Marque and Reprisal
Kylara Vatta, risk-taking, rule-breaking, can-do heroine of , is back in business—the kind that’s anything but usual—in the new military science fiction adventure by ace action storyteller Elizabeth Moon.
The exciting military career she hoped for never got off the ground—but Ky Vatta ended up seeing plenty of combat when she took the helm of one of the commercial transport vessels in her family’s fleet…and steered it into a full-blown war. Now the lessons she learned in that trial by fire are about to pay off: because this time, the war has come to her. To be exact, someone unknown has launched a full-throttle offensive against Vatta Transport Ltd., Ky’s father’s interstellar shipping empire. In short order, most of Ky’s family is killed, and subsequent attacks sever vital lines of communication, leaving Ky fighting, in every sense, to survive.
Determined to identify the ruthless mystery enemy and avenge her family’s name, Ky needs not only firepower but information. And she gets both in spades—from the band of stranded mercenaries she hooks up with, from her black-sheep cousin, Stella, who’s been leading a secret life, and from Stella’s roguish ex-lover, Rafe. Together they struggle to penetrate the tangled web of political intrigue that’s wreaking havoc within InterStellar Communications, whose effective operation their own livelihoods—and perhaps lives—depend on.
But the infighting proves to be infectious, and it isn’t long before Ky’s hired military muscle are turning their suspicions on the enigmatic Rafe, whose wealth of knowledge about ISC’s clashing factions and startling new technologies has begun to make him smell like a rat…or a mole. With swift, violent destruction a very real possibility, the last thing Ky needs is a crew divided against itself—and she’s prepared to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that Vatta stays in business, as well as in one piece.
What she’s not prepared for is the shocking truth behind the terror—and a confrontation with murderous treachery from a source as unexpected as it is unrelenting.
Marque and Reprisal is Nebula Award winner Elizabeth Moon’s second novel about Kylara Vatta, starship captain in her family’s interstellar shipping business. Fresh from war, Ky is trying to resume a normal trading schedule when an unknown enemy attacks her prestigous family. Though her family is large, Ky may be its only surviving member. But she cannot confirm this, for sabotage has cut off communications between star systems. And Ky has other problems. She’s been turned into a privateer against her will. Her family’s mysterious foe knows where she is, and is trying to kill her. And she has a bloody secret of her own.
Packed with action and intrigue, Marque and Reprisal and its prequel, Trading in Danger, are as strong and interesting as Elizabeth Moon’s popular Serrano Legacy series, which also successfully combines hard SF, military SF, and adventure SF with interstellar and familial politics. The Kylara Vatta novels will please fans of the Serrano Legacy, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan saga, David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, and Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile novels. —Cynthia Ward