The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Secret Wars And Silos

Posted on | December 12, 2014 | 6 Comments

— compiled by Wombat-socho

I thought I’d already read David Drake’s What Distant Deeps, the eighth book in his Lieutenant Leary/RCN series, but I was wrong, and gladly so. Drake has become a master of filing the serial numbers off obscure historical events, repainting them, and turning them into decent adventure novels, and What Distant Deeps is another one of these. Leary and his crew (including Adele Mundy, Deadliest Librarian in the ‘Verse) are hired to carry the new Cinnabar commissioner to his post on a rather barbaric planet on the border with the Alliance, but as usual things go pear-shaped as it seems one of the Republic’s clients would like to reignite the recently-concluded war between Cinnabar and the Alliance. Skulduggery, mayhem and hilarity ensue.

Along the same lines, John Ringo and Julie Cochrane’s Sister Time is a wheels-within-wheels tale of assassination, theft, and inter-species trade war that brings “Iron Mike” O’Neal’s daughters Cally and Michelle together against a rogue human mentat who’s obtained what can only be described as a mind-raping device. Just to make things more interesting, the theft that begins the novel, where Cally snatches some extremely valuable code keys from a Darhel chief’s office, sets off an effort by the Tongs to badly screw a Darhel clan in the best way possible – costing them money and maybe, just possibly, a couple of clan chiefs. Probably the best of the three “middle” novels by Ringo & Cochrane dealing with the secret war between the O’Neal/Bane Sidhe and the Darhel, with the return of Mosovich and Mueller from the original Posleen War tetralogy as the cherry on the sundae.

I had high hopes for Hugh Howey’s Shift, which is the sequel to Wool but seems to be more of a backstory to the events in Wool. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for depressing stories right now, but this was reminding me entirely too much of an old novel by Howard Berk, The Sun Grows Cold, which tells the same sort of tale about the Apocalypse, and I just wasn’t feeling up to it.

On the other hand, Sam Schall’s Vengeance from Ashes is decent brain candy and worth checking out. I borrowed it from the Amazon Prime Lending Library and may be picking it up to keep next month when the loan expires; it’s that good. Basically, this is the tale of Marine Captain Ashlyn Shaw, framed along with her unit for war crimes and imprisoned in a brutal prison camp where abuse is the norm. A change in governments allows her friends and family to free her and her men, but can she trust them enough to help her find and impose justice on those who set her up to fall, even as a new war erupts on the frontier?

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6 Responses to “Secret Wars And Silos”

  1. richard mcenroe
    December 12th, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

    I particularly like Granpa O’Neal’s solution for short-circuiting the most powerful human psychic in the galaxy…

  2. Ruy Diaz
    December 12th, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

    My recommendation to W-S: give Fred Saberhagen’s ‘Empire of the East’ a try. It is a trilogy, but the three books are short; about 600 pages total. One of the best fantasy/sci-fi splits I’ve ever read.

  3. Ruy Diaz
    December 12th, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

    The whole ‘sister fight’ sequence is a delight.

  4. Wombat_socho
    December 12th, 2014 @ 11:44 pm

    Empire of the East is indeed most excellent, and I am remiss in not mentioning Saberhagen before this. He’s a great example of a writer who never won any awards but wrote a whole lot of entertaining SF.

  5. Warren Hall
    December 13th, 2014 @ 9:26 am

    My recommendation “Amy Lynn” by Jack July

    More an origin story than a traditional novel, Jack July’s
    Amy Lynn follows the coming-of-age of a charming little Southern girl. Raised in
    a family of bootleggers and scoundrels, the motherless Amy is adopted by her
    Aunt Carla Jo, who teaches her everything about being a woman. A triumvirate of
    male Southern characters teach her other lessons: how to survive, how to live
    off the land, and how to be a winner. By the time Amy enlists in the United
    States Navy, she is the sort of heroic figure who commands respect – and over
    the course of her service in Afghanistan as a corpsmen attached to a Marine
    unit, she surprises everyone with her strength, skills, and heart.

    July has a rough style and is not a polished writer, but he can tell a
    mesmerizing story. Throughout the book, he takes little sidetracks to tell the
    stories of different key characters in Amy Lynn’s life, each one a little gem in
    its own way. If you are not already intimate with Southern country life, this
    book will challenge everything you might believe about modern redneck culture.
    If, however, you are a Southerner (by the grace of God), you will find yourself
    nodding in recognition as each character is revealed and the often-byzantine
    system of family and favors within Jackson County is shown in action.

    Plus right now it’s .99

  6. SDN
    December 14th, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    And his take on Dracula should be the gold standard for the whole “vampire today” genre, especially since Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has taken St-Germain over the shark: the latest offering has St-Germain “rescuing” people from the HUAC committee and McCarthy……