Friday, March 15, 2013

The Price of the Stars

by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald. First in the Mageworlds series.

Beka Rosselin-Metadi has grown up seeing what it did to her mother to be the last Domina of lost Entibor and wants no part of the position in galactic politics that she stands to inherit; Beka is a starpilot, has been one since she shipped out at the earliest possible moment after her official coming of age, and that's all she wants to be, except maybe a captain in her own right one day. Then her mother is assassinated on the Senate floor, and Beka's father, the Commanding General of the Republic's Space Force, offers her a deal: he'll sell her his own ship, the legendary Warhammer of his privateering youth, and all she has to pay for it is a couple of names. Specifically, the names of whoever was behind her mother's murder.

I read this after a post at the regularly brilliant blog remarked (not the first to do so, either) that it reads like a Star Wars sequel. There are a lot of superficial similarities; the late Perada Rosselin and her husband Jos Metadi do sound a lot like another couple I've heard of where she was surviving royalty from a destroyed planet, a resistance leader, war hero and stateswoman, and he was a rather disreputable "free trader," with a battered but famously fast starship, who became a war hero and general after taking up with her. 

But Beka is her own person and this story is its own thing, and a very fun ride it is. I have some reservations about Beka's body count--she leaves a trail of dead bodies and missing persons across five star systems, starting by faking her own death to get out from under the price on her head--but I'm interested enough in the characters and the intrigue to hunt up the rest of the series.

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