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Another remorselessly excellent episode in the Longknife Saga
on 27 October 2010
Eighth into Mike Shepherd's very successful Kris Longknife series and the pace is not letting up, even if she is hobbling a bit from the last book's attempt (that time inadvertently) on her life. That's an encouraging start; the hero is not shrugging off injuries.
This book finds newly promoted Lieutenant Commander Longknife picking up on unfinished business with the rival Peterwald clan. Being in pursuit of very unpleasant pirates, she's not going to let a little thing like pursuit into Peterwald territory slow her down. Readers of the previous book will know that once Kris has a target she will not be stopped until justice is served up.
Darker than the previous books, dealing with slavery and slaughter nonetheless this is up to the usual standard, easy to read, funny in parts, sobering in others and engaging without insulting the intelligence. The Peterwald territory has very obvious parallels with Russia and the old USSR. Kris' gang of irreverent, but loyal stalwarts are there, both human and computer; complaining, but carrying out orders and keeping her alive. Peterwald heiress and once-foe Vicky has a large role and is now Kris' firm friend; Kris being responsible for her brother's death a few books ago does not spoil this relationship, dealt with in such a way as to illustrate how very grim and deadly being a Peterwald can be.
OK maybe in the Longknife universe, the ever growing Longknife band is a bit too easy going, efficient, comradely and firm but fair (unless you don't surrender when asked) for some tastes; maybe some might prefer a few more dark rivalries and tensions within her group, but to be honest I am comfortable with this universe, and there are many other good authors serving up alternatives. By the way I never worry about the science in these books, it's three hundred years in the future, so who knows?
So if you've read the previous you will not be disappointed in the standard.