What are zombies doing in my military science fiction?
I mean, not only do we have crazy conspiracy theories and all sorts of trouble that is always attracted by former Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr, but now there’s zombies too. Good thing Torin’s always prepared for anything but…seriously. Space zombies. And they’re H’san too. And everyone knows the H’san like cheese but that’s all we really know.
Okay, let’s back up before I really start ranting.
Today I finished An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff. This is the first book in Peacekeeper, a sequel to the Confederation series (AKA the Valor books). The previous series showed us highlights of Torin’s military career, including ending the war with the Primacy which was only begun because sentient plastic wanted to run a large-scale social experiment. Then she went off with her Civilian Salvage Operator and tried to live a normal life, only to have situations calling for her…specific skill set arise. Now she and her team work for the Justice Department. Which is why they get tapped to prevent a civil war in the Confederation.
The H’san are one of the Elder Races, one of the most ancient sentient species that helped to found the Confederation. Middle Races were accepted later on, but after the war started the Younger Races were recruited to fight, because the Elder Races in particular had long since given up fighting. This radically changed the face of the Confederation, as you might imagine.
Now, the H’san’s original solar system was abandoned in the early days of the Confederation due to their sun becoming a red giant. However, rumor has risen its ugly head claiming that one of the remaining planets is a cemetary, and for more than just bodies. Evidence suggests that if there are weapons stored in such a place, they almost certainly still function. And no one in the Confederation is more interested in ancient, powerful weapons than the Younger Races.
So when ancient H’san grave goods start showing up on the black market, it’s no wonder that Torin and her team are called in to deal with the problem.
Sorry I didn’t reread the Valor books ahead of time to give you an idea of what’s going on in this world and what’s already happened, but I’m really only a fan of the first one in the end. The rest are…acceptable. I just…don’t do conspiracy theories? Kind of ruins the fun and then you see coincidences everywhere and it ruins your ability to simply enjoy things. Anyway, let’s just say that there’s sentient plastic and it’s the same stuff I was referring to when I talked about evil space blobs. It’s left Torin with a bit of paranoia, but I do not blame her in the least.
The team’s been gradually easing into civilian life, though having military-esque operations helps to provide them with an outlet and opportunities to use their training. They are slowly overcoming their issues, and there’s a gay couple, which is not at all subtle and this makes me giggle. Especially because they’re Krai. Krai are about 5′ tall max, have opposable toes as well as thumbs, and can eat just about anything. And the Krai in these books tend to be pretty grouchy, which makes it even funnier when they’re being a couple and one’s reading romances. You can figure Krai for one of the younger races, because the two on the team were in Torin’s platoon.
The other two Younger Races are Humans (duh) and Taykan. The Taykan who serve in the military are in their di phase (their lifespan encompasses several different phases) and they will have six with just about anyone. They exude pheremones which cause arousal in those around them, including those of other species. The first book says they invented scented massage oil before the wheel.
Anyway, An Ancient Peace feels like the second part of a transition. Between this and The Truth of Valor, we see Torin’s search of finding the civilian life that will not only satisfy her, but also allow her to finally set her demons free. I wouldn’t say that she’s let loose of all of them yet, but I don’t think she’ll be switching jobs again after this book. Overall, it’s a good read. I’m still asking why we have to have zombies, but the book’s fine despite that.
I think I’ll go for an anthology tomorrow, if only because there’ll be a lot less time for detailed conspiracies there. I don’t care that trends in books merely follow trends in real life. I am sick and tired of this stuff. I see it on the internet all day; I don’t need it in my free time.