HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Book Review: Elizabeth Moon – Command Decision

Posted by HelenEdith on November 30, 2008

(Book four of Vatta’s War)

This book is as much about Rafe Dunbarger as it is about Kylara Vatta. Rafe has appeared in the earlier books, but takes a central role in this one, as he returns to his home planet, Nexus II, in disguise, to find out why his father hasn’t checked in with him lately. What he finds is that his family have been kidnapped and that his father’s right hand man and natural successor as chief of the ISC communications business has gone bad and is gradually eliminating Rafe’s family.

This all ties into the continuing story of the war that Kylara Vatta is fighting against space pirates, as ISC are the providers of the ansibles whose malfunctioning have given the pirates such an edge in their mission of capture and pillage.

Ky gets into hot water when she visits a system to resupply and on leaving, she is attacked by the inhabitants who have set up a nice little line in selling supplies and then capturing them back again to sell all over again to the next visitor. Without a working ansible, they’ve been getting away with it, too!

Ky is made of sterner suff than the last ship to be attacked in this way and she repels the boarders and leaves the system, along with a refugee ship which she escorts to a system of their choice.

The Ky and her fleet set out for an empty system to practise manoeuvres, but when they sent a scout on ahead to report, Ky’s old allies McKenzie are there. Ky decides to go anyway, and when she arrives, she finds that the pirates are there, too, and they’re attacking McKenzie. Ky and her fleet wade in and temporarily defeat the pirates, but McKenzie are waiting for a relief convoy and Ky won’t leave them until the relief arrives.

Meanwhile, one of Ky’s other ships, Bassoon, approaches the inoperative ansible in the system and repairs it. This triggers ISC’s business protection measures which strip the data from Bassoon‘s beacon and send it back to Nexus II, where Rafe has assumed control of ISC. However, he has a lot of bad apples to clear out of the barrel and his Enforcement department launch a fleet to punish Bassoon for messing with ISC’s property.

Rafe has his own means of warning Ky that this fleet is on its way. Ky and her fleet won’t leave McKenzie alone, so Ky stays. The ISC fleet duly arrive, and so do more pirates, as finally, does the McKenzie relief fleet. There’s a pretty big shoot-up!

When the space dust has settled, Ky goes back to the McKenzie home system and is offered a place with McKenzie. She seriously considers it, but gets a better offer right at the end of the book.

I suspect that Victory Conditions, the next part of this series, may well be the final book in the series. With Rafe at ISC cleaning out traitors and ansibles being repaired at long last, I think it’s only a matter of time before there’s a decisive battle and the pirates get their marching orders.

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