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    Review of ENGAGING THE ENEMY by Elizabeth Moon (see her website)


    Del Rey, March 2006

    Their family virtually destroyed, Ky and Stella Vatta plan to rebuild the Vatta trading empire--and get revenge on the people who killed their parents and so many of their cousins. They have a suspicion that the pirate whose ship they captured was behind part of the problems, but he hardly seems like the center. Indeed, the surviving pirates appear to have a huge fleet, and the ability to communicate at faster-than-light speeds.

    While Ky dreams of creating a force capable of standing up to the pirates, Stella pays more attention to trade--and smoothing feathers Ky ruffles everywhere she goes. The two were rivals as children, and still sometimes disagree over methods, but they are united in their wish for revenge.

    Meanwhile, back on the Vatta home world of Slotter Key, Ky's aging Aunt seeks her own revenge against the government officials who sold out the family.

    Author Elizabeth Moon (see more reviews of novels by Moon) continues her Vatta's War series with more entertaining space opera. Ky and Stella continue to grow as characters, and learn to respect the varied strengths each brings to the table. Still, the enemy they face is so powerful that it appears there is nothing they can do to prevent the pirates from taking over the trading galaxy. Indeed, some of Ky's biggest problems come from planetary governments who are afraid of Ky's plan to unite privateers into a private army. After all, such an army could be every bit as dangerous to them as are the pirates.

    I would have liked to see a bit more action and less conversation. Also, the biggest coup pulled by the two Vatta women came as the result of their enemy's stupidity rather than anything they did--which weakens the story line. Still, Moon's entertaining writing, her interesting discussions of the trading and communications systems, and her use of an elderly woman as a spy and assassin makes ENGAGING THE ENEMY an enjoyable read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 3/27/07

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