NESFA Members' Reviews

Change of Command

by Elizabeth Moon

Baen, 1999, ISBN 0-671-57840-5

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

This is, as it says right on the front cover, the sequel to Rules of Engagement. What it doesn't mention is that it's only the first half of the sequel.

Esmay Suiza and Barin Serrano, having patched things up at the end of the previous book, are engaged. This of course makes no one happy. The Serranos are concerned that marrying someone whose background isn't Fleet and who is in fact a Landbride of Altiplano will damage his career prospects. The Suizas know that Esmay marrying Barin will cause major trouble for them; they're having problems just on the strength of the rumors. Fleet regulations, Esmay discovers when she starts filling out the paperwork, pretty much forbide Esmay (a Fleet officer and a Landbride) to exist, and certainly don't allow Barin to marry her if she does--unless they can get an exception.

Meanwhile, Bunny Thornbuckle, Speaker of the Table of Ministers and the Grand Council, effective ruler of the Familias Regnant and father of Brun Meager, has been assassinated, and an ambitious, reactionary fool has been elected in his place. And the real excitement starts when a mutiny seizes control of Fleet base planet that includes Copper Mountain, a weapons research facility, and a Fleet prison.

And at this point, it becomes impossible to say anything more about what happens, without major spoilers for this book, because of where in the plot this book ends. It's in the usual competent, reasonably exciting Moon style, and I do recommend reading it--but perhaps after the next volume is out, and you can read the whole thing, rather than coming to a screeching halt in the middle.

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