Saturday, December 16, 2017

James Review -- Kris Longknife’s Relief

This week I decided to review Kris Longknife’s Relief by Mike Shepherd. 

The book opens with Admiral Santiago having just returned to the Alwa system only to discover that all hell had broken loose while she was gone. The duties of viceroy were split between two people, Admiral Santiago handling things spaceside while Rita Longknife handles things on the ground. But Longknife has used a clause she added to the agreement without telling anyone to nationalize any industry where human colonists from Alwa and members of the sentient ostrich-like species native to the world are working. This has led to both human immigrants, and colonists who remember how harsh Longknife’s rule was in the colony’s early years, going on strike. 

Then, once the initial issues are dealt with, Santiago has to convince the civilian workers to accept a delay in production of the commercial goods used to pay them to allow new jump point defense platforms to be built in a timely fashion. And, while building the platforms and preparing for a new expedition to the planet suspected to be the homeworld of the People, a pair of battle cruisers bring back a mostly intact People cruiser, the study of which leads to new revelations about the society of the People.

Eventually, the expedition reaches its destination, finding the horrifying response of the People to the threats Kris Longknife left during her visit, and proof of some of their theories regarding the history of the People. Meanwhile, Santiago’s forces manage to destroy one People force but soon discover two more approaching. Making things worse, unlike most People fleets which press their attacks without thought of defensive tactics, these forces are willing to blockade the jump points leading away from their home system, leaving Santiago’s forces scrambling to devise a plan for assaulting guarded jumps before any ships sent from Alwa to check on them accidentally reveal the secret of the fuzzy jumps to the People…

I give this book 8 out of 10. The parts dealing with the economic and social issues on Alwa were a lot more interesting than I thought, other than a few parts tied to something I’ll mention later. There weren’t many battles but they were interesting. I wish there had been some scenes showing what was happening on Alwa after the expedition left, though. And there are some questions I wish had been answered in this book because I don’t see them coming up in future books. 

Finally, I don’t see why the author felt the need to add a sexist slant to the society of the People. Does he really think we need some additional reason beyond their civilization being dedicated to wiping out all non-People sentient life to see them as villains? And I also see no point in tying some of the solutions to the political issues on Alwa to this revelation, either.

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