Adele Mundy is a scholar with no money and no prospects since her family was massacred for conspiring against the Government of Cinnabar.
Kostroma is a wealthy planet which depends on diplomacy to stay independent in a galaxy whose two great powers, Cinnabar and the Alliance, battle for supremacy.
In a few hours, diplomacy is going to fail Kostroma. Daniel, Adele, and the scratch crew they gather aren't much to stand in the way of a powerful invasion fleet, but just possibly they're enough.
Men and women who hold courage cheap and honor more dear than life itself face impossible odds in a novel of color, intrigue, and slashing action. From the corridors of a treason-ridden palace through the perils of unknown seas and hellish jungles to a final blazlng climax in space, the heroes never bow and the action never flags.
They have nothing on their side but each other - and heaven help whatever tries to stand in their way!
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author David Drake.
©1998 David Drake; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"The yarn unfolds into an authentically taut and exciting tussle, courtesy of Drake's unflinching portrayal of battle's downside and his eye for telling detail." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A full measure of appealing derring-do." (Publishers Weekly)
it seems unfair to compare anything to Patrick O'brien's Aubrey Maturin series, but since this is the first book of a sci-fi series inspired by that great collection, that's the high bar it has to approach. the narrator has nothing on the great Patrick Tull, his choice of voice for each character is a little strange, he's an OK narrator compared to Patrick Tull's full on multi cast actor. similarly, the story, while it shows promise, can't hold a candle to O'brien's mastery of character. the difference is night and day. I've probably been a bit harsh, and I will try the next book, but like I said before, if you aim for Master and Commander, then you have to do an amazing job to get even close, and this is no better than alright.
"Master and Commander in Space"
If you enjoy the adventure of The Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian then you will probabibly enjoy this series. It has the character development and excitement of the older series with a twist that it is in space.
On an entirely different note Drake's mix of male and female characters is wonderful and suprising in the usually male dominated space adventure. He has created a suprising duality in the roles played, at times turning convention on its head and at other times presetning characters in a traditional manner. At times I think he fooled the narrator as there are a couple of times the female sergeant has a really deep voice. Drake has done a suprisingly good job at making the sex of the character not a factor in their position or rank. Very well done.
"Decent Age of Sail SciFi Retelling."
Fans of the standard Age of Sail novels will quickly recognize the jargon and speech patterns in this and follow on novels. The translation is very clunky at times, appearing forced and artificial, but the characters and story usually make this a minor irritation. However, keep this in mind if expecting the naturally flowing, organic dialogue of the Hammers series, and other works of Drake.
The choice of narrator, however, is problematic. Bevine has a fine speaking voice, and captures meaning and tone well. However, he has a very low energy delivery that is very much at odds with the more energetic, swashbuckling elements of the novel, of which there are many. There are times when the tension and action of a scene are completely undermined by what I would almost describe as a 'bedtime story' voice.
All in all a good story, one that seems to indicate that it will get better as the series matures, and a narrator that perhaps needs to drink a little more coffee before sitting down before the mic.
ONE OF THE GREAT WRITERS OF SPACE OPERA . AUTHOR SETS THE SCIENES JUST LIKE YOU ARE THERE.
"Intriguing, well characterized"
This first book starts slowly, and you realize why as the story progresses. Drake takes his time building some depth to his characters, allowing them to grow so that when thrown into an extraordinary circumstance, their actions are believably lucky. The first segment may seem to drag a bit, but hang in there. The second segment is really fast moving and gripping. I like character development and fast plots. The character development early on makes the later action that much more fun. This is a really good listen, and I am now ordering the next one.
David Drake has always been one of my favorite authors. He and David Weber lead the pack in action packed, easy reading space adventure stories. The Lt. Daniel Leary series is no exception. I have been waiting for this full series, and the entire Honor Harrington series, for a long time. At least this one finally got into audio production.
From long experience, I have found that even the very best audio book can be destroyed by a Narrator who either can't get into the story, or can't manage the character voices properly. Victor Bevine, the narrator for this series, does a very good job with character voices and meaningful dialog. His only failing is in the reading of narration. His flat, unemotional delivery stays the same no matter what the situation happens to be. He reads the setup for high emotion fight or flight scenes no differently than he reads a change of scenery description. He only manages to get emotionally involved with what's actually taking place in the story when the characters speak. Those abrupt changes in style, flat to emotional and back, make for some very strained listening at times.
Now, having said that, I still highly recommend this audio book. However, if you have the time, I would ask that you to read the hard copy first. That effort will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the series. If not, you will still enjoy this audio presentation; I certainly did!
- Mike -
"16-18th century Naval battles in space"
Like one of the reviewers said "Master and Commander in Space".
This series is definitely worth reading, despite everything good I can say about the first book, you should understand that it's only the beginning of the main plot.
The main characters have a real feel, and they are very different, so everyone can find someone they like.
"The Science Fiction takes a back seat"
The story seemed so focused on character development that the science was seemed in the way. Very slow start and, frankly, plodding. I never bought into the main characters and did not care to see how things turned out. For the first time in 15 years of listening to science fiction on Audible, i did not finish a book.
"Hook, line and sinker - love this series"
I love these characters and have listened to every book in the series. The characters are flawed anti-heros, or better to say, the moral compass by which they live is slightly skewed from our modern American views of right and wrong, ethical and unethical. Drake has done a great job of world-building, creating an Imperial culture of aristocracy, purchased commissions in the military, landowners vs peasants, pocket universes and high tech gadgets (pocket-sized computers controlled by wands with holo-field displays) paired with steampunk-style space ships (sails, signals, and space suits, oh my). The narrator speaks with a sort of breathless hush - like something is always about to happen - but I swear, you get used to it and then you look forward to it, and then it just becomes part of the background.
"Very slllllooowwww start, but really throttles up!"
Drake spends the first half of the book developing the hero & heroine characters. I started to skip to another series, but I'm really glad I stuck with it. Once the shooting starts, it's non-stop. Looks like I'm spending the next couple of months on another multi-book series!
"I really like this series"
I actually just fininshed the 1st book last (because of the ratings ya-know), and have to say I liked it the best. Maybe it's because I already knew so much about the characters that seeing how they all got together made the book more interesting.
Also, I do agree with the author that this is not your typical military Sci-Fi Space-Opera. It's geered more to a grown-up audience.
I will difintely buy any new releases.
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