Lt. Leary, Commanding by David Drake

Published: 2001

Genre: science fiction, space opera

Length: 576 pages

Interest: It was a random book I picked off my Kindle to read while I was on vacation. I literally pick a random number between one and however many books are on the Kindle and read that book. The only problem with this method, is I will often find a book that’s in the middle of a series. Because of the way the books were originally loaded on the Kindle, not all have their authors showing, so it’s hard to find out if it’s part of a series until I’ve read a bunch of the book. In this case, With the Lightnings is the first book in the series. They can both be found at Baen books.

Summary: Daniel Leary commands the Princess Cecile, a small interstellar ship. He is sent to meet up with a Fleet around the planet Strymon, but beats them there by pushing his crew hard through the Matrix (Drake’s explanation of FTL travel). He carries a surprise passenger, a previously exiled ruler of Strymon who is using Leary to reclaim his title to Strymon. Leary is sent to the South Continent to get him out of the way of the coup, further displeasing his Fleet Commander. Sent to an ice moon for unnecessary repairs as punishment, Leary discovers an enemy fleet that he takes on with the help of pirates from a nearby planetary system. Throughout all this, he’s helped by his wiz of a communications office, Adele Mundy.

Final thoughts: Drake is a bit hit or miss for me. I like his Hammers Slammers stuff that is full of action, but this attempt to write a more character driver story left me feeling annoyed at times. He just kept emphasizing the same character traits over and over. Yes, Adele Mundy is startlingly clumsy but an excellent shot, you don’t need to bring it up every chapter. Interestingly (after reading the Wikipedia page),  Leary and Mundy were inspired by Patrick O’Brian’s characters Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. I wouldn’t have realized it on my own, but once it was pointed out to me, I totally see the similarities, down to the clumsiness of Maturin and Mundy, and secret espionage of both. Overall, not really worth reading any more in the series.

Title comes from: Leary was officially given command of the Princess Cecile he had won in a previous battle.

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