cover image The Accidental War

The Accidental War

Walter Jon Williams. Harper Voyager, $16.99 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-246702-7

This capable military SF trilogy opener begins slowly, but Williams (Impersonations) delivers the goods in the end. Senior Captain Lord Gareth Martinez and Senior Captain Caroline, Lady Sula, of the Terran Fleet find themselves with little to do now that the Naxid Rebellion is over. Gareth founds a yacht racing club while Sula, as head of Clan Sula, becomes a member of the ruling body of the interplanetary Praxis. Politics, yachting, and high finance occupy them, but then bank failures ripple across the Praxis and the economy plummets. The less than scintillating financial intricacies allow Williams to set up all that follows: Terrans are scapegoated, then targeted by riots, and when a Fleet insider learns that all Terran Fleet crews will be removed and questioned in pursuit of a fictitious mutiny, Gareth and Sula gather as many Terran officers as they can and flee to the one base held by a Terran commander. Williams doesn’t lead with battles, but the groundwork that he lays ensures that this new war can carry several future volumes. This is a solid start to a series that military science fiction fans should enjoy. (Sept.)