Ky is determined to identify the ruthless mystery enemy and avenge her family's name, but she needs not only firepower but information. And she gets both in spades - from the band of stranded mercenaries she hooks up with; from her black-sheep cousin, Stella, who has been leading a secret life; and from Stella's roguish ex-lover, Rafe. Together they struggle to penetrate the tangled web of political intrigue that is wreaking havoc within InterStellar Communications, on whose effective operation their own livelihoods - and perhaps lives - depend.
But the infighting proves to be infectious, and it isn't long before Ky's hired military muscle are turning their suspicions on the enigmatic Rafe, whose wealth of knowledge about ISC's clashing factions and startling new technologies has begun to make him smell like a rat...or a mole. With swift, violent destruction a very real possibility, the last thing Ky needs is a crew divided against itself - and she's prepared to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that Vatta stays in business, as well as in one piece.
What she is not prepared for is the shocking truth behind the terror - and a confrontation with murderous treachery from a source as unexpected as it is unrelenting.
©2004 Elizabeth Moon; (P)2008 Tantor
"Excellent plotting and characters support the utterly realistic action sequences: swift, jolting, confusing, and merciless. Equally significant, Moon doesn't neglect violence's aftermath." (Kirkus Starred Review)
Kylara Vatta's life as a trader ship captain gets more than a little "interesting" as her family is destroyed, and her own life and ship are attacked by powerful enemies. The overall plot moves forward at a quick pace as the violence against the Vattas escalates and intensifies. The interaction between Ky and Stella is not particularly healthy, and is, IMO, one of the weaker elements of this series.
The reader, Cynthia Holloway, is still by far not my favourite reader, but she does seem better in this and later books in the series. I've given the performance a 3 out of 5. It adds nothing to the series, but isn't an annoying distraction either. Overall, this book is a 4 out of 5, and with a better reader would be a 5 out of 5.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
After being kicked out of the officer’s academy, getting dumped by her fiancé, and taking a position as a captain in her father’s shipping empire, Kylara Vatta is not living the life she planned. She barely escaped the events in Trading in Danger and was considering severing ties with Vatta Transport until tragedy struck. An unknown enemy has declared war on Vatta Transportation, bombed their buildings and killed most of the family. But Ky has no time to grieve. The enemy is after her, too, and she has no idea what to do or, more importantly, who to trust. As she learns in this installment, Marque and Reprisal, even family members can be enemies. (I so wanted to use the phrase “traitor trader” there, but I spared you.)
Marque and Reprisal picks up right where Trading in Danger left off and those who were pleased with the first installment of VATTA’S WAR will likely be pleased with this one. Ky desperately needs some allies which gives Elizabeth Moon the opportunity to freshen up the story with several new characters: Stella Vatta, Ky’s sexy blonde cousin with the bad reputation who turns out to be smarter than most people would guess; Rafe, Stella’s ex-lover who has deep secrets of his own; Toby Vatta, a 14 year old cousin who’s now an orphan; Martin, Ky’s newly hired bodyguard; An entire fleet of interstellar mercenaries; Jim, a young stowaway; and a puppy.
Ky and the crew deal with a series of misfortunes which keeps the story moving quickly. As Ky learns that the real world doesn’t follow her ethical code, she’s just beginning to adapt, though she’s not quite sure where the line she doesn’t want to cross is or whether perhaps she’s already crossed it. There’s plenty of death and destruction in this story so far and it’s clear that Ky has a lot of fighting left to do, both physical and emotional, to recuperate from the mess she’s in, to get revenge on her family’s unknown enemies, and to rebuild Vatta Enterprises.
The greatest strength of this series is that it’s emotionally compelling, unpredictable, and often exciting (the climactic fight scene in Marque and Reprisal is awesome). There are some definite issues that will turn some readers off: a few long slightly technical sections where Ky and her crew are prepping the ship and getting armed, repetitive dialog as Ky goes over the plans or history with each new character, too frequent reminders that Ky is worried about her possible killer instinct, a lack of distinctive flavor for the different planets and ports we visit, a few plot devices that seem contrived (especially the little twist at the end of this book), and I suspect that Ky’s unwillingness to think about her dead family has more to do with Moon’s reluctance to write about it than Ky’s reluctance to think about it. But even so, I’m enjoying the story well enough to forgive these flaws.
I’m listening to the audio production narrated by Cynthia Holloway. As soon as I finished Marque and Reprisal I spent one of my precious Audible credits to download the third VATTA’S WAR novel, Engaging the Enemy. I’m really rooting for Kylara Vatta, but I’m kind of scared of her, too.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is my second book by Elizabeth Moon and I am getting hooked on this series. Kylara Vatta is in command of an old Vatta transport ship from book one and is trying to find other members of the Vatta family and gather them up to fight back against whoever is trying to kill them all. She finds her cousins Stella,a company spy and 14 year old Toby who is the only survivor of the transport ship he was interned on. Rafe a friend of Stella and spy for the InterStellar Communication companies also joins the crew. They are swept up in intrigue, conspiracies, sabotage and fighting for their lives. Moon provides some assassination attempts and a space battle scene. Aunt Gracie who is famous for her fruit cakes in book one and the family "ding bat" turns out the be the family spy master, she is the only one of the older generation alive now. The reader could be better. Can not wait to read the next book in the series.
I liked this book enough to get the next in the story. Kylara is an engaging heroine and her adventures are a fun way to not have to think to hard about a story.
The narrator on the other hand has bumped me out of the story on a number of occasions by mispronouncing words of all things - in fact this is probably down to poor editing more than the narrators fault. But there are some very simple words mispronounced, the one coming to mind is row (as in a row of objects in a line) used instead of row (as in a petty fight). Come on Audible this is not prose but it is English!!!
The second book in the story of the Vatta family is an old fashioned chase, albeit one that involves FTL trade ships, privateers in space and a conspiracy that gets very big, very fast.
There is no doubt that the author raises the stakes and widens the playing field. This includes adding more character perspectives, including the misunderstood cousin with a secret life, the aunt that is a spy master of great skill, and the rogue that’s really the heir to the CEO of the most powerful corporation in known space. This introduces my principal gripe with the series, the delivery of too many characters’ viewpoints, either contributing too much or nothing at all.
The book does begin to live up to the promise of actual combat, though it is simple gunplay for the most part. Where it deviates from that is the unconventional use of mines and the obligatory zero-g melee, which were interesting enough.
I’d hoped that the unfortunate breakup that befell the central character in the first book was the only romantic interest one would have to up with, I guess I was fooling myself.
Great Sci-Fi thriller, #2 in a series...our heroine avenges family loss for the benefit of the family business, with a twist of future technology. I enjoyed the book and will read #3.
This book had good surprises and a strong charter development with action, Sabatage and back stabing
Ky Vatta returns and she's in deeper trouble than before. Ky is growing to be a great character who through her charm and resolve earns the respect of those much older and experienced than her. When the Plot against her family proves to be bigger than she realizes. Ky teams with her Infamous cousin Stella and her Eccentric Great Aunt Gracie who both are more than they seem. Ky is getting for the fight of her life as she makes a decision to where her path will lead. And It will cost her blood in more ways than one.
This being book 2 of the series you would expect an improvement on the writing, as often happens in series, this is partially true in this instance. the use of "he said", "she said" has diminished to a large degree to be replaced by context identifiers, however the story often has large descriptive sections where very little appears to be happening. these descriptive points are mostly useful to the overall story, but surely could be descibed in a more interesting way or in smaller chuncks.
The performance in this book is greatly improved from the first. Different characters are better seperated by voices, and the female narrator does not attempt to do voices that in the first book sounded terrible.
If you were greatly dissapointed in Book 1, I would recommend stopping while you can. if you could cope with it then continue and enjoy.
The universe in this series is similar to that of the Liaden Space series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, but although less attention is paid to exploring the universe's culture, the characters are somewhat better developed. There are also similarities to the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, but the lead character is more human and all the supporting characters don't get killed off.
The narrator is distracting. Most characters speak in the same voice, which has an odd cadence and comes across as slightly robotic, like the voice on the trains you find in large airports. The voice is unable to convey any emotional content, other than cheeriness, which is wildly inappropriate for many of the situations the characters find themselves in. The only variation in her voice comes when speaking as a male 14 year old and a male 20-something, where she manages to make them both sound like a whiny 7 year old.
"Good story but poor narration"
This would be my third 'reading' of the Vatta's War books. A feisty heroine, interesting characters, and a nicely developing story line. You probably have to read [listen] to all five books to get the most pleasure and, in truth, some of the later ones do seem a little contrived in the plot lines but are still enjoyable. This book, the second in the series, continues the development of the 'last' Vatta. Unfortunately the narration leaves a lot to be desired. The main problem seems to be the narrator's inability to recognise full stops, paragraphs, and even chapter, changes. Her voice remains the same throughout the reading with just minor adjustments for characters. The latter is fine but one has to really pick up on the fact that the story has moved to another location or facet. There is no change of emphasis to let the listener identify a sentence ending, etc., so you will not realise that from the narration. In truth, the story is so interesting that, whilst the narration detracts, it is not so bad as to make the book unlistenable. Compare the narration to the Honor Harrington books and the problems become obvious.
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