This is book 5 in the Kris Longknife series. The title character, Kris, started out in the first book of the series (Kris Longknife: Mutineer) as a rich kid/politician’s daughter that turned her back on that way of life and what has happened in her past with a life in the Military, specifically the space navy, as a Marine. But there’s more to being ‘One of those damn Longknifes’ than she thought. She got involved saving the kidnapped daughter of another planet’s head of state and in the second half of the book single-handedly overhauling a failing humanitarian mission… and along the way proving it’s really not safe to be close to a Longknife.
In book 2 (Kris Longknife: Deserter), Kris goes off on an adventure to save her friend Tommy who has gone missing. But there’s a long more going on here than just her friend getting lost. There’s a plague and plots within plots and it takes stepping into her rich background and being her ‘Princess Longknife’ self to get where she needs to go with this one. And it doesn’t hurt to have one of most dangerous lady’s maids in existence at one’s side, either.
In Book 3 (Kris Longknife: Defiant), she is at home on Wardhaven while the fleet is off on a propaganda mission. The ‘enemy’ comes calling and it is up to Kris to defend her world through the means of a desperate gambit that risks it all.
She lived through that and into Book 4 (Kris Longknife: Resolute) where she is sent to the remote system called ‘Chance’, given her own command in what is more of an exile than a real promotion. But of course all doesn’t turn up roses and quiet out there, as there’s pirates to stir things up and alien ruins to spice it all with. Can’t she just stay out of trouble anywhere?!
So that brings us to Kris Longknife: Audacious. Uncle Ray (King Ray Longknife to many) decides that it might be best for Kris to keep away from the Rim for a while, so he sends her to the planet Eden for what is openly supposed to be a business mission. She’s supposed to help negotiate a technological deal as one of the major stockholders of Nuu Enterprises to build computers for companies on Eden (or some such). But Kris knows that there’s some unspoken reason for her being sent to Eden… but what could such a peace loving, quiet, and civilized world like the long established Eden need. It was one of the first of earth’s colonies, it’s rich, it’s got really low crime rates and a unified elected government…
But of course, any planet called ‘Eden’ is going to have one or more snakes. And when an assassination attempt upon her person on her first day on the planet which results in a gunfight and more than one body down doesn’t even show up on the news or in any of the papers… it’s only the first hint that nothing is quite what it seems.
While I wouldn’t call this series the best set of books on the shelves, it is entertaining and over the course of these five books we have a cast of characters that are fun to read about. And you always know that the damned Longknives, and one Kris Longknife in particular, is going to be in the thick of things. Unfortunately it looks like it really isn’t safe to be around Kris on a casual level. People tend to get shot, blown up, and maybe run out of town for hanging around her.
Mike Shepherd’s writing has clearly improved since that first book appeared in 2004. And the characters have grown and the worlds of this universe fleshed out. In Book 4 one of the major foils in Kris’ life shuffled off the mortal coil, but in this one we meet a new one that is as bad, if not worse. I wonder if this Peterwald will last as many books as the last did. I also wonder how many more hangers on Kris is going to gather. She does seem to add at least one per book./p>
Don’t expect heavy thinking, deep science, detailed military campaigns or anything too far beyond tomorrow in these books. But there is adventure, heroism, military honor, and a strong sense of doing the right thing for all the right reasons (even if it’s not with the intended results) in these books. Oh, and a body count of red shirts, and maybe a revolution or two on the side. The books are enjoyable reads that won’t weigh you down or make you have to think too much. Good entertainment without insulting you as a reader.
I already have book 6 in this series, called Kris Longknife: Intrepid. In fact, I’ve had it for almost a month, as the Kris Longknife books come out in November each year. (See Mike’s website I linked to and read his FAQ there as to why that is.) In fact, I had Audacious since it came out last year but Mhari burried it in her stack of read books until recently, so I only now got to read it. *grin*. I likely will get to Intrepid sometime early in the new year. I’m reading Charles Stross’ Saturn’s Children next.