Daw, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
The Better Part of Valor
The Heart of Valor
in Tanya Huff's absorbing
military SF series. It features marines - humans allied with weird and wonderful alien races - in space, locked in a life and death struggle against the mysterious bug-like
unnery Sergeant Torin Kerr has become a legend through these adventures - in the first, she convinced the aggressive reptilian Silsviss to join the Confederation; in the second, she survived a challenging IQ test aboard gigantic derelict spaceship
(which turned out to be mysterious alien(s)), while in the third she discovered '
bits of polynumerous shape-shifting organic plastic alien that boots through our security protocols like cheddar through a H'san
'. Along the way, her hot romance with salvage operator Craig Ryder evolved into a more serious relationship.
arly on in
, Craig and Torin's father are informed that '
Gunnery Sergeant Kerr died while performing her duty as a Marine
' in a major attack with catastrophic losses - the blast melted her position and no bodies have been recovered. But readers know better, as Torin awakens in an underground prison, to discover that one of her fellow Marines has set himself up as a petty dictator, abusing and killing fellow prisoners. Of course, she quickly sorts that out, moving on to explore the prison - and lead a disparate group to seek a way out.
n route, they encounter
with the same objective. The former enemies ally in a temporary truce, and find more in common than they might have expected - when a subordinate tells Torin she '
can't just redefine enemy!
', her snappy rejoinder is that '
History does it all the time.
' Together they make it to the surface. By a suspicious coincidence, Craig and the singlemindedly ruthless feline journalist Presit track enemy ships from the battle zone and end up near the volcanic prison planet, which is rapidly becoming more unstable. And when Torin finally figures out what's really going on, she is thoroughly pissed.
episode ends with a big question mark about the alien
as well as a major life change for the indomitable Torin Kerr. Being thoroughly hooked on this highly entertaining series, I can't wait to find out what comes next.
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