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Lt. Leary Commanding cover Lt. Leary Commanding by David Drake

Published by Baen Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

In With the Lightnings, Adele Mundy joined forces with the son of the man who destroyed her family as part of a complex battle for power in the highest levels of Cinnabarian society. Now she is an officer of the Royal Cinnabarian Navy and a loyal member of Daniel Leary's crew.

But now they are back on Xenos, capital world of the star nation of Cinnabar, and things aren't so simple any more. Although Daniel got most of his crew safely off Kostroma in the Princess Cecile when everything fell in the pot, he may not be able to keep his new command. Now that Adele is back home for the first time after the Proscriptions destroyed the rest of her family, she discovers that her disinterest in things material and political aren't quite so extensive as she had believed.

At the same time, things are getting interesting on Strymon, an isolated planet that is an "ally" (read vassal state) of the Republic of Cinnabar. Like many of the worlds of this far future, Stryman uses the terms and outward forms of a republic, but is in fact an effective monarchy, with its presidency being hereditary like a kingship. The previous hereditary President has been overthrown, and the minor heir has been placed in office as a puppet leader, with the real power being vested in an uncle who is hostile to Cinnabarian interests.

Now the Cinnabarian leadership wants to set their own rival heir in office, a young man whom they have kept on Xenos as a hostage for the last several years. But to do so, they must get him to Strymon, and that task falls upon Lt. Daniel Leary, as a condition of his being confirmed as commanding officer of the Princess Cecile.

But things are rarely so simple as they seem, particularly in this dark universe where children are pawns of power and conspiracies are everywhere. The path to Strymon will take Daniel and Adele to many worlds and uncover strange and puzzling secrets, including what may be a lost race of humans on a distant planet.

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Review posted March 14, 2002

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