"Filled with fast-paced action and well-conceived characters.”—Booklist
Kylara Vatta is the only daughter in a family full of sons, and her father’s only child to buck tradition by choosing a military career instead of joining the family business. For Ky, it’s no contest: Even running the prestigious Vatta Transport Ltd. shipping concern can’t hold a candle to shipping out as an officer aboard an interstellar cruiser. It’s adventure, not commerce, that stirs her soul. And despite her family’s misgivings, there can be no doubt that a Vatta in the service will prove a valuable asset. But with a single error in judgment, it all comes crumbling down.
Expelled from the Academy in disgrace–and returning home to her humiliated family, a storm of high-profile media coverage, and the gaping void of her own future–Ky is ready to face the inevitable onslaught of anger, disappointment, even pity. But soon after opportunity’s door slams shut, Ky finds herself with a ticket to ride– and a shot at redemption–as captain of a Vatta Transport ship.
It’s a simple assignment: escorting one of the Vatta fleet’s oldest ships on its final voyage . . . to the scrapyard. But keeping it simple has never been Ky’s style. And even though her father has provided a crew of seasoned veterans to baby-sit the fledgling captain on her maiden milk run, they can’t stop Ky from turning the routine mission into a risky venture–in the name of turning a profit for Vatta Transport, of course.
By snapping up a lucrative delivery contract defaulted on by a rival company, and using part of the proceeds to upgrade her condemned vehicle, Ky aims to prove she’s got more going for her than just her family’s famous name. But business will soon have to take a backseat to bravery, when Ky’s change of plans sails her and the crew straight into the middle of a colonial war. For all her commercial savvy, it’s her military training and born-soldier’s instincts that Ky will need to call on in the face of deadly combat, dangerous mercenaries, and violent mutiny. . . .
“Compelling . . . a superior novel . . . Trading in Danger [has] originality and intelligence.”—SciFi.com
About the Author
Elizabeth Moon grew up on the Texas border, served three years of active duty in the USMC (1968–71), and now lives with her husband, also a veteran, near Austin, Texas. She has published more than twenty-five novels, including Nebula Award winner The Speed of Dark, Hugo finalist Remnant Population, and the enduring epic fantasy series The Chronicles of Paksenarrion. She has published more than fifty short-fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines and in four of her own short-fiction collections, most recently Moon Flights and Deeds of Honor. When not writing, Moon enjoys photographing native plants and wildlife, knitting socks, and cooking.
Read an Excerpt
Kylara Vatta came to attention in front of the Commandant’s desk. One sheet of flatcopy lay in front of him, the print too small for her to read upside down. She had a bad feeling about this. On previous trips to the Commandant’s office, she had been summoned by an icon popping up on her deskcomp. Those had all been benign visits, the result of exams passed in the top 5 percent, or prizes won, and the Commandant had greeted her with the most thawed of his several frosty expressions.
Today it had been “Cadet Vatta to the Commandant’s office, on the double,” blaring out over the speaker right in the middle of her first class period, Veshpasir’s lecture on the history of the first century pd. Veshpasir, no friend to shipping dynasties, had given her a nasty smirk before saying, “Dismissed, Cadet Vatta.”
She had no idea what this was about. Or rather, she hoped she didn’t. Surely she had been careful enough . . .
“Cadet Vatta,” the Commandant said. No thawing at all, and his left eyelid drooped ominously.
“Sir,” she said.
“I won’t even ask what you thought you were doing,” he said. “I don’t want to know. I don’t care.”
“Sir?” She hated the squeak in her voice.
“Don’t play the innocent with me, Cadet.” Rumor had it that if his left eyelid actually closed, cadets died. She wasn’t sure she believed that, but she hoped she wasn’t about to find out. “You are a disgrace to the Service.”
Ky almost shook her head in confusion. What could he be talking about?
“Going outside the chain of command like this”—he thumped the sheet of paper—“embarrassing the Service.”
“Sir—” She gulped, caught between the etiquette that required silence until she was given leave to speak, and a desperate need to find out what had the Commandant’s eyelid hovering ever nearer to its mate.
“You have something to say, Cadet?” the Commandant asked. His voice, like his face, might have been carved out of a glacier. “Do go ahead . . .” It was not a generous offer.
“Sir, with the greatest respect, this cadet does not know to what the Commandant is referring . . .”
His lips disappeared altogether. “Oh, you can play the innocent all you want, Cadet, and maintain that formal folderol, but you don’t fool me.” He paused. Ky searched her memory, and came up empty. “Well, since you insist, let’s try this: do you recall the name Mandy Rocher?”
“Yes, sir,” Ky said promptly. “Second year, third squad.”
“And you can think of no reason why I might connect that name and yours?”
“Sir, I helped Cadet Rocher locate a Miznarii chaplain last weekend, when Chaplain Oser was away . . .” A dim glimmer of what might be the problem came to her but she couldn’t believe there would be that much fuss about a simple little . . .
“And just how did you locate a Miznarii chaplain, Cadet?”
“I . . . er . . . called my mother, sir.”
“You called your mother.” He made it sound obscene, as if only the lowest criminal would call a mother. “And told your mother to do what, Cadet?”
“I asked her if her friend Jucha could refer me to a Miznarii chaplain near the Academy.”
“For what reason?”
“I told her that one of the underclassmen was overdue for confession and the Academy chaplain was out of town.”
“You didn’t tell her what he wanted to confess?”
Ky felt her own eyebrows going up. “Sir, I don’t know what he had to confess. I only know that he was in distress, and needed a chaplain, and I thought . . . I thought it would save trouble if I just got him one.”
“You’re not Miznarii yourself . . .?”
“No, sir. We’re Modulans.” Actually, they were Saphiric Cyclans, but that was such a small sect that nobody recognized it, and Modulans were respectable and undemanding. You could be a Modulan without doing anything much at all, a source of some humor to more energetic sects. Ky found Modulan chapel restful and had gone often enough to acquire a reputation for moderate piety—the level most approved by Modulans.
“Hmmph.” The Commandant’s eyelid twitched upward a millimeter; Ky hoped this was a good sign. “You had no idea that what he wanted to confess concerned the honor of the Service?”
Her jaw dropped; she forced it back up. “No, sir!”
“That he made a formal complaint to this Miznarii, in addition to his confession, which the chaplain took immediately to the Bureau of War, where it fell into the hands of a particularly noxious bureaucrat whose sister just happens to be on the staff of Wide Exposure, so that I found myself on the horn very early this morning with Grand-Admiral Tasliki, who is not amused at all . . .?” It was not really a question; it was rant and explanation and condemnation all in one. “The bureaucrat spoke on Wide Exposure’s ‘Night Affairs’ program at 0115—clever timing, that—and this morning all the media channels had something on it. That’s only the beginning.”
Ky felt hot, then cold, then hot again. “S-sir . . .” she managed.
“So even if you did not know, Cadet Vatta, what Cadet Rocher wanted to confess, you may be able to grasp that by going outside the chain of command you have created a very very large public rela- tions problem, embarrassing the entire general staff, the Bureau of War, and—last but not least—me personally.”
“Yes, sir.” She could understand that. She could not, she thought, have anticipated it, and now she was consumed by curiosity: what, exactly, had Mandy Rocher said? They weren’t allowed access to things like Wide Exposure except on weekends.
“You are an embarrassment, Cadet Vatta,” the Commandant said. “Many, many people want your hide tacked on the wall and your head on a pike. The only reason I don’t—” His eyelid was up another millimeter. “The only reason I don’t, is that I have observed your progress through the Academy and you have so far been, within the limits of your ability, an exemplary cadet. When I thought you’d done it on purpose I was going to throw you to the wolves. Now—since I suspect that you simply fell for a sob story and your entire barracks knows you have a soft spot for underdogs and lost lambs—I’m simply going to take the hide off your back in strips and see your resignation on my desk by 1500 hours this afternoon.”
“S-sir?” Resignation . . . did that mean what it sounded like? Was he kicking her out? Just because she’d tried to help Mandy?
Now the eyelid came all the way back up. “Cadet Vatta, you have—unwittingly, perhaps—created a major mess with implications that could damage the Service for years. Your ass is grass, one way or the other. You could be charged, for instance, with that string of articles beginning with 312.5—I see by your expression that you have, belatedly, remembered them . . .”
She did indeed. Article 312.5 of the Military Legal Code: failure to inform superior officer in a timely manner of potentially harmful personnel situations. Article 312.6: failure to inform superior officer in a timely manner of breaches of security involving sensitive personnel. Article 312.7: failure to inform superior officer in a timely manner of . . . rats, rats, and flying rats. She was majorly doomed.
“I . . . wasn’t thinking, sir.” That was not an attempt at apology, merely a statement of fact.
“Fairly obvious. What did you think might happen?”
“I thought . . . Mandy—Cadet Rocher—was so upset that day—I thought if he could see a chaplain and confess or whatever, he’d settle down until the regular chaplain got back. He had those exams coming up, and they were group-graded; if he didn’t do well, his squad would suffer for it . . .”
“What you don’t know, Cadet, is that Rocher had been avoiding the regular chaplain’s cycle; his so-called emergency was of his own making. He wanted to talk to someone outside the Academy, and you made that possible.”
“And you didn’t tell anyone at all about this, did you?”
“Easier to get forgiveness than permission, is that what you were thinking?”
“No, sir . . . not really.” One of the places where Modulans and Saphiric Cyclans disagreed was about the giving of aid. Modulans felt that moderate assistance should be moderately public—one did not make a huge display of charity, but one allowed others to know charity was going on, to set a good example. Saphiric Cyclans, on the other hand, believed that all help should be given as anonymously as possible. Now was probably not the time to talk about that difference.
“I am so reassured.” The Commandant’s eyelid quivered. “Cadet Vatta, it is unfortunate that you have to suffer for a generous impulse, but we need naval officers with brains as well as kind hearts. You will not return to class. You will, as I said, present a letter of resignation which does not mention any of this, and cites personal reasons as the cause, by 1500 hours. Sooner, Cadet, is better than later, but first you will go to Signals, and make contact with your family, so that you will be able to leave quietly and quickly when that resignation is approved.” The look he gave her now was warmer by a few degrees, but still not cordial. “Staff will pack up your things; they will be at the gate when you depart.”
“I . . . yes, sir.”
“And yes, you infer correctly that you are not to speak to any of your former associates. Your departure will be explained as seems most expedient for the Service.”
“Sir.” Not speak to anyone. Not to Mira or Lisette . . . not to Hal. Only another few months, and we can—but not now, not ever. Please, please, let no one figure out . . .
“You are dismissed.”
“Sir.” Ky saluted, rotated correctly on her right heel, and left his office, her mind a blur. Signals. She knew where Signals was. She passed without really seeing an enlisted man in the passage, and another at the head of the stairs down to the classroom level. Halfway to Signals, her mind clicked on long enough to panic . . . She had to call her family, tell her father and, oh heavens, her mother that she was disgraced, dismissed . . . Her brothers would all . . . her cousins . . . Uncle Tomas . . . Aunt Grace, worse than Uncle Tomas, who would say again all she had said when Ky first went to the Academy, laced with I told you so . . .
She felt the tremor in her hands, and fought to still it. Now, for this short period of time, she was still a cadet, and now, for this short period of time, she would act like one. Even as the dream went down in smoke and ashes, even then . . . her stomach looped wildly once and settled.
At the door of Signals, a uniformed guard stared past her.
“Cadet Vatta, on order of the Commandant,” she said.
He stepped aside, and she heard him murmur into his comunit “Cadet Vatta at Signals, sir.”
Commander Terry had the watch in Signals; his expression suggested that her family were loathsome toads, and she was toad spawn. “Vatta,” he said, minus the honorific.
“Which contact number?” As if having more than one number were also a crime.
“Vatta Enterprises,” Ky said. “They have a relay—” Wherever her father was, they could reach him, or give her a link to the senior Vatta onplanet.
“We would prefer that you make a direct call.”
She knew her father’s mobile number, of course, but he’d often said he hated the damned thing, and would leave it on the bedside table as often as not. That meant her mother might pick it up, the last per- son she wanted to talk to. Vatta Enterprises would ring his skullphone, which he couldn’t take off. She didn’t have that number; no one did but the communications computer at VE.
She rattled off the string for the mobile, and mentally visualized the arc of blue, best fortune, of the Saphiran Cyclan wheel, as Commander Terry nodded to the rating who entered the string.
“Name?” Terry asked abruptly. Ky startled. “The name of the person you are calling,” he said.
“Sir, my father, sir. Gerard Avondettin Vatta. But if my mother—”
“You are permitted one call, to one recipient, Cadet Vatta.” Commander Terry picked up the headset and held the receiver to his ear. Ky waited, the blue arc fading in her mental eye. Then his hand twitched. “This is Commander Terry at the Naval Academy; I need to speak to Gerard Avondettin Vatta.” A pause, then: “Kylara Vatta will speak with you.” He held the headset out to Ky.
She was not even allowed to speak from a privacy booth. She had known the call would be recorded, but at least a semblance of normal courtesy would have helped. She could feel tears swelling now, stuffing her nose. She fought for calmness as she took the headset and put it on. Enough of this; she turned her back on Commander Terry without permission.
Table of Contents
Interview with for Elizabeth Moon:
Question:Trading in Danger is a move back to military science fiction after your last book, The Speed of Dark, which, despite its sf elements, was in many ways a mainstream novel. Is military sf what you love best?
Elizabeth Moon:Not really...I like military SF and space opera (and especially where the two overlap), but I wouldn't say it's my favorite subgenre, just one of them. But it's one I can write and enjoy the process as well as the product. It's almost as much fun to write as it is to read.
Q:This novel is the first of a new series featuring Kylara Vatta, the young captain of an interstellar trading vessel. Does it take place in the same universe and/or the same time period as your Heris Serrano books?
EM:It's a different universe. There are elements in this universe (such as modified humans, or humods) which don't show up in the Serrano Legacy books.
Q:You refer to an event called the Scattering in the novel – what is its significance?
EM:That would be telling... Seriously, background elements introduced in a first book
of history don't always need explanation, and I haven't decided yet how much history to include.
Q:Describe Kylara for us, and her situation at the beginning of Trading in Danger. This is probably the first military novel I've read that begins with the main character being expelled from the military!
EM:Ky Vatta is the youngest child of a wealthy family whose wealth rests mostly on
interstellar trade, and partly on an agricultural near-monopoly. Her own determination to do something moreexciting than shepherd trading ships got her into the Spacefleet Academy on her home planet. Her mother was appalled; the rest of the family were at first resistant, but finally decided that maybe having a private "hook" into the military would be a good idea.
Then, in her last term, she does something good (she thinks), unleashes a political storm as a result, and is expelled.
Q:How much of your Marine Corps experience goes into your military sf?
EM:Whatever seems relevant to a particular story, but with that goes research, including conversations with other veterans and active-duty personnel.
Q:In what ways is Kylara a self-portrait?
EM:She's not, really. I've done enough military women now that I don't feel Ky is working directly out of my background--she's her own woman. She's not even horse-crazy...<G> Seriously, a character must go beyond the writer in some way to become "alive" and interesting.
Q:Although there is plenty of military action in this novel, it's really—as your title punningly points out—about mercantile concerns: "trade and profit," in the oft-quoted phrase that seems to sum up the business philosophy of the Vatta family. Why did you take this approach?
EM:For the fun of it, basically. I've played around with a number of other themes relating to the military, starting with The Deed of Paksenarrion and continuing through Sassinak, and Generation Warriors, and then the seven books of the Serrano Legacy. Each has allowed me to consider a different aspect of military life, not just as it pertains to women, but in relation to culture, politics, etc. What, I wondered, would happen if you took someone trained as military, and removed the obvious support structure of a military organization? How much of the military training and attitudes would survive, especially if the character were young enough to still have some flexibility?
Q:Did you draw on particular periods of Earth's history in creating the political and economic parameters of Kylara's universe?
EM:Not consciously, although I'm sure the monopoly the I.S.C. has on instantaneous communication will remind people of Ma Bell's monopoly....or maybe the old IBM...and some of the cultural concerns to be expressed later reflect attitudes about the global economy.
Q:I was reminded at times of Jack Vance's space operas, especially The Demon Princes, in which trade often plays a central role. Do you count Vance as an influence? What other writers have influenced you?
EM:I've been influenced by just about everyone I've read, and that's a list too long to remember or enumerate. Andre Norton, Jack Vance, Alexei Panshin, Poul Anderson, Keith Laumer...up through C.J. Cherryh, Lois Bujold, Debra Doyle and James Macdonald, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. And a host of others, whose names will hit me an instant after I send this off...
Q:What lies ahead for Ky? One of her academy instructors, MacRobert, continues to take a special interest in her after her disgrace: could he be recruiting her for covert operations? After all, traders make good spies! I even found myself wondering if her expulsion, which seems unduly harsh, might have been engineered for just that purpose.
EM:What lies ahead for Ky is more trouble, of course. As for the other points...no, you don't get to know that yet. Speculate all you want, but I'm not telling...<G>
Q:What are you working on now?
EM:The next book in the series. In which someone attempts to seduce Ky by peeling a lime, and a Jack Russell terrier pup shows up in a trash can (to the writer's complete surprise, and Ky's disgust.)
Q:When will it be published?
EM:I don' t know when its scheduled date is, but my deadline is rapidly approaching!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought this book in preparation for a long business trip to Europe. I started reading it in the airport, and then couldn't put it down. I finished it somewhere over France, I think. I actually wanted it to last a little longer, but that's sometimes how the books read. This is my first read of Elizabeth Moon's books. I thought she did a great job of keeping the story moving. This first book is a character builder for Vatta, who is kicked out of the space academy for helping another student get religious counseling - and ended up in a big mess. The daughter of a shipping magnate, her father assigns her to a "milk run" job, taking an older ship out to salvage, dropping some cargo along the way - of course, it can't go like that. I won't spoil the ending, but it has believable characters and also could be written in the 1500's as well as a space adventure. Ms. Moon sets the stage for more adventures of this young, well disciplined and fair minded captain. I look forward to more stories from her.
I have read all in the series to date and would highly recommend the whole series for any scifi reader and anyone who enjoys Elisabeth Moon.
What happened to Elizabeth Moon? Paksennarion was so good! The heroine of this book is fairly likeable, but she spends way too much time just thinking about how confused she is. I also had a problem with the way she treats her life like a multiple choice test. Sure, she stops the occasional mutiny single-handed, but she's always reacting to other things - she doesn't have goals of her own. After a strong beginning, pages and pages of the book were just sheer boredom. She and her mother buy dresses; she rehashes things in her mind; she talks to people about trading details which just don't matter; quaint local cultures are described which we don't need to know about; and the action doesn't pick up for another hundred pages or so. A lot of things in the book make no sense, but we're expected to acccpt them to advance the plot. For example, she agrees to resign from military academy for something which someone else did - and unless cadets are prisoners he could have done it at any time on his own without involving her. And I can't even bring myself to talk about the fruitcake. Plot elements which would actually be interesting are introduced and never resolved, like the coded message from her Seargent at the academy, about which Kylara vaguely thinks, 'maybe I'll get back to it later'; and the actual war Kylara is caught up in, where we never find out who blew up the ansibles, or how it got resolved so quickly, or even who the different sides were. At the end of the book the heroine is still confused, only now she has her own ship. It's possible (though not likely) that this could still turn into a decent series, but it would be a stronger one without this book.
Kylara 'Ky' Vatta was thrown out of the Academy for trusting the wrong person. She returned home, avoiding media, to regroup herself. Her father, Gerard Vatta of Vatta Transport, decided Ky needed to go away until the media circus calmed down a bit. So she was sent as captain to take an old space craft on its last journey, to Belinta first and then to the scrap yard. She had a very small crew, but they were all veterans of space. ......................... At Belinta, Ky learned that the planet had ordered agriculture 'ag' equipment over a year ago from Sabine Prime which was picked up by another transport company and never delivered. Belinta was desperate for the equipment. No one named Vatta had ever turned down a chance to profit and Ky was no different. Ky hoped to earn enough money so that her ship could be repaired instead of scrapped. Once the personal contract was signed, she was off to Sabine Prime. .................. Sabine Prime gave Captain Vatta a bit of trouble, but not much, at first. Ky needed a new FTL drive before she could go anywhere. It was a vital part of the ship. Then she needed to purchase the ag equipment. The problem was figuring out how to get the money. FTL drives were very expensive. It all became worse when chaos erupted. Someone blew up the ISC's ansible platforms, so communications was all but gone. Then war ships came in. Ky's ship had no weapons and, with no FTL drive, no way to leave. She and her crew were defenseless and in the middle of a war between Sabine Prime and mercs! ........................ **** Very good beginning to what appears to be a series or trilogy. The plots are all tied up by the end, but many sub-plots are left dangling. I would very much like to find out how one or two of them end up, especially the one from the academy. ...................... The beginning of the book reminded me a bit of the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. Young woman, military back ground, done horribly wrong, underestimated, and very cunning. Yet by the half way mark, Ky had definitely separated herself from Honor in my mind. Ky has her own way of dealing with things and any emotional trash is put on hold until the crisis is over. All-in-all, VERY GOOD novel. I hope the sequel comes out quickly. ****
Ky Vatta wakes up as a senior cadet in the honor squad yet a couple of hours later she is asked to hand in her resignation because she broke a rule causing major fallout. She returns home and is given command of the Glennys Jones, an old FTL ship that is to be sold for scrap after it finishes its lasting trading venture. When Ky reaches the planet Belinda, she discovers the government needs agricultural equipment that another trading ship failed to deliver. She decides to make an unscheduled stop at Sabine to obtain the equipment and with the profit she makes she hopes to buy the Glennys Jones and work for herself. She didn¿t count on being in the middle of a war or mercenaries dictating her actions or stopping a mutiny but Ky is determined to surmount all obstacles or die trying. This is the first installment in a brand new military science fiction series and it is absolutely outstanding. The heroine may be untested but she is a survivor and will do what is necessary to win. Readers will adore her and will want to read other books in this series. Elizabeth Moon is a talented storyteller who makes the audience believe that she is recording events that happened. Harriet Klausner
I have read and re-read this and the rest of the series several times. They are fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately our hardback copy has gone missing. I was going to add it on to my Nook via B&N, but just as I was getting ready to make the transaction, my wife found it for more than $2 less in a Kindle version. Sorry B&N, but we retirees watch our pennies and dollars.
This is a great read! It is convoluted and twisted in all the right places. The characters are well built and interesting. Space Military at its best!
It's as good as any save the Honor series. Fun summer read and i am on to the next. I am interested to see how Ky resolves the tension between the two major sides of her character. It is wonderful to have female swashbucklers without thr ripped bodices!
Years ago Elizabeth Moon wrote The Deed of Paksenarrion any description of which would make sound like an unprepossessing and formulaic little fantasy trilogy. And did it so well that what should have been a pigs ear became a silk purse.Since then? well she makes serviceable purses but they are not silk.In this one Ky Vatta recently sent down from a military academy . Takes her place in the family trading company . Captaining an spaceship due for retirment she spots an opportunity for profit hauling agricultural equipment and takes it. Only to find herself caught up in a war. a Pretty average story thiis seem to exist mainly to establish characters for the series.
This book makes me want to read more in this series, more by Elizabeth Moon, and more sci-fi in general! Moon is quite a writer: I love the action and the movement of the story, as well as all of the unexplored possibilities it opens up. And although I wouldn't call this high art or the best literature ever, it's fantastic popular fiction.
Kylara Vatta is nice, perhaps too nice. Her top status at the Academy is sacrificed for public relations reasons after her efforts to help a fellow student fall awry. Her family's powerful connections and vast trading conglomerate come in useful, and within a week Ky finds herself as the captain of an old rust bucket, headed to the far reaches of space. What should have been a simple milk run becomes something much more dangerous when Ky takes on an additional contract, leaving them stranded near planets on the brink of civil war. Ky may be young, but she's not stupid - or as gullible as people assume. It's going to take all of her military training to get her and her crew out alive.I haven't read much in the space opera genre, but wow. This book completely swept me away. Ky is a believable and imperfect heroine, surviving by her wits in a situation that gets worse by the minute. The tension at parts was absolutely unbearable. I've enjoyed Moon's Paksenarrion fantasy books and her Speed of Dark, and I'm very glad I have a wonderful new series to fall in love with. I'm starting the next book, Marque and Reprisal, this very day.
Although I am a fan of space opera, I've improbably managed to avoid reading the novels of Elizabeth Moon until now.A friend finally convinced me to take the plunge, and begin here, with her first Vatta novel.I am glad that I did.Set in a space opera universe of FTL travel, ansibles for FTL communication, and a balkinized polity of trading planets, pirates, mercenary companies and more, Trading in Danger is the story of Kylara (Ky) Vatta. Unlike her trading oriented family, she's more interested in a military career. This career path goes off the rails in the first chapter of the book, as she is cashiered out of the military academy for what seemed to be an innocent attempt to help a fellow classmate.Scandalous! Her family decides that a change of scenery and away from the media lights of her home planet of Slotter's Key. The Glennys Jones is one of the oldest ships in the Vatta trading fleet and due for scrap. Send Ky to captain the falling-apart ship for one last mission, with the end point of the mission having the ship being scrapped on a distant planet, and have her charter transportation back home for her and her crew. In the meantime, the scandal will have been forgottenSimple, right?Although she assiduously avoided joining the family business to this point, Ky cannot resist the chance to make some "trade and profit." And in the quest for that, winds up in an unfamiliar solar system that is just about ready to break out into civil war...Moon is the sort of space opera writer that reminds me of Bujold in many ways. The technical details are plot oriented and relatively general in their details. Readers looking for lovingly thought out technical details of an FTL drive are going to be disappointed here. The technological details here serve character development and plot. And it is there, especially the character development, that Moon shines. Ky is a fully formed and envisioned three dimensional character, who has strengths, weaknesses, personality and who grows and changes in the course of the novel. Even when she does the wrong thing (for the right reasons), she is a sympathetic viewpoint character and Moon makes her the hard core of the novel. Her secondary characters are also well drawn as well, and contrast well against Ky, ranging from her family, to her crew, to those she tangles with in the course of her story.The pacing is a bit slow as far as the action goes, its clear Moon is more interested in character development and starting the building of her world here than anything else. I was never precisely bored, but there are stretches that are less action packed than others. I also suspect that there might have been a larger book here that Moon decided to trim. Some subplots and ideas are mentioned and dropped in, but not fully explored. This may be a case of Chekov's Law, as applied to subsequent novels.Speaking of subsequent novels, despite the relatively minor detractions, I definitely be looking to continue to read Ky's story in the subsequent novels in this series.
I really liked Weber's 'Honor Harrington' series & the main reason this almost got 3 stars is that it is too close to that. It was a very enjoyable read & well written. The universe is well thought out & the characters well done, but there isn't anything new about any of it. Still, if you want a quick, relaxing read with an excellent heroine, this is a good book to sit down with.One thing I really liked was that it was very self-contained. Sure, there are other books following, but this one comes to a good conclusion. It started well, added background details in a natural & comprehensive way. It never got bogged down in the history, but parcelled out the needed details. Lots of action & a fairly complex situation kept me guessing. It's the first book I've read by her & I was impressed. I'll certainly be on the lookout for more.
A bit ho-hum. The sequel, Marque and Reprisal is much better.
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth MoonOnce again Moon has captivated me with her characters and her plots. This author has the ability to create a character that is like the girl next door but with super powers. Kylara Vatta is no super hero but she has grit and determination that overpowers all obstacles. Her dismissal from her life¿s dream and her resultant resurrection in another direction provides the focus of the story. The trials, tribulations and action are icing on a delicious cake. Kylara¿s introspection into her own motivations and her questioning attitude flesh out her character with reality. Kylara¿s character becomes real and you keep paging because you begin to care for her and want to see what she is facing next. The book is the first in a series and I have refrained from reading it until I could acquire all the books or at least all that have been announced and published at this point. This looks like the beginning of a terrific series with some similarities to David Weber¿s Honor Harrington and as far as I am concerned that is a very good thing. I highly recommend the book.
Quite a story...young trader/transporter far in the future with wartime adventures. I wonder if there is a sequel?
My first foray into more traditional scifi. I'd read Moon's The Speed of Dark before, so I was familiar with her writing style. There's something very pleasant about it, imho. I enjoyed this first installment of this series enough that I think I will have to pick up the others.
This is a great book. It started strong and held my interest throughout. Miss Moon does a nice job with character development but still develops the plot quickly enough to keep the story going. If you like true Sci-Fi or just a well written and developed story, this is the book for you.
I discovered Elizabeth Moon through her excellent stand-alone science-fiction novel, The Speed of Dark last year and decided to investigate some of the series she'd written.Trading in Danger is the first book in Moon's Vatta's War series. Described as military science fiction, we follow the story of Kylara (Ky) Vatta who has chosen a military career over the safer option of the family business. But she's forced to resign from the military academy after her innocent attempt to help a fellow student results in a PR storm which threatens to disgrace the academy.Her father sends Ky off to a distant part of civilised space as Captain of one of the oldest ships in the family fleet on what should be a safe and routine trading trip. But things don't quite go according to plan and soon Ky must draw on all her military training to ensure she and her crew survive.After a rather slow start (70 pages in it was still all trade and no danger) I enjoyed this story. I'm still not sure what I think of the military science fiction sub genre. I missed the world-building that I enjoy in other science fiction novels; Ky's universe felt like ours just with more space ships. But the characters were good and once it got going I was gripped by the storyline.
This is the sort of space opera that is my guilty pleasure. If you¿re familiar with Moon¿s ¿Heris Serrano¿ series (I enjoyed all eight), this has a lot of the same qualities. Strong female lead, plunged into crisis (through no fault of her own), with limited resources, winning through in the end. The writing style is basically transparent, and the support cast members aren¿t exactly three dimensional, but that¿s not what we¿re here for. Kylara Vatta was a top cadet at her local military academy. In the opening scene, she is thrown out in disgrace (through no real fault of her own). Luckily she is a daughter of a very wealthy shipping family, so she automatically lands on her feet. To get her away from the spotlight and give her a chance to stretch her legs, her father gives her command of a freighter ship that is heading for the scrap yard. On the way she sees a chance to make a trading run for some extra profit that might allow her to fix the ship herself. Then Murphy¿s Law kicks in: her FTL drive fails and she winds up in a system in the middle of a war zone, short of funds. Many problems spring up and are solved with varying degrees of elegance. It¿s a textbook illustration of how much trouble you can get into even when you do everything right. As the start of a new series, not every plot thread is wrapped up. Kylara may not stay forever in the trading career her father envisions for her, and there seem to be some elements in the military that may well still be interested in her. Some things seem unlikely, but don¿t let that spoil your problem-solving fun. All in all, this book is a fast paced enjoyable adventure story.
A bit disjointed and the final battle was anti climatic especially after all the build up but still a good read
It seems that Klara Vatta just can't avoid trouble no matter how she tries - from military Academy to being a merchant captain, she has a truly wild time. A fun read, I recommend this book!
Great character development, solid/believable plot, and addictive.
I enjoy everything Moon has written and have read the entire series , several times and enjoy them more each time. I would also urge you to read The Deeds of Paksennarion if you like a strong character. Remnant Population is another I recommend. Happy Reading with an open mind.