Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

So Scott Card, when he reviewed the Retrieval Artists series as a whole, said (or at least implied) that they didn't have to be read in any particular order; that they stood alone. That may very well be somewhat true, but without the background from at least the first novel, I think you'll be lost. In fact, when I read the third, Consequences, without reading the second, it left me wondering if I had perhaps missed some significant events in the lives of its main protagonists, who were introduced in The Disappeared, former detective turned Retrieval Artist Miles Flynn, and former detective turned assistant chief of police for Armstrong Dome (on the Moon), Noelle DeRicci. I had actually hoped to run onto a reasonably priced copy of the second book, Extremes, but never did, so I finally jumped into this one feet first.

If you've ever heard the line, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", I think you've found the single foundation upon which the whole story is built. Representatives of the new government of Etae, who began as the rebel forces toppling the repressive and brutal government of the planet, have arrived at Armstrong Dome to begin meetings with the Assembly?? to determine whether they will be allowed to join this group of "civilized" worlds and races and enjoy the flow of foreign aid to their impoverished and starving citizens. Some of the diplomats arriving at the conference are strongly opposed to the Etaens recognition, while others are more sympathetic, hence plenty of room for some rather topical discussions about how former terrorists turned statespeople should be treated.

There are also dangerous enemies of the Etaens in the mix, people who, for various reasons, would rather see them dead than successful, and DeRicci's and Flynn's involvement begins when a trio of Flynn's former clients are murdered in a very odd fashion. DeRicci is made chief investigator on the case, and Flynn decides he needs to figure out what's going on both to protect himself and avenge the Disappeared who has been killed.

Multiple POVs, well handled, some good suspenseful mystery, a bit of danger, and some deeper political questions posed - if not answered. Rusch delivers a good tale once again.

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