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Agent of Change    by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller Amazon.com order for
Agent of Change
by Sharon Lee
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2002 (1988)
Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Val Con yos' Phelium is an 'agent of change' (a secret agent), fast, efficient, deadly. On covert assignment for Liad, he knows how much is at stake and how important it is to maintain secrecy. All else is secondary. Yet he astonishes even himself by intervening to help a young woman fighting for her life against a pack of hired assassins. She is holding her own almost but Val Con's intervention saves her life and leaves him, much to his subsequent surprise, unconscious.

Miri Robertson, retired mercenary and unemployed bodyguard, is mistrustful of outsiders. Made wary by her rough childhood. she trusts only her fellow mercs, her only 'family'. Still, she cannot leave her good samaritan helpless in an alley, and she does need help. Her last employer was assassinated, in a no-holds-barred assault that left virtually his entire staff dead, even the most harmless. Now the unknown enemy is hunting Miri. The two join forces. Val Con has missed his designated escape route from Earth, so Miri finds herself on a wild ride as he accesses alternative resources.

Agent of Change is a delirious interplanetary romp that introduces the reader to a myriad of engaging and baleful characters. Some of the most memorable are Val Con's Clutch 'brothers', serenely good-natured, over-sized, tortoise-like aliens who should never, ever be crossed. The duo stays a bare jump ahead of pursuers who, in addition to Miri's assassins, include Val Con's sinister bosses. Eventually, Miri and Val Con do escape their hunters, but the respite is only temporary; and the ill-fated couple find themselves in yet another pickle.

The authors write well, bringing to life not only their characters but diverse cultures and worlds. Val Con and Miri are well matched, finding in each other a different source of strength. Like me, you'll be eager to read the sequel that continues their adventures, Carpe Diem.

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