RogerBW's Blog

The Road of Danger, David Drake 18 February 2023

2012 military SF, ninth of this ongoing series. After the events of the previous book, Daniel Leary and the Princess Cecile are sent to get a privincial admiral moving in the right direction to head off a war-starting coup. Of course it's always more complicated than that.

This one is inspired by a side note in Livy. After the Second Punic War, a "Hamilcar" claiming to be a Carthaginian raised a rebellion against Rome in northern Italy. The Roman Senate sent an embassy to Carthage, requiring that the Carthaginians retrieve their citizen. Here Carthage is the Republic of Cinnabar, and the rebellion is on an Alliance world, but it's not clear whether the charismatic leader "Freedom" even exists. Being sent off to retrieve him will be a good way to keep Leary out of everyone's hair, then…

There's some effort to depart from business as usual. Leary leaves his ship in the hands of his first lieutenant to get aboard a blockade runner and get to the rebelling world, while Mundy starts dismantling plots from the more civilised end. So overall it's less military, more straightforward adventure, though the characters are familiar (and explanations of the slightly unusual ways they think, while perhaps necessary for a new reader, get a little repetitive even within this book).

It's fine, but there's nothing special here to set it apart from the rest of the series, and I'd have preferred occasional surprises and even some long-term plot development, as there has sometimes been in other volumes.

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Previous in series: What Distant Deeps | Series: RCN | Next in series: The Sea Without a Shore

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