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Endurance: A Stardoc Novel    by S. L. Viehl order for
by S. L. Viehl
Order:  USA  Can
Roc, 2001
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Endurance is the third book in this series, following Stardoc and Beyond Varallan. Its heroine Dr. Cherijo Torin reminds me of Laurell K. Hamilton's popular Vampire executioner Anita Blake. Torin has the same feisty character, attraction to the men and (alien) monsters around her, and single-minded obsession with her trade. As a physician, Cherijo's role is to save the monsters, while Anita spends her time slaughtering them; a minor difference.

Cherijo discovered in the first book that she is a genetically altered clone, who has no rights back on Earth. Luckily she married into an alien species who were willing to fight and die for her. Her presence endangered them, as her maker wanted her back for further experimentation and sent the League Fleet after her. In Beyond Varallan, Cherijo ensured the survival of the Joren world by surrendering the League Fleet to the vicious Hsktskt Faction. Unfortunately she was enslaved along with the League crewmembers.

Endurance is about just that, but Cherijo never stops fighting for her right to practice medicine, even as a slave. She succeeds, though with a high cost to herself. Luckily her body recovers very quickly from abuse as there is lots of it in this story, and indeed it becomes a bit repetitive. However, Cherijo does learn more about her origins and purpose, continues her (negative) relationship with Duncan Reever, finds an alien romantic interest and a new sentient race, and of course engineers a major jailbreak.

The Stardoc series is a lot of fun, if you don't take it too seriously ... a mix of Anita Blake and James White's Hospital Station, in a wild rollercoaster ride of action with regular surprises.

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