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David Drake [is] the reason a lot of people got started reading military science fiction, because it's always a good idea to start with the best.--David Weber
Captain Daniel Leary with his friend–and spy–Officer Adele Mundy are sent to a quiet sector to carry out an easy task: helping the local admiral put down a coup before it takes place. But then the jealous admiral gets rid of them by sending them off on a wild goose chase to a sector where commerce is king and business is carried out by extortion and gunfights.
With anarchy and rebellion in the air, a rogue intelligence officer plots the war that will destroy civilization and enlists the help of a brute whom even torturers couldn't stomach. And, of course, it’s up to Leary and Mundy to put a stop to the madness.
In the ninth book of Drake's The RCN Series (after 2011's What Distant Deeps), Captain Daniel Leary and information savant Adele Mundy of the Republic of Cinnabar Navy are sent on a covert mission into Alliance space to uncover and potentially end a revolt on the frontier planet of Sunbright. Rumor has it that the rebel leader, known only as Freedom, is an agent of Cinnabar, and Leary must discover the truth and stop the rebellion before Alliance-Cinnabar interstellar relations devolve into full-scale war. Loosely based on Livy's account of Hamilcar's third-century B.C.E. rebellion against Rome, this colorless and repetitive character-driven space opera mixes history and military science fiction, but fails to add up to anything more than a dull mess.