RogerBW's Blog

Admiral's Oath, Glynn Stewart 06 May 2023

2022 space-navy SF, first of its series but following the six-book Castle Federation series. Admiral James Tecumseh came off worst against the Alliance, and was given a "safe" posting in a backwater sector. But now all the FTL communicators have gone dark, and he's the man in charge…

Fortunately for Dakota and the other worlds in the sector, he doesn't want to be a warlord. Though a lot of people would really rather he did.

So on one level it's more of the same. People worry about space battles, try to prepare for them, and fight and die in them. But even on the military side, there's the consideration of how you plan to fight when all your doctrine and even vehicle design has rested on instantaneous communications which you don't have any more – and which some of your enemies still do.

But as always with Stewart it's about the people first; and this gets more political than the Castle books, because we follow Tecumseh as, following the Terran Commonwealth's principles over expediency, he repeatedly resists the temptation to take over civilian government – first in his own right when nobody knows what's going on, then later as his former peer commanders are setting themselves up as military dictators. This is only volume one, but it's clearly not going to be an easy or a quick fight.

This is the Commonwealth, so there's more variation in the ethnicities of names than we saw in Castle. For example, there's a ship called Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (without explanation - after all, anyone reading the book probably has the Internet available) , and if your reaction to that is to say "why can't they name their ships something I can pronounce", well, you're probably not going to enjoy this very much. Stewart, a white man, mostly resists the urge to make the culture of a largely Lakota-populated world decoratively tribal, while at the same time it's clearly not the standard vaguely American system that one usually assumes in these things.

I enjoyed Castle, but I think I enjoyed this more.

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Series: Dakotan Confederacy | Next in series: To Stand Defiant

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