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Publisher's Summary

From the national best-selling author of Alliance, linesman Ean Lambert finds himself caught in a dangerous fight for political power.

The lines. Mysterious yet familiar: the key to controlling every ship in the galaxy. Once they were thought of as tools, but since linesman Ean Lambert discovered strange new lines in an alien vessel, they have become so much more - symbols of a power too great to ignore.

©2016 S.K. Dunstall (P)2016 Recorded Books

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  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Political conspiracy and mad science

I love this narrator and have greatly enjoyed this series, but this particular book is somewhat weak (yet still good). On the most positive side, I liked the sections with Radko on enemy planets leading a secret undercover mission. Dunstall neatly portrayed Radko's three military team members: misfit Arun Chaudry, techie Theodora Van Heel, and Military Police officer Yves Hahn. Excellent characterization, especially of "Doc" Chaudry.

I liked every scene involving the ship The Confluence, especially when the lines spoke or acted, or a new feature of the ship was discovered. I was happy to see The Confluence coming alive, so to speak.

I thought the sub-plot with Redmond's mad scientists offered some intriguing possibilities (but it lacked definition and resolution).

The scenes with Commodore Vega were all good -- she has grown on me considerably. I also enjoyed the battle scenes with Captains Wendell and Kari Wang.

Why only 3 stars? Several reasons:

Primarily, I grew really annoyed with the repetitive scenes involving Jordan Rossi, who should have been thrown into the brig on several occasions. But no, in this hokey military world, it's perfectly fine to attack a superior, and to instigate insubordination on a daily basis. A number of new trainees should have also faced a court martial, including Kentish and Peters. Where was the leadership (Abram, Vega, Sales, etc.) on this matter?

I didn't care for the focus on politics with Emperor Yu, Michele's father. However, some of those scenes were quite good, and worth replaying. And it did reach resolution.

The plot does not advance enough, in terms of figuring out who the aliens attackers are/were, and who built these ships. And who is Ean? Why is he the only one who can conduct the choir?

I am eager for book 4. But I read that the authors plan to start a different series first. That's crummy, if it's true. One thing we do know is that the authors are planning to write several more Linesman books. Eventually. I hope they keep the same narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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As always it's been entertaining

Although I enjoy this series the number of characters is slightly overwheming, add in the number of ships, worlds and politics and its a challenge to keep track of it all. Still, I enjoy the central character interaction, namely Ean and Radeck (sp?). I really look forward to the next installment...and there had better be one! Definitely a series I recommend.

As for the narrator, he does a good job distinguishing character voices, and that's saying something with the number of characters he has to cover.

The speed of this particular installment was just right. There was plenty of action but it was balanced with moments of rest and lighthearted banter. Some stories I've read/listened to don't know how to provide the right amount and can leave you worn-out, not so here.

Give this series a try, you wont regret it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Kept me up for two nights -but sorry when ended.

The Emperor of Lancia, Michelle’s father, is putting pressure on her to strengthen the position of Lancia over the New Alliance. Trying to force compliance, Emperor Yu has announced the betrothal of Michelle to further his own goals. His manipulations are cause for consternation to Michelle and Abram who are trying to maintain the fragile balance in the New Alliance. Yu has also told Ean’s usual bodyguard, (and the Emperor’s niece), Radko, that she must marry a high-ranking official chosen by Yu. The goal there is to allow the official to meet and have access to Ean.

Michelle’s new security officer determines it will be best to get Radko away from the fleet for a time. She assigns Radko a team and sends them on an undercover assignment to a hostile planet. Radko comes face to face with a previous attacker and the tensions ratchet up as she uncovers secrets. But will she get the chance to get the news back to her commander?

Meanwhile Ean is continuing to train new linesmen, even single linesmen who have previously been rejected by the line cartels. Ean is juggling the Confluence and other ships who are seeking to select their own crew if they aren’t assigned crew soon. The fleet has unwelcome Lancastrian visitors who are being a bit too pushy. Ean manages to block the theft of one of the ships but steps up the possibility of war by the ship movements. Then he has to protect his linesmen and protection team from another unexpected attack.

I thoroughly enjoyed the action, political intrigue and humor. I like the relationship between Ean and the lines although Ean sometimes loses focus on the human side of his world. There are a couple of slow building romances which add a nice touch. It is fine with me that there is no foul language and no sexual content. Although there is violence and death, it is not gory and graphic.

This is the third in the series – I strongly hope it won’t be the last. This series has wonderful world building, good plots with action and likable primary characters – even some of the testier ones. There were new characters introduced in this book and I hope they will appear in future installments. I was a little sorry that the two linesmen characters who played a part in book 2 were barely mentioned in this book. I highly recommend the series and suggest you read them in order for best enjoyment.

Audio Notes: Brian Hutchison does a great job with the character voices and the intensities and nuances. I turned this on every chance I could, eager to hear more. This was great listening enjoyment for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another five star book in a unique series.

This series is absolutely brilliant and unique making it stand out in a genre being overrun with limited or duplicative imaginings of late...i love it's originality and character development, this series technology is a potent reminder that any tech advanced enough seems like magick and our cast of characters learning and not having a full understanding of it is well incorporated into the plot, so much so that all three books so far have been filled with discovery and kept my eyes and imagination glued to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So good, listened the third time through series!

Really enjoyable! Hope the next installment is available soon! Worlds, Alliance (s), politics, wit, romance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hiruu
  • All around the World, baby!
  • 03-12-17

Good pacing overall, but...

I enjoyed this book, but was often frustrated by Ian's whiny attitude on so many occasions. I am glad we reached a steady state in the story to build on, but my goodness, I'd like to see more progress in the overall story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bunty
  • Burnaby, BC, Canada
  • 01-07-17

EXCELLENT. ACTION, INTRIGUES.

A very good continuation to the series. Ean as always is a likeable protagonist. Together with his friends and allies he managed to win against his enemies. There was plenty of action and Ean continues to get to know the lines well and they have become protective towards his well being. A very interesting concept. I hope there will be a continuation his adventures in the next book. A very worthy listen. The narrator, Briab Hutchinson did a good job in his narration/performance of the different characters. Good writing to the author, S K Dunstall.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ijw
  • Cochise, AZ, United States
  • 01-04-17

Excitement continues

The third book of the Linesman series keeps up the high level of excitement combined with tight plotting of the first two books. Surprises continue as political intrigue is amped up. Ian and Radko continue to grow as characters. Emperor Yu plots and new players are introduced.

There are a number of plot threads. All of the characters (that still live) get appearances in this volume. Some of the existing conflicts continue but like any real life situation there are shifting alliances and machinations at work. Love the way situations never become static; conflict happens in erratic and unpredictable combinations. Disasters are not neatly lined up in sequence but compete for attention.

This book drops instantly into the plot without reviewing history, so I have two recommendations:
New readers - don't start here. Get "Linesman" to start. It is worth the time to read them in order - three times as much enjoyment.
Readers that have read "Alliance" might want to reread it first to refresh your memory of all the players.

While the book does not cheat you with a cliffhanger ending, the story does NOT end here. We need more books in this universe. I look forward with anticipation and hope that we will learn more about the alien ships, see continued growth in the human/ship relationships and - maybe - someday meet the aliens?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • AGUANGA, CA, United States
  • 09-01-17

difficult to follow

I really like the first two books in the linesman series but this one is hugely disappointing. It was extremely hard to follow mostly confusing political infighting and for the most part just boring.

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More!!!!!

Can't wait!!! One of my favorite series! Very original and interesting. Check it out!