Lt. Leary, Commanding

David Drake, Author Baen Books $24 (448p) ISBN 978-0-671-57875-6
No one who read Drake's first account of Lt. Daniel Leary's adventures in With the Lightnings will be surprised at the appearance of this sequel; that novel clearly launched a series. What is surprising, however, is the wonderfully strong quality of the follow-up. Although Drake starts off on an odd note (with a panoramic view of a military-SF hierarchical society), his Dan Leary and Signal Officer Adele Mundy prove an uncommonly engaging pair of protagonists. Mundy in particular is something of a novelty in the field--not particularly attractive, she's not only older than Leary, but she's also a formidable pistol shot, a genius with electronics (albeit something of a klutz otherwise) and not romantically involved with Leary (or anybody else). Finding themselves aboard the Royal Cinnabar Navy ship Princess Cecile, the two plunge into a multilayered sequence of adventures. They survive bureaucratic pettifogging as well as the machinations of charming and unscrupulous political exiles trying to get home, peril in space, attempted assassinations and an encounter with a den of pirates they hope to make into allies against Cinnabar's enemies. The suspense on the way to the climactic battle is genuine, and the action scenes are up to the author's very high standard. To top that off, Drake has also managed to rein in his sometimes tedious cynicism, replacing it with dry wit. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2000
Release date: 07/01/2000
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