Vicky Peterwald: Target
BEAUTY AND THE BATTLEFIELD
Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Victoria Maria Teresa Inez Smythe-Peterwald, daughter of wealth and power, was raised to do little except be attractive and marry well. Then everything changed—her brother, her father’s favorite and the heir apparent, was killed in battle by Lieutenant Kris Longknife, daughter of the Peterwald’s longtime enemies. Vicky vowed revenge, but her skill set was more suitable for seduction than assassination, and she failed. Angry and disappointed, her father decided she needed military training and forced her to join the Navy.
Now Ensign Vicky Peterwald is part of a whole new world, where use of her ample charms will not lead to advancement. But her father is the Emperor, and what he wants he gets. What he wants is for Vicky to learn to be efficiently ruthless and deadly.
Though the lessons are hard learned, Vicky masters them—with help from an unexpected source: Kris Longknife.
In deep space, she's Navy Ensign Vicky Peterwald. Back on her homeworld, she's Her Imperial Grace the Grand Duchess Lt. Victoria Maria Teresa Inez Smythe-Peterwald, daughter of the emperor and in the eyes of the emperor's new and much younger wife, Annah completely superfluous. Vicky was raised to serve as a marriageable pawn, but now returning home only puts her in reach of Annah's assassins. However, Vicky has deadly skills of her own. This first spin-off from Shepherd's popular Kris Longknife books is fast paced, but restricted to setting up the conundrums that will drive the next two novels in the trilogy. Vicky's critiques of women's increasingly constrained roles in the imperial court are undermined by the frequent character descriptions composed of pure male gaze. The result is entertaining but disappointingly, avoidably shallow.