Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fun With Daniel and Adele

David Drake; Some Golden Harbor (Baen Books; 2006; ISBN 978-1-4165-2080-1; cover by Stephen Hickman).

David Drake; When the Tide Rises (Baen Books; 2008; ISBN 978-1-4165-5527-8; cover by Stephen Hickman).

David Drake; In the Stormy Red Sky (Baen Books; 2009; ISBN 978-1-4165-9159-7; cover by Stephen Hickman).

Readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of the works of Patrick O'Brian (just search on that term within this blog for a hint). I'm also a big fan of genre writer David Drake. I first came across him as an author about a futuristic mercenary unit equipped with tanks. Who doesn't love tanks, especially a tanker?

When I started reading more and more books published by Baen Books, I started picking up more books by David Drake, moving beyond the core of Hammer's Slammers. This eventually led me to the tales inspired by Patrick O'Brian. Game, set and match!

In Some Golden Harbor (shouldn't that be "Harbour"?), Daniel Leary and Communications Officer (and spy) Adele Mundy get involved with an invasion of Dunbar's World. Leary is is commanding his beloved Princess Cecile, but she is a private yacht...not a naval vessel.

When the Tide Rises has Daniel and Adele off in the Bagarian Cluster and trying to help a rebellion against the enemies of the Republic of Cinnabar.

In the Stormy Red Sky pits the pair against a senator from Cinnabar who hinders as much as helps, god kings, massive enemy bases and a slave world. It also features...Commander Fred Kiesche of the RCN!

"Sir?" said Midshipman Barrett. "What if the other captains, the real captains, object when they learn what happened? I, well . . . Commander Kiesche of the Arcona is bound to feel insulted when he learns that I was pretending to be him."

Adele's lip curled. Barrett's comment was based on a number of unstated assumptions, not least being that he and Commander Kiesche would survive the coming action. The reality of a space battle was that lives could vanish as quickly and utterly as the specks of light which indicated ships on a Plot-Position Indicator.

"The answer to your question, Midshipman . . . ," Daniel said. He didn't raise his voice, and his tone was mild. "Is that Commander Kiesche is an RCN officer who accepts and obeys the orders of his superiors. You've raised a more serious question, however."

* * *

"Sir . . . ?" said Barrett. His forehead gleamed with sweat, but he kept his voice steady. "I notice you show the Arcona failing to arrive off Cacique. With the computer from the Lykewake and Commander Kiesche as Astrogator, her extractions have been within thirty seconds of the Milton's and within two thousand miles at both legs of this voyage. Sir."

"I stand corrected, Barrett," Daniel said. By the end of the short sentence, his slight smile had spread much wider. "I'd been thinking of the cruiser's problems under Alliance command, but you're quite right: Fred Kiesche doesn't need a naval-grade computer to thread a ship through the Matrix. My uncle Stacey trained him, you know."

Adele wasn't an astrogator, but all she was being asked to do here was to move data. Well, constructively she was being asked to do that though Daniel hadn't used the words; he might not realize that she could correct the . . . error was too strong a word. That she could modify the choice he'd made when he created the examples.

How can I not like a book that I appear in?

But seriously...these are good books, I enjoyed each (personal appearance or no) a great deal. Drake is well-versed in history and many of his books come out of relatively obscure (to your average reader) places or times and are spun off into interesting directions. Then you have the universe the stories are set in, he continues to build upon the framework of the first book. Finally, there are Daniel and Adele. As with Patrick O'Brian's Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin, the stories are as much the adventure as the friendship of the main characters.

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