Kylara Vatta, risk-taking, rule-breaking, can-do heroine of Trading in Danger, is back in business-the kind that's anything but usual-in the new military science fiction adventure by ace action storyteller Elizabeth Moon.The exciting military career she hoped for never got off the ground-but Ky Vatta ended up seeing plenty of combat when she took the helm of one of the commercial transport vessels in her family's fleet . . . and steered it into a full-blown war. Now the lessons she learned in that trial by fire are about to pay off: because this time, the war has come to her. To be exact, someone unknown has launched a full-throttle offensive against Vatta Transport Ltd., Ky's father's interstellar shipping empire. In short order, most of Ky's family is killed, and subsequent attacks sever vital lines of communication, leaving Ky fighting, in every sense, to survive.
After her debut in Moon's somewhat lackluster Trading in Danger (2003),capable young Kylara Vatta, now captain of a dilapidated space freighter, lets loose in this rip-roaring sequel. With most of her immediate family back home on Slotter Key blown to smithereens in a dastardly sneak attack and communication lines down, Ky must first find out who's responsible then kill the villains out to drain Vatta blood. But this military SF tale is no mere shoot-'em-up. Ky thinks as well as she fights, coolly weighing commercial alternatives and handily using such human resources as her undercover operative cousin Stella and precocious teenager Toby Vatta, as well as the hard-currency diamonds that arrived with Stella in Aunt Gracie's legendary fruitcake. Though mildly tempted, Ky also sees through fetching chick-magnet Rafe (he of many aliases), son of the top of InterStellar Communication's command and now a covert agent with his own complex agenda. The charm lies in Moon's deft characterizations, especially the exorcism of Ky's guilt over her family's deaths. There's plenty of shipboard and dockside action, plus authentically grungy space-station settings. Former Marine Moon has a genuine hoorah series going for her. Agent, Joshua Blimes. (On sale Sept. 28) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon
Kylara Vatta looked at the mass of paperwork from Belinta's Economic Development Bureau and sighed. The real life of a tradeship captain: paperwork and more paperwork, negotiation with shippers, customers, Customs officials. The life she hadn't wanted, when she chose to enter the Slotter Key Spaceforce Academy, and the life she had fallen back into when she was expelled. Boring. Mundane.
Not that her recent experiences in Sabine had been boring or mundane-terrifying was more like it-and no one would want another trip like that.
Except that she did. She remembered very clearly the rush of excitement, the soaring glee of the fight itself, the guilty delight when she'd killed Paison and Kristoffson. So either she wasn't sane or . . . or nothing. She thought of the diamonds tucked into her underwear drawer. Not enough to restore her old tub of a ship completely, but enough to take her to somewhere else, somewhere she could make the kind of life she really wanted. Perhaps the mercenaries would accept her violent tendencies; they'd offered a chance. Perhaps someone else. It would annoy her family, but not as much as the truth would hurt them.
No. She had to finish one job at least. Crew depended on her. The ship belonged to her family, as well, and she could not possibly earn enough to buy it away by the next stop or the next. She sighed again, signed another sheet, and stared at the next. All right, then. Take this old tub to Leonora, deliver that cargo, then to Lastway.