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Publisher's Summary

A new novel in the nationally best-selling RCN military SF series.

David Drake, dean of military science fiction, returns with another entry in his best-selling RCN series.

From wealth and power to poverty and insults!

Roy Olfetrie planned to be an officer in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy, but when his father was unmasked as a white-collar criminal he had to take whatever he was offered.

What is offered turns out to be a chance to accompany Captain Daniel Leary and Lady Adele Mundy as they go off to start a war that will put Roy at the sharp end.

Duty snatches Roy from the harem of a pirate chief to a world of monsters, from interstellar reaches in a half-wrecked starship to assassination attempts at posh houses. Roy has the choice of making friends or dying friendless; of meeting betrayal and responding to it; of breaking his faith or keeping it at the risk of his life.

Pirates, politics, and spies - and, waiting for Roy if he survives all the rest, a powerful warship.

The action doesn't slow - nor can Roy, for if he does the only question is which of the many threats will be the one to catch and kill him. But Captain Leary himself has given Roy a chance, and Roy is determined make the most of it - Though Hell Should Bar the Way.

©2018 David Drake (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshing take on a long Series

All long series start to wane, but the introduction of a key new character had refreshed this series. The dialogue was sharp & clear.
Its not a restart to the series but certainly a reboot to the RCN universe.
Narration the best with Victor Bevine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

What a waste of time

This story is told first person from the perspective of someone other than Daniel Leary.
It’s boring and I don’t really care that the character was Shanghai’d and then sold into slavery on some backwater planet. I tried to stick with it but gave up after 20 chapters.
Don’t waste your time or $ on this one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More please.

This series is the first Steam Punk sci fi I've read and I like it very much.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I like the perspective!

At first I wasn't sure I would, but I really liked the 3rd person perspective of a new crew member looking and gaining the acceptance of the family we've all grown to love. Admittedly I hope the next one is back to the usual setup, but as the unfolding story goes, this was a great way to continue it, and segway on to greater things. As always, Mr. Bevine was an excellent narrator.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fresh look at a familiar series.

I've enjoyed the entire series but it's a nice change. Leary from a spacers view

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Drake takes a new approach to tell a great story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend David Drake and in particular the RCN series. I particularly enjoyed Though Hell Should Bar The Way as it was told from a new character. As it is the 12th in the series, there is a risk of Drake "re-plowing the field" with another book, but here Drake has refreshed the narrative by having the story flow from a character that is introduced to the characters we readers (and listeners) have grown to know from the first 11 books in the series.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Roy Olfetrie, is new to Drake's RCN series and I hope to see more of him in the future. He freshened up the story and I greatly enjoyed his sense of the other recurring characters in the series.

Which scene was your favorite?

Each of the interactions between Olfetrie and Tolvera, Lady Mundy's "assistant" were great. It seemed that Tolvera has some fondness for Olfetrie.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An RCN story with a twist.

In a departure from his usual style, Drake uses the POV of what would be (in another RCN novel) a secondary character and also writes in the first person, this time. This combination serves to allow to avoid having to come up with some impossible something for Leary Et Al to do, yet again. That happens off-stage, making the central action of this book almost a return to the beginning of it all (at least in tone if not in detail).

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

RCN Spin-off

If you could sum up Though Hell Should Bar the Way in three words, what would they be?

Very little about the characters that we anticipate. Several new characters presented in a manner a-kin to force feeding. The story isn't bad as an introduction to a new spin-off series, but it's title is a bit of false promise.... so I gave it a 3 star. Also, all of the new characters seem to be molded from the old characters: a young male with navigation gifts; a mysterious lady spy; a loyal rustic-type companion. It's as if Drake thinks the RCN characters have gotten too old for their roles. BUT THIS IS NOT TV; THE ELECTRONS THAT PRODUCED THE OLD STORIES ARE AGELESS. I would have preferred a flashback adventure.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Introduction To A Future Crew Member!?

While being a book written from the perspective of a new character I did not find it detracted any from the story or enjoyment as compared to any of the other books in the series. Now having said that much I am sure not everyone will agree. There will probably even be people who disagree to the extent that they will not read the whole book. This will be their loss since being shortsighted blind fools they will be missing out. -performance I wish I could say that Victor Bevine did a great jobb as usual, but in my opinion he did not do as well this time around. I found myself having to re-listen to certain passages at times to make sure I grasped what was going on and who was saying what. Now I figure Victor is not fully to blame as David has a tendency to so ;) "Curtail" his sentences as to be somewhat.. -story Most of this book is focused on us getting to know Roy Olfetrie while also touching on piracy and slavery somewhat, along with some space action and daring do. Mostly tho as I said its about us getting a glance at Roy's background, personality, motivations and so forth so as to in my opinion integrate him into Leary & Mundy's "little" circle of friends. This was my guess even before I got to the ending of this book where my first suspicions about what would happen and where Roy would end up was confirmed. -future Leary now having reached the lower echelons of Flag Rank being a Senior Captain in charge of a Destroyer Flotilla, having acquired the requisite dogs body along with Adele Mundy being.. herself, well things are looking decidedly interesting.. Now what kind of epic adventure action will they get up to next!?

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AR Hume
  • 05-19-18

THE Great RCN series from a new perspective

I really enjoyed looking in as it where totheworld of Leary/Mundy and I found the story a real "page turner" metaphorically speaking.
if you like RCN book i think this one, although different, is a really great addition to the series.
Highly Recommended

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Custer
  • 04-19-18

An Oblique Approach

Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy are back, for the twelfth book in the RCN series! Except, well, David Drake has taken what he might call "an oblique approach" this time, and our two main characters are very much on the sidelines. Sure, they have a mission - but we have a new character centre stage, and he narrates the story - his story. At first this works well, as Roy Olfetrie encounters Daniel, and joins his crew (helped along by him being a cousin of Daniel's wife), so we see characters from a new perspective... but a few chapters in, he gets shanghai'd, captured by pirates, and sold on a far-away planet which has a touch of the Arabian Nights about it, with harems, slaves, eunuchs... He wants to escape, but he sees, via closed-circuit surveillance, a girl who was also abducted and sold to the harem...

Personally, while this section of the book was pretty well done, I did end up feeling that it was going on too long - I wanted to get back to what Daniel and Adele were involved in, not have another twist and turn in the escape, and the voyage in a not very well-maintained pirate ship. We did get back there eventually, to find, in a rather large coincidence, that the girl was important to the mission, and got back on track, with some suitably dramatic action on the planet and in space.

It looks as if Roy won't be a permanent member of Daniel Leary's team, as he ends up with a new role, which could well be classed as a happy ending. Let us hope for further RCN novels that get back on the main track. We could even go over the same mission again, but from the normal perspective! If you've not tried David Drake's RCN series before, it would probably be best to begin at the start rather than here, but it's still an entertaining adventure on its own.