Henry Martyn

L. Neil Smith, Author Tor Books $17.95 (437p) ISBN 978-0-312-93186-5
Best known for his libertarian science fiction ( The Probability Broach ), Smith offers a change of pace with this swashbuckling space adventure, loosely patterned in the spirit of Rafael Sabatini and C. S. Forester. The powerful imperia-conglomerate of the 31st century spans the star systems, extorting from those under its rule. When young Arran Islay decides to live as a brigand, he declares war on ``those who live by stealing property--life and liberty--from its rightful owners.'' Adopting the name of his murdered friend, Henry Martyn, he sets sail in search of fortune and revenge. Other Islay family members are fully delineated and play important roles in this story, written in an evocatively archaic style reminiscent of both the classic adventure tales familiar from childhood and the space operas of 1930s pulp fiction. The author has a flair for inventive future terminology and imaginative concepts: `` Legos : The architectural style was still referred to by its legendary name.'' Smith blends intergalactic action, heroics and derring-do into a futuristic political thriller, and the result is a delight: piracy in high space, penned with panache. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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