Friday, September 28, 2012

The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff

 Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr is wondering whether implying that General Morris' parents were not married was such a good idea when she is picked especially by him to head up another difficult mission. An alien ship has been discovered by an independent salvage operator, Craig Ryder, and the Space Navy and a detachment of Marines are being sent to escort the civilian scientists of various races investigating the craft. Sound familiar? Kerr has her hands full keeping her Marines in line, and dealing with the civilians' foibles, as well. In addition, she's been assigned a grandstanding political commander for the mission, Captain Taryk, whom she is expected to bring back alive and covered in glory.

The alien ship is full of surprises, and things end up in a situation reminiscent of Captain Kirk's battle with the Gorn in a long ago Star Trek episode. One of The Others' ships arrives shortly after the Navy's, and both "landing parties" are trapped on the vessel, battling each other on their way to the next usable airlock. Whichever force is victorious will be allowed to leave, apparently.

While Kerr doesn't manage to get all of her charges home safely, she does her usual bang-up job, accompanied by explosions and destruction. A fun read, with plenty of witty dialog, but nothing deep or meaningful in this story.

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