Mutineer - Mike Shepherd

In theory, I don't like this kind of book: pro-military, supporting the idea of elite family dynasties that keep the rest of us safe, a thinly built universe with good guys and bad guys. In practice, it turned out to be a solidly written, entertaining adventure with moments of reflection on the challenges of command and the real meaning of duty.

 

In this book, the start of the Kris Longknife series of military space adventures, Kris is a newly-minted ensign in her planet's navy. She has joined the navy to escape her family. This is a challenging thing to do: her father in the president of the planet and her grandfathers are both senior officers who's actions have shaped recent history.

 

We follow Kris as she grows as an officer, meeting challenges ranging from rescuing a kidnapped child, distributing disaster relief, through to her first space battle.

 

The action scenes are well done, the military situations are credible and clearly described. The weapons are perhaps better defined than the society using them. The characters are a little stereotypical but they fit the plot well and I slowly built an affection for them.

I was surprised and pleased to see that the book included some reflection on the challenges of command and how an officer grows.

 

I came to this book by following the narrator, Dina Perlman, who does a good job on Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov series. At the beginning of the book, I thought she might have been the wrong choice for the book because she was emoting heavily on what was quite low-key scene-setting.  After the first couple of chapters, she got into her stride and did a good job with one big, almost painful, exception: her Scotts accents are so bad, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry but either way, I was seriously distracted.

 

Still, the book was good fun. The next time I'm in the mood for military sci fi, I'll be picking up the next one in the series.