Monday, March 11, 2013

When Diplomacy Fails by Michael Z. Williamson

I'm sorry to say that When Diplomacy Fails is probably the least remarkable of all of Williamson's stories set in the Freehold universe. The only thing I can think of is that it's meant to be a transitional  book, getting things ready for some new, politically twisty and explosively good action in his next novel.

Shortly after successfully protecting Caron Prescot from multiple assassination attempts, earning her gratitude and, in Aramis' case a bit more, Ripple Creek gets an assignment to protect Bureau of State Minister Joy Highland as she goes on a diplomatic tour on a very troubled planet. A willful bureacrat used to getting her own way turns out to be just as challenging to protect as a headstrong young heiress, and given the sheer number of political and religious factions on Mtali there are plenty of folks who would be happy to see her dead, including some factions within the UN who see her as a threat to their candidate for the top spot in a coming election.

There are plenty of gun battles, a kidnapping, and Elke gets to blow stuff up a lot, so the action doesn't drag at all, once the stage is set. I just don't feel as if the characters were developed more thoroughly, the plot had no major twists, and I just felt as if it wasn't up to Williamson's usual standards.

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