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Trading in Danger    by Elizabeth Moon order for
Trading in Danger
by Elizabeth Moon
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Elizabeth Moon is one of the most entertaining of current writers of speculative fiction, both for her outstanding Deed of Paksennarion fantasy epic, and for rousing space opera like her Heris Serrano series. She shares with Anne McCaffrey the ability to make us really like, and empathize with, her heroines. Though they tend to be ernest and well intentioned people, they are never boring.

Kylara Vatta, only daughter in a family that runs a prestigious interstellar shipping corporation, has bucked tradition by her choice of a military career. Though her performance at the Academy has been outstanding, a mistaken desire to help a fellow cadet leads to betrayal and expulsion from the service. The family rallies around her, sending Ky as Captain on a safe milk run, to take an old, failing ship, the Glennys Jones, to the scrapyard. This is intended to kill two birds with one stone - to get Kylara away from media attention and also engage her in the family business.

A series of circumstances leave Ky and crew 'on an unspaceworthy ship at a space station orbiting a world at war'. To make matters worse, one side has blown up the ansibles, cutting off communication from the rest of the universe. How does a green young captain deal with this huge challenge? Read the book to find out, but I'll tell you this - it's space opera at the top of its form, involving mercenaries and mutiny, with an engaging coming of age story thrown in for good measure. And in dealing with what's thrown at her, Ky matures and finds that there are 'no easy answers, no easy comfort.'

I like Elizabeth Moon's new heroine very much, and look forward to more of her adventures - which I expect to be very popular with the author's already huge following.

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