Thursday, September 8, 2022

Book Review: Rita Longknife: Enemy Unknown by Mike Shepherd

Rita Longknife: Enemy Unknown

Mike Shepherd
Narrator: Dina Pearlman
Series: Jump Universe (Book 5)
Publication: KL & MM Books; 1st edition (October 24, 2018)
Length: 226 p.; 5 hours and 33 minutes

Description: The war is over. Hurray! Half the fleet is back in mothballs. But out on the rim of human space, ships are disappearing. Some are merchant ships going about their business. Others are exploration ships on deep space probes. What's happening to them?

Captain Rita Nuu Longknife is ready to take the heavy cruiser Exeter to space and see what's out there. She may have a nursery next to the captain's cabin, and a two-month-old baby on her hip, but she's taking a warship out there and nobody better get in her way.

My Thoughts: The war is over but that doesn't mean things are peaceful. Pirates are running rampant, and the good guys have few ships that aren't in mothballs and no crews to man them. Ray Longknife is heading the Exploration Corps trying to discover new planets using the star maps he got from an alien computer. Private enterprise is also busy with planetary exploration looking for new worlds to maximize their corporate bottom lines.

However, ships are disappearing and, because the private explorers aren't sharing their routes, the number actually missing is unclear. Then, to add to the problem, "Admiral" Whitebred escapes from custody on Savannah with 24 other ships and goes out to be a pirate himself. So, are the losses due to Whitebred's efforts or is something else going on?

Rita Nuu Longknife and her two-month-old son have a ship that is going out to see what is going on in space. She's looking for missing ships and pirates, but what she finds is something else. It seems that humanity has finally met aliens. And pirates aren't the best possible ambassadors for first contact. 

Hearing this episode of the Jump Universe books highlights the negatives of this series. The dialog is a little clunky. The characterizations are a bit wooden. But the worldbuilding is excellent. The adventure carries the day for this story.

Favorite Quote:
Whitebred didn't tell the begging skippers how happy he was not to shoot. He didn't tell them how much he wanted those sleeping workers for his own farms and drug plantations.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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