This novella was much better than his other one in this series. While I would have loved to have seen more of the primary character of this series, the look behind the scenes at the people who move her around on the chessboard was very interesting. Rather than feeling like a minor writing exercise by the author to appease the fans between books this one felt like he actually put some effort and work into it, and I appreciate that extra work. Rather than simply being filler that provides a little bit of back story, this one actually adds real value to the series, and I have never been happier with a purchase. This novella is a worthy addition to the series, and a welcome piece in my library.
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After reading my way through Mike’s Kris Longknife series I learned that he originally wrote this trilogy, and this trilogy formed the foundation of the other series. Hungry to read more of his work I decided to give it a shot, and I am quite happy that I did as I have really enjoyed this volume. So many times in the successor series references are made to events that unfolded in Ray Longknife’s time, and while no real details come out it is clear that they were important events that helped shape the future. Now I get a chance to see those events and learn some (many) of the details that are skirted past whenever the topic comes up on the Kris series. The hard part for me now is waiting to see if my local library can obtain a copy of the second book in the trilogy via Interlibrary Loan as they do not have a copy in their own inventory.
So often these days I find myself in a love/hate relationship with books in a series primarily the most recent book. I love that I finally got a chance to read it, but I hate that once I finish it I have to wait for the next one to be published. Alas, such is also true of this volume, the latest in the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd.
The book itself wasn’t quite what I expected from this series. I have grown used to the character rampaging through space causing (and fixing) trouble wherever she goes. This book was anything but that, and for the first half of the book I was afraid that the entire book was going to revolve around nothing more than her trying to visit family. Fortunately the story took a turn shortly thereafter and moved on to more interesting venues, but the story continued to be rather minimal on the action front right to the very end.
In all honesty, this book feels more like a bridge book, perhaps something that might have been better presented in a couple of novellas as a precursor to the next book in the series. Looking at the structure of the book there are two main “acts” with what could be termed a prologue and an afterward. Present these pieces as a couple of short stories and a couple of novellas and you would be just fine. I don’t remember other books having such clear delineations between the different stages of the story. In the end the story eventually worked its way through to a conclusion of sorts, but one that was clearly a setup for the next book which further reinforces my thoughts on the structure of the book.
Regardless of structural issues, the book was a fun read, and while I would have enjoyed more action sequences, which have become rather expected in this series, I did enjoy the book. I only hope that the next book does not suffer from the structure issues that I encountered in this book.