My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Set in the same universe as Darkship Thieves and Darkship Renegages, Sarah A. Hoyt’s new novel A Few Good Men picks up the story on Earth from an alternate viewpoint. Luce Keeva has been in prison for fifteen years, fourteen of which were spent in solitary confinement. He’s sure he’s no longer sane. A raid on the submerged prison where he is being held frees him.
Luce is not prepared for the world he emerges into and, as it turns out, that world is not prepared for him. His father and younger brother are dead, leaving him Good Man (ruler) of Olympus Seacity. It’s a role he was trained and groomed for until the incident that led to his imprisonment or so he thought. The truth is actually more insidious.
Fifteen years away has left Luce ill-prepared for society in general. The secrets revealed shortly after his release will change his perception of the world entirely. Being a Good Man is more than being a ruler. He is different in a world where being so might be illegal. His former lover also held a host of secrets, casting doubt on a memory that keeps him strong. Finally, his household is staffed with revolutionaries heeding a charter older than the Seacity, itself.
Before Luce has time to adjust, civil war is upon them and he must choose between himself and people he barely knows. Will he be a Good Man or a good man?
Fans of Hoyt will know what’s going on before Luce does. That does not mean there is nothing new here. Luce is an engaging character and I enjoyed reading events from his point of view. His struggle to accept the facts of who and what he is made for an engaging story. His feelings for Ben, his former lover and best friend, were deftly handled. His odd friendship with Ben’s nephew, Nat, is intriguing.
Once the war starts, however, the author seems to lose interest in the plot. So much of the action is summarized by Luce’s thoughts. Nat’s point of view would have added action and verity to these events and a degree of sympathy in the reader for the odd relationship developing between him and Luce. We’re also cheated out of a proper view of events at Circum as this story intersects Darkship Renegades. Again, we’re offered another summary instead of a decent slice of action.
I enjoy Hoyt’s characters and I think she has created an interesting universe. I would like to see her spend less time in her characters’ heads and more on their deeds. Here’s hoping the next book shows us some more action as the story continues.
Written for and originally published at SFcrowsnest.