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Code of Conduct (Jani Kilian Series #1)

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Overview

Captain Jani Killian had been Evan Van Reuter's lover eighteen years ago, when a Commonwealth diplomatic corps, sent to establish peaceful relations with the alien idomeni, took sides in a civil war. Jani was presumed killed in the ensuing bloodbath, and Evan went on to become the Commonwealth's Interior Minister. But Jani survived as well more or less. Doctors gave her a new face and patched her broken body together with illegally obtained idomeni genetic materials. They healed her of everything but her memory ...

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Overview

Captain Jani Killian had been Evan Van Reuter's lover eighteen years ago, when a Commonwealth diplomatic corps, sent to establish peaceful relations with the alien idomeni, took sides in a civil war. Jani was presumed killed in the ensuing bloodbath, and Evan went on to become the Commonwealth's Interior Minister. But Jani survived as well more or less. Doctors gave her a new face and patched her broken body together with illegally obtained idomeni genetic materials. They healed her of everything but her memory of the desperate actions she had taken — sure to result in summary execution should Commonwealth authorities discover her existence.

Which makes it unwise to refuse Evan's request for help in solving the mystery of his wife's death. There is no shortage of suspects, and the trail draws Jani back into the trauma of Rauta Shiraa and secrets long buried there, secrets someone has killed to protect. If she isn't careful, she'll wind up the next victim — assuming her own body doesn't kill her first. For after eighteen years, her rebuilt body is failing. Jani is dying. Or is she being reborn?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smith's tightly plotted SF thriller debut is an ace--sure to appeal to readers who appreciate well-drawn characters and sophisticated milieus. An ex-soldier and Commonwealth diplomatic liaison, Jani Kilian has spent the last 18 years working as a paper-pusher under assumed names, trying to stay ahead of her past. As a trusted member of a human diplomatic team once sent to establish relations with the alien idomeni, Jani and her team were caught in the middle when her commanding officer took sides in an idomeni civil war. Presumed dead during the conflict, Jani was captured and patched up with experimental idomeni augmentation in a secret and highly illegal idomeni/human research project. She's been on the run ever since she escaped--until her old lover, Evan van Reuter, now Commonwealth Interior Minister, tracks her down to ask for her help investigating his wife's mysterious death. Now, without giving away her own identity, Jani must take on a dangerous task of finding the answers to questions someone wants to keep secret. Complicating matters, the information she uncovers stirs up memories of her own traumatic past. Smith balances a taut mystery with vivid characters and a complex, ever-evolving plot--a feat more experienced authors don't always achieve. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Jani had been captain of a security force accompanying a Commonwealth diplomatic corp to establish peace with the indomeni when the Commonwealth group got involved in a civil war. Jani's unit was attacked and Jani assumed killed, until years later when her former lover, Evan Van Reuter, finds her. She is "remade" with a new face and patches from illegally obtained genetic material from the idomeni. Evan wants her to accompany him back to Earth, to find out who killed his wife. Jani agrees, and is given a new identity. She starts to investigate, hampered by bureaucracy, and by Evan's assistant Durian Ridgeway. Mix in a visiting idomeni, several red herrings, and the fact that Jani's body is giving out on her and will break down at any time, and you've got a gripping SF/mystery novel. The characters are well drawn and the mystery is laid out nicely, after a slow start. Jani is a gutsy heroine, and I hope there is more about her in the future. KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students, and adults. 1999, Avon/Eos, 348p, 18cm, 99-94994, $5.99. Ages 17 to adult. Reviewer: Gail E. Roberts; Coordinator, Youth Scvs., New Bedford P.L., New Bedford, MA, May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380807833
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Series: Jani Kilian Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Kristine Smith is the author of Rules of Conflict and Code of Conduct. She works as a process development scientist for a large pharmaceutical manufacturer and lives in northern Illinois.

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Read an Excerpt

Code of Conduct

Chapter One

The frigid morning dampness seeped through Jani's weatherall as she hurried out of the charge lot. She jammed the notes from her crack-of-dawn meeting into the side pocket of her duffel; as she did, she quickly surveyed the scene behind her. Rain-slick skimmers hovered beside boxy charge stations. Trickle-charge lights glimmered like distant stars. A single streetlight bathed everything in a cold blue sheen. No movement in the ice-light. No sound.

Jani took a step. Stopped. She could feel eyes follow her, could sense their probing like a skin-crawl across her shoulders. She turned.

A few meters away, a feral cat regarded her from its perch atop a discarded shipping crate. It stared at her for a few moments, then poured to the ground and vanished into an alley. Seconds later, Jani heard, the scatter of garbage, followed by a strangled squeak.

Sounds familiar. The poor mouse. It probably never knew what hit it. Jani could sympathize. Her meeting had gone much the same way.

It's like everyone's forgotten Whalen's Planet exists, girly. Commercial traffic at the docks is down sixty percent in the last two weeks. That's six-oh.

She trotted down a side street that led to the main thoroughfare. Her right knee locked as she turned the corner, and she stumbled against a pair of mutually supportive inebriates who had emerged from one of NorthPort's many bars.

One of the drunks shouted as Jani disentangled herself and hurried away. Something about how her limp made her ass wiggle. She looked over her shoulder, caught glimpses of brightly colored ship patches and a slack-jawed leer. She felt the heatcreep up her neck and kept moving.

She entered the lobby of a hostel that catered to merchantfleet officers, tossing a wave to the desk clerk as she hurried to the holoVee alcove. Several employees already sat on the floor in front of the display screen, their positions carefully gauged to allow them a clear view of the front desk.

On the lookout for the manager. Jani kept quiet until she entered within range of the holoVee's soundshielding. She knew an unauthorized break when she saw one. "Is this it?"

One of the cleaners nodded. "Hi, Cory," she said without looking up. "It's the CapNet broadcast. It's just getting started."

Jani did a quick mental roll call of the small group, counting faces, uniforms. She didn't know their names -- she tried to avoid the complication of names whenever possible. "Where's the garage guy?"

"He's still out sick," the cleaner said. "Should be back tomorrow. He'll be mad he missed this." The young woman grinned. "I'll tell him you asked about him. He thinks you jam."

Jani responded with her "Cory" smile. Quiet. Closed. A smile whose owner would blush and keep walking. She leaned against a planter and surveyed with satisfaction the lack of fuss that greeted her arrival. Yes, Cory Sato, documents technician, had settled quite nicely in NorthPort over the last six months. Jani Kilian had never seemed farther away.

Until her morning meeting.

Business has dropped over the side these past two weeks, girly. NUVA-SCAN annex won't answer our calls. Even the Hadrin are complaining. But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you?

An overwrought voice interrupted Jani's troubled meditation. "A great honor is being paid the Commonwealth," the CapNet reporter gushed, "opening a new and exciting chapter in human-idomeni relations!"

Spoken like someone who has no idea what she's talking about, Jani thought as she watched members of the Commonwealth Cabinet walk out onto the sheltered stage that had been erected in front of the Prime Minister's palatial Main House. Steam puffed from their mouths. A few of the coatless ministers shivered in their formal, color-coded uniforms. Chicago in winter looked even less hospitable than NorthPort, if that was possible.

Treasury Minister Abascal, ever-flushed face glowing in lurid contrast to his gold tunic, trundled to the podium "to say a few words."

"Where's the ambassador?" someone grumbled.

"He doesn't come out till later -- you want the poor old bastard to freeze to death?"

"Never get to see him at this rate." One of the day-shift waiters checked his timepiece. "All fourteen ministers gonna talk -- it'll be hours."

"Not all fourteen," said the restaurant hostess. "Van Reuter's not there."

Really? Jani studied the rows of faces, looking for the one she knew. Had known. Long ago. "Too bad," she said. "He's the best speaker of the bunch."

"You like him?" The waiter glanced at Jani over his shoulder and sneered. "He's a Family boy nance."

"He knows the idomeni," Jani replied. "That's more than you can say for the rest of them."

"You don't see him much since his wife died," the hostess said. "Poor man."

"You hear about him, though," the waiter muttered. "Nance."

On-screen, Abascal finished to scattered applause and gave way to Commerce Minister al-Muhammed. Jani leaned forward, straining to hear the commentary over the buzz of multiple conversations. Commerce controlled trade and transport schedules -- maybe something al-Muhammed said would shed light on the slowdown around Whalen.

"Is al-Muhammed the 'A' in NUVA or the 'A' in SCAN?" someone piped, drowning out the minister's voice.

Oh blow! Jani shouldered her bag and walked through the middle of the huddle. "Al-Muhammed's the 'A' in SCAN," she said, bumping the speaker in the back of his head with her knee.

"He's another nance," griped the waiter.

"Cory, I thought you wanted to see this," someone called after her. "You'll miss the ambassador."

"I have to go. I'll catch it somewhere else." Somewhere quieter. She should have known better than to try to watch the program with others. Some things needed to be studied in private. Pondered. Mulled.

Code of Conduct. Copyright © by Kristine Smith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    Excellent series

    This is the first in the series. Believable and engaging characters, motives, intrigue, aliens and worlds, presented in an intense high speed whirl. Just try to read fast enough to keep up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2004

    Fascinating World-Building

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2002

    thoughtful SF thriller

    A memorable heroine, fully realized and believable future setting, aliens that are as intriguing as the humans, and complex plot that hold up on rereading. Not a lite and brite, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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