RogerBW's Blog

Resolute, Mike Shepherd 04 September 2016

2006 military SF, fourth of the Kris Longknife books. Kris finally gets an independent command: a single-world "naval district" on the far end of anywhere.

It's not at all clear why this "naval district" should have its base, such as it is, in orbit over a planet that's not a member of the Wardhaven alliance of worlds. Nor indeed why it should be considered "back of beyond" when it's directly adjacent to Greenfeld space, which has been clearly set up as the Big Bad Space Empire of the series.

But this is again a book of several parts: first, coming to the station, which is abandoned, the last commander (also the last member of the Navy on station) having retired to the planet when his term was up. The planet turns out to be one of those Doggedly Independent worlds where they're staggeringly predictable in their reactions to being told what to do by outsiders. (Fortunately neither the good guys nor the bad guys manage to realise this.)

Second part, while on a mission to check and repair the buoys that sit at jump points and pass messages through, Kris and her team discover (a) that someone's been destroying them, (b) that they're still there and are very un-suspicious for what's presumably a gang of space pirates, and (c) there's a new sort of jump point which only Kris's sapient computer has recognised as such, which leads to a world full of alien supertech. So the system of Chance has suddenly become a whole lot more valiable.

Third part, the bad guys show up, led by Hank Peterwald, heir to the big boss of the empire. And Hank is… unfortunate. When we first met him in Mutineer he was interestingly enigmatic, involved in things that went badly for Kris but not clearly to blame. In Defiant he was a blubbering wreck. Here he's an idiot determined to kill Kris, put in charge of a task force well above his level of competence, in a space empire that's turning into an even more sexist version of stereotypes of Soviet Russia. As in Defiant, the enemy commander is an idiot who locks up his subordinates when they try to tell him what he's doing wrong, which in turn makes Kris look distinctly less impressive for beating him; Ben Goldacre's deceased cat is probably a better tactician.

Still, the first stage of the bad-guy attack is sensible: let his sailors loose in a foreign port, with no shore patrol, and occasional agents provocateur to make sure trouble gets started. Then, when they're arrested, arrange to "rescue" them from the "terrorists" who are "holding them hostage". Peterwald finds himself talked down, but this is a plan that could and should have worked.

Then, just before he should leave the system, he hears about the alien treasure trove and turns back to make a conventional military attack, four state-of-the-art warships versus two pirate-rigged merchantmen and one museum ship. Just as in Defiant, Kris has to scrape together a force of volunteers and come up with amazing tactics to take on impossible odds. And again, if the enemy commander weren't stupid he'd have an easy victory.

The bits with Kris are pretty decent, as she struggles under the load of remembering what the casualties were like last time she had to do this, but she could really use some smart opposition rather than just enemies with lots of ships. The ending, in which she comes to terms with just how much everyone's been manipulating her, shows some promise, but this series is distinctly losing my interest and I may well not continue with it.

There are also minor errors of writing which suggest this book has not seen the attentions of an editor, but merely a spell-checker ("formally" instead of "formerly", "hyperbola" intead of "hyperbole").

Followed by Audacious.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Training Daze | Series: Kris Longknife | Next in series: Audacious

  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 10:19am on 04 September 2016

    I'd suggest adding links to the earlier reviews of series so that it makes it easier to go and read what you've previously written.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 10:31am on 04 September 2016

    That's what the "All book reviews" page (linked at bottom right) is for, but I'll see about linking into that more specifically.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1