Book Review: ‘Kris Longknife: Audacious’ by Mike Shepherd

Kris Longknife: Audacious by Mike Shepherd

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.

Okay, so I missed one…

Yup, last Friday I missed posting my weekly blog. Oh, woe…

Mhari and I are fine. We had a quiet little Christmas. Mhari’s busy doing Further Confusion pre-registration things (Reminder: Pre-Reg for FC2009 closes at Midnight pacific time, on December 30th, 2008. That means you have until midnight, pacific time, TOMORROW, to get a membership to the convention without paying the at-door price At the door of the convention.) so she hasn’t had lots of time to play games or watch TV or whatnot. But we did get some Dr. Who (3rd modern season) watched on Christmas day. We plan for more on New Years.

We’re both having our usual back issues, sometimes lessor, sometimes greater. But not too bad. Nothing that can’t keep until our next Dr James appointment on the 4th.

City of Heroes: Well, we did slightly different things because of the Winter Event and people generally being not sure of their availability. So it’s been things like opening presents, doing a few missions as a group, or doing the Rescue Baby New Year mission.

Personally I have been doing the BNY mission again and again as a character that can solo him well, to earn Candy Canes for other characters that can’t solo him. See, presents, when opened have a chance of giving ONE candy cane, or they could burst forth with a small hoard of winter beasts. (Or if you are in a group of 5 or more, possibly a ‘Giant Monster’ Winter Lord!) But the Rescue Baby New Year mission will offer, as one of it’s selectable rewards, 5 Candy Canes.

The boss you have to defeat in the BNY mission is an Elite Boss by the name of Snaptooth. He does very heavy lethal damage, and isn’t alone, having his red cap minion(s) with him. Most Tankers and Brutes can solo him if they have good Lethal defenses/resistance. Masterminds of level 32 and above should be able to solo him. Some Scrappers and Stalkers can do him in, solo. High level Keldians and VEATs can likely solo him. But Blasters, Corruptors, Defenders, Dominators, and Controllers are just going to be frustrated, usually, because they can’t seem to dish out enough damage fast enough to take him down before he takes them down.

So those squishies that can’t solo Snaptooth (but could otherwise wipe the floor with the other mobs, in many cases) either need to team up with others to do Snaptooth, or go click presents in a zone below their level… again and again and again, while others are trying to do the same, and may be leaving their spawned mobs behind them as they click-and-run. Present-clicking can get very, very, very boring and does nothing to earn you XP if you are doing it in a lower-level zone.

I have been doing the BNY mission with my Level 50 tanker on the hero side, and my level (now) 38 Brute on the villain side. Then giving the candy canes to my lower level ‘squishies’ so they can buy the Winter’s Gift recipe that provides 20% slow resistance… something that is VERY useful! But it costs 50 Candy Canes. So that’s 10 BNY missions. My Brute, Purple Moose, was level 37 when I started. He’s level 38.5 now. *grin* The BNY mission, especially the defeat of Snaptooth, is VERY good XP, especially thanks to Patrol XP boosting it 50%!

I went on the CoH forums and put in some suggestions that they consider more options than just the BNY mission for the Winter Event… I’m sure Lord Recluse wouldn’t mind delaying the New Year a bit, or making things Colder for a while. Or Mender Silos might have something to do with things. There is sure to be plenty of reasons for the various powers that be to have things that they want to stop/do, etc. There has GOT to be options that people can do other than the exact same thing that has been done for 3 Winter Events in a row. And new ski runs, while nice, really isn’t enough. Some new CONTENT would be nice. Of course, if they let the Mission Architect use Winter Event things, maybe next year the player community will have to show them how it’s done! *grin*

Lord of the Rings Online: Yup, I played it some. Was solo’ing a Warden for a while. Interesting class with it’s gambit system. I’ll play more of it over time as I need breaks from other things.

Second Life: Got on just a little bit and chatted with a couple of folks. Did a little roleplaying. But I wasn’t on much.

Other: I didn’t touch Perfect World or Tabula Rasa. More interested in getting candy canes on City.

Okay, there… I’ve written a blog… I’ll try to get a new one in on time this coming Friday.