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    Review of CODE OF CONDUCT by Kristine Smith (see her website)

    EOS, November 1999

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    Captain Jani Killian has been on the run for eighteen years. Trained as an expert in the ways of the alien idomeni, she committed the treasonable offense of taking sides in an idomeni civil war. Presumed dead after a transport crash, she was actually hidden and patched together by a trio of doctors using experimental technology. Now she is found by her former lover, Evan van Reuter, who is the current Interior Minister. He wants her to use her expertise to investigate the death of his wife.

    Jani agrees to maneuver through the bureaucracy in the heart of the Interior Ministry. But the deeper she digs into the secrets surrounding Lyssa's death, the more she wonders if she is being set up to fail, and by whom? In the meantime the Exterior Ministry is hot on her trail and so is her idomeni teacher Tsecha. Jani's investigation turns into a struggle for survival as she tries to evade capture as she deals with the progressive breakdown of her patchwork body.

    The characters are well-drawn and have complex, hidden motivations. The plot is definitely more character-driven than future-technology driven, but Smith includes some intriguing ideas about the importance of “smart” documents.

    Code of Conduct is a surprisingly fast and action packed read, considering the fact that a good portion of the book involves chasing down paper trails and documentation. The author has created an intriguing alien culture and throws out little tidbits about their religion and social structures. Likewise, Jani's troubled past is meted out in spoonfuls through flashbacks. It's almost a tease in a way; leaving you wanting to know a lot more about the idomeni than is revealed in this first book by Smith. I like finding a universe that I want to visit again in other books, so this was a plus for me.

    See more reviews of novels by Kristine Smith.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/20/04

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