RogerBW's Blog

The Price of Peace, Mike Moscoe 30 September 2015

2000 military SF, second in the Jump Universe series. The Unity War is over, but that doesn't mean things are peaceful; Commander Izzy Umboto of the cruiser Patton is chasing down pirates, and worse.

A loose collection of viewpoints in early chapters soon resolves into two major ones: Umboto commanding the ship in space and Marine Lieutenant "Trouble" Tordon in action on the ground, dealing with two separate ends of the problem. Various others come in as needed, which is perhaps lazy writing but pretty much works.

This is a much more three-dimensional book than The First Casualty. There we pretty much had good guys and bad guys; here we have good guys with a variety of failings that they try to become aware of and do something about, and bad guys who have specific things about their personalities that have led them to become successful bad guys (some of them are a bit over the top, but at least it's not all of them). At the same time, there's an eye to the economics: the villainous scheme isn't one for galactic domination in the long term, but it is a plausible way to make a large pile of money relatively quickly before going on to the next thing when it falls apart.

The scale is smaller, too: it's about one ship's company with a bit of outside help, rather than a huge interstellar war. Without having to point out all the other stuff that's going on, there's a better focus on the events in the immediate narrative.

This is still military SF, and there are plenty of ship-to-ship engagements and fights on the ground. But there's less emphasis on the technical detail, and more on the quality of the people involved. Good stuff. Followed by They Also Serve.

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