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Scornful Stars: Breaker of Empires #3    by Richard Baker order for
Scornful Stars
by Richard Baker
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2019 (2019)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Scornful Stars follows Valiant Dust and Restless Lightning as the third in Richard Baker's gripping military SF series, Breaker of Empires. Its hero is Sikander Singh North. He is a Kashmiri royal, his home system a client state to Aquila, far behind in technology and industrial development. As a younger son, Sikander joined the Commonwealth Navy, accompanied by his valet/minder Darvesh Reza.

In the first episode, he took risks to win an interplanetary conflict, but disobeyed a superior's order to do so. This left his career in question. He saved the day once more in the second episode, interacting with the alien Tzoru Empire. In both adventures, he developed a strong romantic interest, but had to move on. This happens again (shipping magnate Elena Pavon this time), and we also see more of Sikander's interactions with his family while on leave.

As this episode opens, Sikander has his first command, of the destroyer Decisive. Their job is to rout out pirates in the Zerzura Sector, governed by Pasha Marid al-Zahabi. Said pirates prove impossible to find - until an unexpected delay forces a patrol schedule change. Soon, Sikander and his crew are embroiled in an interplanetary Great Game, involving series super-villain, Dremish Otto Bleindel. And once again, Sikander and those close to him get into perilous action up close and all too personal.

I enjoy Sikander Singh North's adventures just as much as I've appreciated those of Horatio Hornblower, Honor Harrington, and Kylara Vatta. This one made a significant change in Sikander's life, and I look forward to what comes next for him.

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