Friday, January 8, 2016

James Review -- Kris Longknife: Unrelenting

This week I decided to review Kris Longknife: Unrelenting by Mike Shepherd.
The story opens with Admiral Longknife preparing for battle. Earth’s Admiral Yi will attack an enemy system with Third Fleet in an attempt to drive the enemy near or through another jump point where Longknife’s Second Fleet is waiting. But it soon becomes apparent that Yi has scrapped the battle plan in favor of one of his own making, and when Third Fleet begins taking losses, Second Fleet enters the battle early.
After defeating the enemy both fleets return to base where Kris relieves Admiral Yi of command of his fleet (but leaves him command of a frigate squadron). But, soon after returning to base, Kris receives a shocking surprise when she discovers she is presenlyt one of a rash of pregnancies among the female personnel of the fleet. It is soon determined that the contraceptive devices issued to all of the women in question were sabotaged, but whoever was behind it was specifically targeting Kris as most of the women only had one of their three devices replaced with used ones, but all of Admiral Longknife’s were replaced with useless devices.
While the hunt for the saboteur is on, Kris has to deal with increasing dissent among the civilians who had immigrated to the Alwa system and now aren’t allowed to leave for fear of leading the  genocidal People back to the majority of human space. And she alo has to struggle with managing Alwa’s economy well enough to keep both her fleet supported and the natives happy while fending off an array of suicide attacks from one direction while stalling for time to build up her strength to take on  the strongest People fleet yet encountered on another front.
And there are surprises from Human space and more problematic subordinates to deal with as well.   
I give this book 9 out of 10. While the battle sequences are far from the greatest that I have seen from this author, they are still enjoyable and some of the new weapons unveiled add interesting new dynamics to thr combat. While there is one weapon I feared could become a superweapon--ruining the tension of the combat scenes--it didn’t do so as badly as I feared, and in retrospect, the conditions required to use it are rare enough I doubt it will appear too often. The scenes on the Alwa front are mostly amusing, though some seem to be resolved too easily for my tastes or are never fully resolved  Also I like the ending of a book in an ongoing series to leave me some hint about what will happen in the beginning of the next book, and while we know where the main characters will be when the next book begins, we are left with no evidence regarding why they need to be there.

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