that Kris and her crew were surprised at the fact that the new aliens were so like us humans in appearance and DNA. This universe doesn't actually adhere to the Star Trek school of alien life as the Iteeche and some of the other known species have shown. They're truly different and alien, surviving in different ecological habitats - and sometimes even atmospheres - from us. I wonder what it says about humanity that these ultimate baddies are so like us and where Shepherd will take this story arc.

Daring is a departure from previous Kris novels as this is where Kris comes fully into her own. Like her Grandpa's Ray and Trouble before her, she is confronted by a choice that will reshape the future of not just humanity, but also the Iteeche. She's playing in the big league now and the repercussions for a wrong choice will be far more far-reaching than in previous books. I loved that we see Kris struggling with the dilemma; who is she to make this decision? To add to Kris' difficulties, her decision will not only affect humanity and Iteeche, inaction will affect other alien races as well. But once she's made up her mind, she also needs to convince the other commanders in her fleet that she is not only in the right, but has the authority to make such a decision. This development in Kris is very interesting and the fact that along the way she gains new insights into and respect for her grandpa's was a nice touch.

Of course, having made her decision - for good or ill - everything goes to hell in a hand basket. While space battles have the somewhat dubious benefit of seeming relatively blood and gore free on the page, actual loss of life is far greater than we might realise at first. And no one is spared. I was pretty shocked at some of the losses, as I really hadn't seen some of them coming or at least I hadn't expected certain characters to die. So while we see most of Kris' crew again in Daring - and they're as fun to be around as ever - we have to say goodbye to several of them for good. While these goodbye's made me sad, it also adds a lot of tension to the narrative; if Shepherd is willing to off these characters, who will be next? On the one hand, I can't wait to find out, on the other, I'm afraid to, as I don't want to lose any more of Kris' friends.

Daring is a great addition to the Kris Longknife series. Yes, it follows roughly the same setup in its narrative as the previous books: we start in the middle of an action scene and only then move on to the real set up of the novel, Kris gets her orders - or rather, tells her superiors what she's going to do, she's a damn Longknife after all - and we're off on another adventure. This might be seen as formulaic, by-the-numbers-writing, however, within this familiar framework Shepherd succeeds in grasping his readers attention and using that familiarity to both lure them in and put them on the wrong footing. Daring also takes the series in a darker, more serious direction it seems and I can't wait to see where the events in this book lead in the next. Now is the time to get on board for the Longknife series; you'll have plenty of time to catch up on all the prior books before everything breaks loose in the next chapter of Kris' adventures. Only eleven more months before we find out what happens in Furious. I know I'll be waiting for it as soon as it hits the stores.
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on 17 May 2013
Another brilliant adventure in this series.
This is a fantastic series and this volume is another great read.
Very enjoyable
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on 28 December 2013
i have not started to read this book yet as i am waiting to get the whole set of books
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on 17 February 2012
Very thorough reviews from other readers. It's been a roller coaster ride through the series so far, lots of gripping and taughtly written plot. Can't usually put the books down but this one I could, till about 1/2 way but even then you'd lost my faith in you:

I found the writting alot slacker, more science holes and scimpy battles. Worse we've more childish and shallower characterisation. Feels like a rushed job (is the publisher pushing too hard?) So at 1.7 G it takes 18 hours to cross a massive quad star system? Single scouts get complete readouts of a whole system's minute details instantly after arriving in-system? Massive battles accounted for in less than a page of scimpy details, almost just listing: 2 torpedoes and a laser hit to the engine reduce something to small pieces (yippee: How technical and challenging)? Space filled with random laser fire, a regularly successful technique(!) even at medium ranges(!!), nearly the same simple list of hit/damage recounting different engagements again and again? A neutron star warhead delivered out of the blue, just right to hit the unknown enemy worldship: More Deus Ex Machina! Oh and the soul search about killing genocide; recognised then not explored much. Mmh.

Oh Mr Shepherd, not anywhere near as good as the prequels.
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