BOOK REVIEW Victory Conditions

Female Han Solo kicks pirate ass

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Author: Elizabeth Moon

Publisher: Orbit

480 pages • £7.99

ISBN: 978-1-84149-598-9


In the fifth book of the Vatta’s War series, space opera, political SF and military SF blend together to conclude the turbulent journey of the space-faring Vatta family.
Ky and Stella Vatta have been facing challenging circumstances since pirates targeted their family as the first show of power for their conquering forces. With most of the Vatta family dead and their empire shattered, Stella must overcome her bimbo reputation and rebuild the business; meanwhile Ky must convince the numerous star systems that everyone is at risk…

Executed with military precision, the structure of this five-book story has been highly logical, with only a couple of plot moments feeling contrived. Constructed in many incremental steps like some fictional Mayan temple, this final volume crowns the structure and offers a great view of the effort taken to reach these heights.

From here you can see Moon's primary themes: what would happen if the communications infrastructure was disabled? What would be the personal, economic and political ramifications of such a failure? And, crucially, what if that failure had been engineered by parties unknown, with their own agenda for wealth accumulation? The answers are here – and they’re in-depth, galaxy-spanning and poignantly laced with humanity in all the right places.

The transformation of the characters keeps things personal, while the many battles add excitement. At times the attention to detail snags the pace but, overall, this has been a solid series that defies the law of diminishing returns.

Sandy Auden

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