Against the Odds

Elizabeth Moon, Author Baen Books $24 (416p) ISBN 978-0-671-31961-8
Members of the Familias Regnant's interstellar military service, Fleet, have mutinied, jeopardizing the fragile peace the Familias holds with its hulking neighbor state, the Benignity, in Moon's entertaining sequel to Change of Command. The Familias Regnant is a centuries-old, mafia-type political consortium built around families, territories, loyalty and protection, governing a vast collection of solar systems for the purpose of protecting trade. Returning hero Lt. Esmay Suiza is suddenly discharged from Fleet after her elopement with another officer and revelations about her religious status. Suiza hitches a ride with a cargo ship to reach Castle Rock, it is the seat of the Familias' governing body, the Grand Council, and the residence of an aristocratic council member Suiza had previously rescued. That council member is Brun Meager, who is consolidating her own power within the council amid heated debates over the effects the near-immortality of the ""rejuvenated"" rich will have on opportunities for the young. Fans of Moon's series (Once a Hero, etc.) will find the number of returning characters and plot threads satisfyingly complex; however, newcomers will likely be bewildered. Moon's description of a deeply layered political and military culture provides an engaging touchstone for the far-flung skirmishes taking place therein. Absent, however, is a similar attention to contextual details such as scenery, geography and dates. Still, SF readers will delight in the twisting, thorny adventure in the compelling continuation to this popular series. (Dec. 1)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
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