Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Book & Audio Review: With the Lightnings by David Drake

With the Lightnings

David Drake
Narrator: Victor Bevine
Series: RCN Series (Book 1)
Publication: Audible Studios (November 4, 2008); Baen Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2000)
Length: 13 hours and 45 minutes; 420 p.

Description: Daniel Leary is a lieutenant in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy with no money and no prospects since he quarreled with his ruthless, politically powerful father.

Adele Mundy is a scholar with no money and no prospects since her family was massacred for conspiring against the Government of Cinnabar.

Kostroma is a wealthy planet which depends on diplomacy to stay independent in a galaxy whose two great powers, Cinnabar and the Alliance, battle for supremacy.

In a few hours, diplomacy is going to fail Kostroma. Daniel, Adele, and the scratch crew they gather aren't much to stand in the way of a powerful invasion fleet, but just possibly they're enough.

Men and women who hold courage cheap and honor more dear than life itself face impossible odds in a novel of color, intrigue, and slashing action. From the corridors of a treason-ridden palace through the perils of unknown seas and hellish jungles to a final blazing climax in space, the heroes never bow and the action never flags.

They have nothing on their side but each other - and heaven help whatever tries to stand in their way!

My Thoughts: WITH THE LIGHTNINGS begins a space opera series. Lieutenant Daniel Leary of the Republic of Cinnabar Navy has been posted to Kostroma. He has quarreled with his politically powerful father which means that he has no money and no influence. But he has more than his share of dreams and ambitions. 

Adele Mundy is a librarian and about the only survivor of the Mundys of Chatsworth who ran afoul of those in political power on Cinnabar and were murdered. Daniel Leary's father was one of those in power when the purge happened. Adele was off planet in school when the purge happened leaving her broke and subject to the kindness of strangers. She has recently taken a job on Kostroma to organize the head of government's library. 

Kostroma is in a difficult position as it tries to remain independent from both the Republic of Cinnabar and the Alliance of Free Stars. The internal politics on Kostroma is also in flux with frequent political coups changing who's in charge frequently. 

Daniel and Adele find themselves in the middle of one of those coups, this one engineered by the Alliance. They team up to survive and defeat the Alliance's plans. 

This was excellent space opera. The worldbuilding was well done with interesting politics adding frequent twists to the plot. The characters were well-developed people. The action was fast-paced and frequent ranging from being shipwrecked on a deserted island to rescuing other RCN people from the palace to pitched space battles.

I really enjoyed the characters and the world that was created in this story and look forward to reading more episodes. 

Favorite Quote:
Daniel believed in planning if you had the time and information to do it; but if you didn't, you acted anyway. There was only one thing worse than trying to imagine every possible occurrence when you were for all practical purposes flying blind: remaining frozen because you couldn't imagine every possible occurrence.
I bought this one in multiple formats - paperback in 2008, the Kindle copy was free today, and the Audible version was $6.00. You can buy your copy here.

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