RogerBW's Blog

The Renegat, Kristine Kathryn Rusch 03 March 2023

2019 science fiction, eighth in the Diving Universe series. A crew of Fleet misfits is sent on a suicide mission to find out what's happening in one of the stockpiles of abandoned ships.

This book is over 260,000 words, 700+ pages in print, but it's one of those rare long fiction books that justifies its length. It's an interleaved story, of the mission going awry in the past and the survivors being rescued in the present, and at the same time it takes a strong look at Fleet traditions and asks: isn't some of this a bit silly? Why did we leave these fully-armed warships mixed in with our Scrapyard, given our basic philosophy of never going back?

(Which may simply mean that Rusch is having to deal with the implications of something that in the original stories was just an interesting puzzle or a handy excuse for why a weird thing had been done; but it works.)

It's also something of a character study of Nadim Crowe, who did something deadly as a child and never managed to recover, psychologically or in reputation, in his rise to ship's engineer. And there's the captain; let's face it, a renegade captain with a dubious past battling his personal demons is the sort of person who's often written as a hero – and in a different situation, perhaps he might have been. But not here.

It's all surprisingly satisfying. I enjoy Rusch's writing anyway, but I liked reading about these people in particular.

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Previous in series: Searching For the Fleet | Series: Diving Universe | Next in series: Escaping Amnthra

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