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on 10 June 2017
Great story well worth reading.
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on 25 May 2015
I agree with 2 other reviewers that this book was too much about sex and talk and not enough Sci Fi action.
At least it sets the scene for future Vicky stories and hopefully they will get back on a more Sci Fi theme.
I wonder if Mike is starting to suffer from "long Series Fatigue" though.
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on 24 May 2017
Entertaining read. Looking forward to the next book. Hope the self publishing works out for you. You'll have my support in any case.
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on 25 May 2017
Awful didn't finish.
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A new military science fiction novel from a veteran writer of them. This is the start in a new series of such books. And it takes a semi regular character from his popular 'Kris Longknife' series and spins her off into one of her own.

Said character is Vicky Peterwald, one time enemy and now almost friend of Kris's.

This starts around the time that 'Kris Longknife: Daring' ends. Thus despite some exposition, it's not really a book that those who haven't been following the Kris series from the start might be able to get into, so it's really for regular readers of that.

This volume runs for three hundred and twenty six pages. It's divided into forty six rather short chapters.

As the aforementioned regular readers will know, Vicky comes from an imperial family where girls are raised to be good marital prospects and then have babies. Her skill set is very suited to seduction. She was forced to join the navy. And now, with her stepmother pregnant with a boy, her position in the world is uncertain. And dangerous. As many would like her out of the way.

Caught up in the middle of political intrigue and with a price on her head, she has to learn how to survive. And possibly fight back...

Vicky is a very different character to Kris. Vicky knows how to use her looks to her advantage. Thus this does contain a fair amount of adult moments, a couple of bits of strong language. And a little bit of graphic violence. How the writer succeeds at the former is going to a matter of opinion. But because this is a little different to what has gone before, Vicky is quite appealing from the off. Especially in early chapters, which allow us to see Kris series regulars, and certain events in those books, from a different perspective.

Her entourage don't get much attention, although her two bodyguards are quite fun. She does also pick up a spymaster who is very good at his job. So good that you can't help but wonder how it might work if she didn't have him to help in many situations.

Since this is the start of a series, and has a lot of setting up to do, it does mean the pace and interest do drop off a bit from time to time in the first two thirds. There's not a lot of event. The adult moments don't get repetitive, but the constant assassination attempts do.

However it does just about hold the interest because there's something very sympathetic and endearing about Vicky, a lady who has had to grow up fast and adjust to threat in order to survive in her world.

This really clicks in the final third, though, with a bit of a bold change in direction. Which pushes Vicky in a different one also. She's never been the centre of a certain bigger picture for the first two thirds, but after this, the story does get her to a point where it needs her to be. Which will have a big effect, clearly, on what comes next in future books.

She has a great chemistry with a character who pops up during this part of the book, as well.

So I found it worth sticking with. And that it left me eager to see what Vicky will do next.

Not a bad start to what should be an entertaining series.
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VINE VOICEon 29 July 2014
Actually this is a 4.5 star, and not up to the usual standard but more about that later.

Followers of the Kris Longknife saga will be familiar with, Vicky, her opposite from the rival Peterwald dynasty. Voluptuous and shameless, initially raising the professional and social ire of the more altruistic Kris, throughout the series she developed into the sometime associate, ally, almost friend. Last mentioned in `Defender' seemingly selling Kris out for her judgements in the previous volume `Daring'.

In the `Kris-verse' one of the many undercurrent themes was that being a Peterwald could be a dangerous business, in this case from within the family or court circle. This book addresses that very issue; writ large.

Vicky's main problem is that with her brother dead and her father's new bride pregnant Vicky is viewed, by someone, probably her step-mother's family as an obstacle to their domination of her father and thus needs being disposed of. Vicky is all too aware of this, and if nothing else is a survivor. So she starts off with that manipulative media event in which she shifts the blame of everything to do with the loss of the Peterwald ship in Daring on Kris.

After this we are in territory that bears certain parallels with a Kris Longknife day, there is a devoted team, although will rather flexible morals; there are assassination attempts a 'plenty, intrigues, and folk not being who they seem. Shepherd having been in the US navy allows his devotion to his old service break through again in that the Peterwald Naval Service are The `Good Guys', adopting Vicky when everyone else's hands and weapons are against her. The twist here being that the question is will she be used as a figurehead in their own possible rebellion, or will they support her own agenda, which outside of staying alive is not yet formed- not answered here.

Now whereas Kris, shoots, kicks, hits, finances or talks herself out of scrapes, Vicky uses her body and....errr...rather liberal attitude to...errr....physical matters as a means to an end. She is also not a one girl guy/girl either, mostly Shepherd takes us so far then leaves the rest to imagination, however at times he does get carried away in his descriptions and I found this jarred a bit. The fact that Vicky would act like this is to be expected, but...gee... Mike this kind of detail is cliché central and not in tune with your usual style.
(And I got stuck with whether to 4 or 5 star it; I opted for 4 because the detail of the sex bits had nothing to do with the entertaining plot and could be skipped through and the space could have been used for more time on the plot )

That detraction aside the plot skips along quite nicely, Vicky is able to dish out violence, keep her wits about her and comes out as a reasonably likeable sort in a very difficult situation (ie her whole life). The support characters are fairly entertaining if at times a measure interchangeable or short on dimensions. The book ends on a positive note and setting up future novels which have a potential of lots of action, treachery, revenge and possible cross-overs.

(Please Mr S. Just stick with the hints next time)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2015
This is the first book in a spin off series from Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife series. The events start off from the end of book 9, so if you haven't read these first, I highly recommend you do or a lot of content will be lost on you:

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
9 - Kris Longknife: Daring

With that out the way I must say I found this book a huge disappointment. Vicky's slow growth as a character from an angry nemesis to a navy officer and unknown friend/enemy status in the Kris Longknife series has been of interest to me for a while so getting her own spin off series certainly appealed to me when I started it but soon got bogged down in tripe.

The book starts with Vicky getting off the fleet of discovery to find herself pretty much alone except for a few personal bodyguards. After several assassination attempts on her person Vicky is scared and a little nervous. Not long afterwards a Greenfield fleet arrives in system to pick her up, rather than being safe if anything the new Grand Duchess of Greenfield finds herself to be in even more danger as her new stepmother, recently announced as pregnant with a baby boy is doing everything she can to kill her. With Greenfield in political disarray Vicky has to persuade the Navy to not only let her live, but get them on her side as she has nowhere else to turn.

The basic plot I liked, the "Wicked" stepmother the Greenfield politics etc all have a lot of potential for a spin off series. The problem is that Vicky is a character who is pretty loose on the sex front and will sleep with pretty much anyone. Fine, she was raised like that, I get it, but Mike Shepherd is about as subtle as a nuke about Vicky and her "assets" at one point 20% of the book literally progressed like this:

Innuendo, innuendo, innuendo, sex, innuendo, innuendo, innuendo sex.

I'm fine with establishing character, and Vicky is certainly a lot different from Kris but less is often a lot more and to have so much of that at the expense of both plot and sub characters was just painful. Not all of the book is bad though, there are some interesting moments and some uncomfortable dark ones as Vicky does whatever she can to survive but overall this is easily Mike Shepherd's worst book. Fortunately the follow on novel Vicky Peterwald: Survivor is a far far superior book and really shows promise for the future of the series so it's worth struggling through Target in my opinion.

Read it, but only for the sequel.

+ Basic plot has promise.
+ A couple of interesting scenes and some dark survival moments.

- Sex, sex, dirty joke, sex, sacrificing plot and character.
- Feels like wasted potential.
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on 18 December 2014
Having just finished 'tenacious' I found myself in need of more jump universe. So I tried 'target' without much hope!, having met Vicky in the longknife thread i didn't warm to her. She was too haughty and arrogant with an entitled air.
In target we start out with Vicky being much the same type of character but shepherd strips away her arrogance steadily revealing a much more likeable and even vulnerable young woman. The pace is frenetic and the plot is engaging, a little too hazy at times, but overall we are left with a book whose heroine can be cheered on with enthusiasm. It reads like an early kris longknife instalment with a fledgling 'nelly' type computer and an 'Abby' clone! In the guise of 'smith'. Hopefully Vicky can evolve beyond wwkd(what would kris do?) and become her own force for change in a well filled out jump universe!.
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on 30 July 2014
This story has more than its fair share of sexual encounters (especially when compared to Kris Longknife novels), but then Vicky Peterwald is someone who likes company. She's growing up fast and learning to look out for herself more & more after more than a handful of assassination attempts. Something is wrong with the Peterwald Empire & beside trying to stay one step ahead of her paid assassins, Vicky intends to start making things right, not just for herself but for those in much less fortunate conditions.

I would recommend anyone coming into this story to read the short novella 'Kris Longknife's Assassin' for an on-site into Victoria Peterwald, it sets up this new series well (but try to ignore the grammatical errors in the writing that may have you gnashing your teeth)

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on 18 August 2014
Ironically, it's the sex scenes that are by far the best writing in this lightweight spinoff from Shepherd's normally excellent Kris Longknife series. Take them out and all you're left with is an overpriced, underdeveloped novella (unlike Vicky's "assets", a fact that we're reminded about over and over and over and over and...). The character are one dimensional and flat (unlike Vicky's "assets", a fact that...) and inconsistent - this is not the Vicky we met before and wanted to know more about.

So Vicky is a slut. Fair enough, I have no problem with that. Lord knows I've complained enough about the prevailing attitude that it's perfectly fine to leave a trail of red sauce and guts behind you, and no one will bat an eyelid, but show a bit of skin below the prudishly high neckline, or indulge in a bit of what comes naturally, and half the world is up in arms.

But not at the expense of the plot. And that's the problem here. Less is more, Mike. Less is more. Because at the end of the day, the story just kinda fizzles out, turns over and goes to sleep in its own damp patch.
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