Kris Longknife is a daughter of privilege, born to money and power. Her father is the Prime Minister of her home planet, her mother the consummate politician’s wife. She’s been raised only to be beautiful and to marry well. But the heritage of the military Longknifes courses through Kris’s blood—and, against her parents’ objections, she enlists in the marines.
She has a lot to live up to and a lot to prove in the long-running struggle between her powerful family, a highly defensive—and offensive—Earth, and the hundreds of warring colonies. And then an ill-conceived attack brings the war close to home, putting Kris’s life on the line. Now she has only one choice: certain death on the front lines of rim space—or mutiny...
Kris Longknife: Mutineer
The Kris Longknife series appeals to us, as we are Elizabeth Moon fans. I also really like C.J. Cherryh. While Mike Shepard does not go as deep into military command structure, space navy tactics or the "physics" behind them as does Elizabeth Moon, he does write compelling and enjoyable space opera with enough plot twists to keep you guessing, and nicely rounded characters that you either like immensely, loath, or hang on a pendulum-swing between those emotions because they have purposely murky motivations and their treatment of the main protagonist/heroine, Kris, changes accordingly. You find yourself aghast at the neglect/mistreatment of Kris by her privileged family.
For those who find C.J. Cherryh's "Foreigner" series too full of long internal monologues of self-analysis and inter-species pitfalls in communication, etc (I don't count myself among you, but can certainly understand why many find her "heavy reading"), the Kris Longknife series is dialed back to perhaps 40% of that, so I found the series to be enjoyable "medium-light" reading. Meaty enough too keep my interest so that I read nine books in a period of 7 days. Try 'em, you'll get a lot of enjoyment if you like military/civilian mixed space opera with some political factionalism and a healthy dose of avoided assassination attempts thrown in.
A Fun and Quick Read
I have been a fan of the Honor Harrington series (which is available digitally only through Baen e-scriptions website, not through the iBookstore) but was getting bored with the more recent additions to the series which seemed to transition from combat to meeting (to be fair, I felt ready to die reading about endless meetings so maybe it is a way to kill your foes too). I was looking for a new series and found Kris Longknife. The story starts off on an intense hostage mission that really brings forward enduring issues not only in the main character but also the plot. This sets off a series of interesting events that fleshes out the characters, including an artificial intelligence Nelly and security agent Jack. I loved reading about the technology, including shapeshifting metal (think Terminator 2 like metal that can mold itself into anything) as well as the universe Shepherd creates. But most of all, I enjoyed the plot. The plot originality in this series is great; I always look forward to the next adventure because I never know what to expect Longknife has gotten herself into now. This book is no different as engages in a series of interesting action-oriented events and ends with a powerful resolution with far reaching consequences in future books. While I would only rate this as a four-star book initially since the writing style could be a bit more refined (this is fixed as the series progresses), knowing how it sets up the rest of the (currently) 8 book series moves it to 5 stars. If you enjoy books like Honor Harrington or sci-fi action books, do yourself a favor and read this series as well.
This is the first book in the Kris Longknife series and is a great find for light-hearted reading. Just enough history thrown in of the tragedy in the protagonist's youth to understand her motivation to succeed in her leadership role of leading a group of futuristic space marines to rescue a kidnapped six-year old. You'll quickly come to like this tall, confident member of the Longknife clan and will be more than ready for the next book in the series, Deserter!