Despite her role as a fleet Admiral and protector of a planetary system, Kris is still beholden to her great grandfather King Raymond’s commands. She has been personally selected for a mission that, should she succeed, will save millions of lives.
The Peterwald Empire is in the midst of civil war. On one side is the tyrannical Empress, on the other is the last person Kris ever wants to see again—Grand Duchess Vicky Peterwald. Due to their shared history, the Emperor believes Kris can mediate between the factions and bring about peace.
But before Kris even begins her mission, she survives multiple assassination attempts on her family home world. Someone doesn’t want her interfering in the Empire’s affairs. Kris immediately suspects Vicky or the Empress, only to learn that it could also be a traitor among her own people…
It has been a long time since a new Kris Longnife book came out. This book series was one of the first I picked up when I restarted my book reading some years ago. It is a good book that fits well in the series and it is also a change of scenery from the last books. Going from fighting aliens on the edge of human space Kris has to stop a civil war in her former enemies, the Peterwalds, space.
This book is a mixture of action and diplomacy which is both quite well done. Even the diplomacy parts are quite action filled and there seems to be no end to the assassination attempts on Kris and her entourage. When diplomacy fails the big guns are brought out and this time it is Kris holding them. I quite liked the surprises this brought to the evil and half insane Empress. I also liked the newkindled relation between Kris and Vicky. I was less trilled by the unbelievable naivety and stupidity of the Emperor.
Plenty of the old characters are back although some of them are in fact leaving her service and returning back to Alwa. Kris also now has a newborn child which she drags along on her journey. I’m not sure that part was very well thought out. The thought of submitting a newborn child to a multi G environment seemed a bit insane to me.
I am also a bit scared of the path Kris took at the end of the book. It gave me the feeling that this was the last book in which we will see Kris in a active role or at least on the front lines. There seems to be a 15th book planned but it remains to see which direction the story takes.
Anyway, this was a quite enjoyable book and, as with the previous book, I enjoyed that Kris is actually in charge and not being pushed around once the mission starts (and that she holds the big guns of course).