This week I decided to review Kris Longknife: Bold by Mike Shepherd.
The story begins with Kris, her husband and bodyguard Jack, and their baby Ruth returning to Wardhaven after being summoned by King Raymond. The nearby Greenfield empire is in a state of civil war, (see the Vicky Peterwald series for more details on the war and the buildup to it) and Emperor Henry Peterwald has requested the Kris mediate between the factions loyal to the Empress and that loyal to Vicky. But before the trio can depart Wardhaven, they have to evade assassins because someone has put a hit out on Kris. Taking a squadron of battlecruisers, all that can be spared due to the ongoing conflict in the Alwa region, they set out for Greenfield during the journey defeating a pair of antique battleships that ambush their fleet en route to jump point. And at Greenfield they are forced to alter their plans and meet with the Imperial couple on ship after Jack and his advance security sweep is attacked by a group apparently planning to hold Jack hostage to influence Kris. After getting the Empress' side of the story, they set out for St. Petersburg, the headquarters of Vicky's forces, and meet with her arranging truce negotiations on the independent world of Cuzco. Despite more assassination attempts and a slow start, the talks go well. But when the Empress realizes that the rift between Vicky's faction and the Emperor is closing, she launches a two-front attack, sending a team to kidnap Ruth while calling a massive fleet to burn Cuzco to the ground with only Kris' nine battlecruisers to face dozens of battleships and more then fifty smaller warships.
I give this book 6.5 out of 10. It isn't horrible but it wasn't particularly interesting, either. The story cuts away from the conflict which had been the main focus of the recent story arc completely. Worse, this is the final book of this arc yet it sidelines the majority of the regularly appearing characters in the series within the first few pages. While I am hoping that this is setting up another spin off series, it didn't help the plot of this book at all in my opinion. Finally, the space combat is one of my favorite parts of the series but there wasn't much of it and it was usually utterly one-sided due to Kris' forces have a overwhelming technological advantage over her foes.