With the Lightnings

David Drake, Editor, David Drake, Author Baen Books $22 (336p) ISBN 978-0-671-87881-8
Veteran military SF author Drake (the Hammer's Slammers series) launches an unlikely pair of star warriors at the far-future and evil Alliance of Free Stars, which is locked in mortal combat with the Republic of Cinnabar over the wealthy trading world of Kostroma. Cheeky young Cinnabaran Lt. Cassian Daniels has quarreled with his powerful and merciless father, who has tossed him out and left him to his own slim devices. Spunky young librarian Adele Mundy is the sole survivor of her Cinnabar clan, which was wiped out in a conspiracy led by the elder Daniels. After some colorful initial posturing, Cassian and Adele pool their familial pride and anti-totalitarian views in Cassian's impromptu first command, a scratch crew trapped ashore in an Alliance coup. Together they outwit (Cassian's doing) and outshoot (Adele's forte) the bad guys. Updating dashing Horatio Hornblower tactics and vintage John Wayne heroics with crisply delineated space-age equipment, a convincing extraterrestrial setting and formidably battle-hardened female NCOs, Drake gives a familiar plot a full measure of appealing derring-do. This surely shouldn't, and probably won't, be Cassian and Adele's last adventure together. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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