Baen, Oct 2003, 25.00, 436 pp.
The Republic of Cinnebar and the Alliance are at peace which means changing swords into plows and leaving some folks out of work as the war provided them employment. With his warship the Princess Cecile mothballed, Lieutenant Daniel Leary and Signals Officer Adele Mundy are two of those legendary heroes seeking jobs. So when Count Kimov and his wife Valentina decide to hunt for exotic prey in the Galactic North they buy the mothballed Princess Cecile and hire Leary and crew to escort them there.
However, just because an armistice has been signed, peace is not everywhere. Soon Leary and company are struggling with deadly dragons and a treacherous Alliance battle fleet ready to destroy Cinnebar and kill anyone who might give away the deceitful plan of preemptive first strike. However, besides a star war at a level not seen before, it is the Oracle that frightens Leary the most.
The Republic of Cinnebar tales are some of the best space opera novels in recent years. The latest one, THE FAR SIDE OF THE STARS, is a delightful tale that starts by showing what happens to old soldiers whose glory time looks over, but quickly spins into an action-packed, faster then the speed of light war of the worlds' tale. Leary is a great protagonist who is a fish out of water when peace exists throughout the galaxy, but in a hostile life threatening environs, his true grit is that he is the outer space John Wayne. David Drake entertains the troops with this wild ride.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner