RogerBW's Blog

Vigilante, Laura E. Reeve 13 November 2020

2009 science fiction, second of a trilogy. Ariane Kedros was involved in finding an alien artefact that lots of people want a look at. Some of them aren't planning to be polite.

I enjoyed this rather more than the first volume; while there are machinations continuing in the background, the major thrust of the plot deals with hijacking and nuclear terrorism (though the nukes of this setting are "temporal distortion" weapons). As a middle volume it inserts something close to a stand-alone story between the large-scale plot events of books 1 and (I assume) 3, while still contributing a bit to the larger narrative.

It is a little unfortunate that the terrorists are also fundamentalist male-supremacist peculators; they're too obviously Bad Guys to be interesting as characters, even the one who's having second thoughts and is drawn with a little sophistication. Other characters are more interestingly complex, with enemies who may be forced to cooperate for now but who are most definitely going to stay enemies afterwards; better, each viewpoint character has a distinct voice.

The actual layout of this solar system isn't always as clear as it might be, particularly in terms of which places are connected to each other, and one finds some of the complacency on display hard to take seriously, but things more or less hold together. Neither that nor the action distracts from the stories of multiple interesting people, which are the key thing here.

After a slowish start there's a fair bit of action, combined with the effective use of real military detail that Reeve (with a background as an actual USAF officer) manages to translate effectively into an SFnal setting.

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Previous in series: Peacekeeper | Series: Major Ariane Kedros | Next in series: Pathfinder

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