Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rules of Engagement by Elizabeth Moon

Rules of Engagement
Elizabeth Moon is an author who has successfully managed the transition between being a noted fantasy author and being a noted science fiction author. She joins the ranks of what I consider to be the military sf cadre with her last several novels, the latest and greatest of which is Rules of Engagement. This book is the sequel to Once a Hero, which falls loosely into the same series as Sporting Chance, Hunting Party, etc.
This tale centers around the lives of two young women, Esmay Suiza and Brun Seira. Esmay is a career space navy officer, while Brun is a rather talented, though headstrong, scion of the idle rich. Actually calling all of them idle rich might be a little unfair, as many of their fortunes were acquired the hard way, and some do actually do a little work, in Moon's universe, anyway.
Esmay and Brun could probably learn to be friends, but a misunderstanding sets them at each other's throats. In a fairly predictable fashion, Brun is kidnapped by the space militia and Esmay is the only one who can possibly rescue her, against all odds.
Well, anything Moon writes is a pretty fun read, so I can't complain too much, but I really couldn't get myself too worked up over any of the conflicts in this novel. There was one interesting part, towards the end of the book, when one of the villains of the piece gets his comeuppance and in the process reveals more depth than we'd have ever expected given the characterization of most of the rest of the participants in this space soap opera. Interestingly enough, the only other character to show any real depth was a character "imported" from a previous novel.

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