The Ninth Circle

R.M. Meluch. DAW, $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0694-3
Meluch makes her fifth trip (after 2008’s Strength and Honor) to the universe of the spacegoing warship U.S.S. Merrimack, a futuristic Roman Empire, and a nasty bunch of insectoid aliens. This time out, the Merrimack’s crew are up against space pirates, disgraced former Roman soldiers who take one of the crew members hostage. The pirates are just pawns in a larger game involving the commander of the Merrimack, the new Roman emperor, and the planet Zoe, where the discovery of DNA-based life raises theological questions and creates some highly desirable galactic real estate. Meluch piles on the hard science, but her scientist characters are over-the-top milksops, and the action sequences are oddly inert. This installment is clearly targeted at existing fans of the series, and newcomers will find it tricky to get up to speed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-101-54806-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 437 pages - 978-0-7564-0764-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-7134-6
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