The Law of War

William Shatner, Author
William Shatner, Author Putnam Publishing Group $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-14360-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 286 pages - 978-0-441-00806-3
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Wherever does he find the time? Shatner, who's now involved in four book series (Tek, War, Star Trek and Quest for Tomorrow), delivers the second volume in his War series, featuring Benton Hawkes, a 22nd-century diplomat from a corporate-ruled Earth. In Man O'War (1996), Hawkes was sent to Mars to subdue the food-producing planet but ended by reluctantly leading its fight for freedom. This follow-up begins with Hawkes on Earth trying to negotiate a peace between the home planet and Mars. The negotiations quickly break down, and Hawkes must flee for his life with both Earth and Martian enemies on his trail. Eventually, in an explosive military confrontation between Earth and Mars, the improvised Martian fleet and some friendly pirates save the red planet. One can hardly quarrel with Shatner's spritely pacing or abundant and well-handled action scenes, or with his serious speculation about the consequences of a vastly prolonged life span in a world without meaningful work. The basic plot is executed without a lot of originality, however, and the efforts to render Hawkes a realistic character, full of doubt, sometimes make him seem unable to make up his mind. Which is not to say that this is Hamlet. (June)
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