cover image Through the Breach

Through the Breach

David Drake. Ace Books, $19.95 (327pp) ISBN 978-0-441-00171-2

This successor to Igniting the Reaches is not one of Drake's better works. Drake is usually adept at choreographing battle scenes, but here narrator Jeremy Moore's rendition of combat makes every adventure seem like Julien Sorel's walk through Waterloo in Stendhal's The Red and the Black. Moore travels with Piet Ricimer and Stephen Gregg, space pirates from Venus who, aboard the starship Oriflamme, are out to save civilization and interstellar free trade from an oppressive Earth-based government. Like most literary pirate crews, these men are as religious as they choose to be. As Ricimer says, ``The real danger isn't race or religion, you know. It's the attitude that some men, some people... have to be controlled from above for their own good. One day I believe the Lord will help us defeat that idea.'' Yet for all the holiness of the cause, the action-far too often overshadowed by talk-is less than satisfying; among other problems. Moore, a womanizing nobleman, doesn't quite measure up to the more substantial Ricimer and Gregg, either. Drake credibly conjures up his world, but readers will be left thinking that Ricimer and Gregg-and even Moore-deserve better. (May)