This week I decided to review Vicky Peterwald: Target by Mike Shepherd. The book starts with the title character’s return from an exploration mission gone horribly wrong which was depicted in one of the earlier Kris Longknife books. Vicky is the only survivor from the contingent her father’s empire sent with the fleet, but returning safely from facing alien hordes is only the beginning of her problems. She soon finds herself heading home while dodging assassins at every turn as her stepmother tries to eliminate the only person standing between Vicky’s unborn half-sibling and being the heir to the Imperial throne. In the process Vicky allies with a conspiracy within her father’s navy which is doing its best to combat the efforts of her stepmother’s family to seize power. But even once she reaches her homeworld and the Imperial palace, the attacks on her continue and in the end she is forced to flee, hiding in the coffin of a General killed during interrogation by her stepmother’s security force. Eventually Vicky and her pilot steal a yacht and use it reach a world which owes both the navy and her favors, and a base from which she can prepare a counterattack against her Stepmother’s forces which will soon have their own fleet if not stopped. Along the way they see many worlds reduced to the brink of starvation by her stepmother’s plot which add new problems to the list of things Vicky and her allies need to deal with.
I give the book a 8 out of 10. I was entertaining but there are a few point that I feel the author went overboard on empathizing. Also while the small skirmishes present in the book were fun, the author writes much better space battles than he does ground combat and all of the fighting in this book was fending off assassins and kidnappers. However, the implications that the evil stepmother is building her own navy give me much higher hopes for the later books in the series. And in the book’s favor I enjoyed most of the political scheming and maneuvering though I’m still hoping that the seemingly inevitable civil war starts soon.