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Publisher's Summary

The first of the acclaimed Vatta's War books, the exciting military science fiction series that features a swashbuckling spaceship-captain heroine who mixes commerce with combat.
©2004 Elizabeth Moon (P)2008 Tantor

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Average Customer Ratings


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  • L'Aura
  • Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • 11-28-09

Highly Recommend

Let me start by saying I'm an Elizabeth Moon fan and have enjoyed everything she's written - some more than other, but to date I can't say I didn't like anything she's written.

This is fairly typical Moon - strong female character with strong work ethic and sense of right and wrong, independent, decisive leader, a little on the innocent/naive side, but learns lessons - gets into trouble for all the right reasons and works hard to get out of it generally with some help from tough "gunnery sergeants" (Moon was a Marine and some of the best stereotypes generally show up in her work).

I give this audiobook a 4 out of 5 because it's a good book if you like her style, although in my opinion not her best book (which I happen to think is the Deed of Paksenarrion). Also, the narrator could be better - her reading is a little stilted - areas where a character should be speaking casually are read too literally and I'd like to see her develop a greater range of character voices. But she does ok and I enjoyed both the story and narration enough to download the next book in the series.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Moon's writing is great, Narrator is not so hot

The author, Elizabeth Moon, has written another excellent series here, but the narrator leaves plenty to be desired.

After the first few hours, she figures out the rhythm well enough that listening is fine, but she consistently mispronounces certain words... and after awhile, each time she says those words I want to cringe.

Give it a listen anyway, because it's a great read -- but Moon needs to find better narration for her other works!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-19-12

Oh boy, I found a new series

This is my first time read a Elizabeth Moon book. I had never heard of her before I listen to the interview with her and David Weber. After listening to the interview I was interested enought to give her a try. I enjoyed the story of a young girl from a shipping family that was asked to resign from the military academy because she helped an underclassman find a priest outside of the school who then went on media campaign against the school. Her father makes her a cargo ship Captain (she had her master's license) and sent her off in a old ship to make some trades on way to wrecking yard. The story is interesting and their is lots of adventure, suspense and battles. She is attracted to the military life and the story sets up and leaves you with the question will she stay as a cargo captain or join a mercenary company. This is the first book in a series and set up the character and story line for the series. Cynthia Holloway did okay narrating the book. Can not wait to start book two.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlie
  • Madeira Park, BC, Canada
  • 06-26-12

Good Story, barely adequate reader

This is the first book of the Vatta's War series from Elizabeth Moon. Ms. Moon, who is best known for her Parkinson/Gird books, has given us a series here that is a bit of TraderSF and a bit of MilSF, and really quite good, which is, sadly, let down by the reader. As others have noted, her reading is stilted and slow, and she really doesn't do a good job with distinguishing the voices, though when she _does_ try to, it actually makes the reading worse because of hokey accents.

In this book, Kylara Vatta, young scion of the Vatta trading empire, is thrown out of the space academy and given a "milk run" to take one of the Vatta company's old ships to be scrapped. But along the way, she decides to see if she can make the company motto "Trade and Profit" work for her and the ship. Trouble and danger ensue, of course.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Norman
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 01-03-09

Ky Is No "Honor" And It's A Good Thing!

Being a fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington Series. and being a fan of Elizabeth Moon's Deeds of Paksnerrion (Spelling) I had high hopes for this title. The story is a good start with a likable character Ky. Ky starts the story a promising young recruit who ends up in hot water. To alleviate this her family trusts her with a mission that ends her up in more hot water. The narrator does an excellent job. By only giving Ky a specific voice she escapes the mistake some narrator make when speaking for a character of an opposite sex by speaking in the irritating falsetto. I look forward to see what happens next. The story moves at an excellent pace and builds the characters enough not to be blanks.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good with an *

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons: The plot was interesting, the main character was very easy to relate to and there was some very good action.

I put the * in the title, however, because I do not believe that the person that was chosen to read the book was the most qualified to do so. I mean no disrespect to the woman, but the reading style came across as very robotic and mechanical without a whole lot of emotion or distinction between characters. This did improve somewhat, however, the later you got into the book.

I would recommend this book to a friend, though, despite my misgivings about the person chosen to narrate it.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • Fayetteville, GA, United States
  • 07-28-11

Good book, Bad Narrator

Knowing this is just the first book of a series and how most series start off kinda slow, I enjoyed this story even tho it started very very slowly, but I found it very hard in some places to distinguish the difference between character's voices. I imagine if i were to read a hard copy of this book I would enjoy it more and be able to follow certain sections better.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Enoyable military SF

I read this series years ago and enjoyed them - fast-paced, great adventure story with Ky a sympathetic heroine. Listening to them has been a somewhat different experience. Moon can write very well - viz her Deed of Paksanerrion trilogy - but listening to this series read by one of the worst narrators I've heard showed up books written in haste - way too many 'she said', 'he said'; and after hearing Ky reflect on her terrible secret for the umpteenth time, I found myself shouting at the stereo - it's a lazy or incompetent writer's substitute for character development. Still a great story but a bad narrator is like the misuse of grammar on the printed page, jarring and irritating, especially when she has a very peculiar notion of how some words should be pronounced. It is a shame. I have rated it low because of that.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent author, inexperienced narrator

Elizabeth Moon's writing is somewhere between "Zane Gray" and "Louis Amour", as she writes with a good imagation and includes details that make you think of the characters as real and you can imagine them doing all of the things as she describes it, with you right there. Her stories are very smooth as she transitions from each "scene" to the next.
Cynthia Holloway is a very good reader with only one area needing improvement. Cynthia needs to expand her voice roles, in particular her male voices. As you listen and she changes characters you will sometimes get lost as to who said or did what, breaking the flow of the story.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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I really like this book

I have read the book many times. I like the story and plot and characters and I am a fan of the author but I am having trouble with the reader. Her pseudo haughty delivery plus nasally Midwestern twain that finishes off the words sounds phony. She is reading words not telling a story. The reader hasn’t prepared herself for the reading, her phasing is often wrong or is off just enough to be irritating. I am hoping to overcome my objections to the reader because I would like to get the rest of the series. Maybe as the reader gets into the books her delivery will improve.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Fiona
  • 04-23-09

Good book - read badly

I have previously read this book and enjoyed it. However I felt the reader for this audio is not good at all. Sounds stilted and hardly any good inflection. Her heavy American accent really gets in the way.

I still liked the story though.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 12-30-12

Enjoyable sci fi

Good well written sci fi adventure,with a female lead character. I also found the narrator difficult to listen to and almost didn't download the book because of that,but found that I did get used to her style,and that the book was gripping enough to carry me past it.I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Karl
  • 12-06-11

A great space adventure !!

I was first introduced to Elizabeth Moons' Vatta War series when I got hold of a copy of the second book in the series, purely by accident. I read it and loved it. So I decided to start reading again from the first book and I'm glad I did.

Its a brilliant story, and gives a nice believable insight into a life in space which lots of sci-fi fans love so much. The one thing I like about this story is that it doesn't try to stick with combat all the time. (I've read the second book and it does have more combat in it, but its paced and not overdone.) I must admit I do like the boring details, i.e. docking procedure, trading etc.

There has been some critisism on the narration style. Personally, I like it. Cynthia Holloway does have a heavy accent, and a reading style that can seem robotic, but its clear and easy to follow. She manages to convey the emotion and characters really well.

Definitley a good sci-fi story and I really do recommend it. !!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-24-17

Struggling with the narrator ...

I can't comment on the story or the quality of the writing because, for me, this is unlistenable. The narrator's voice grates on me, she puts odd inflections at the end of words and mid sentence, and sometimes almost sounds computer generated, in that she doesn't have a natural sounding rhythm of speech pattern.

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  • John. A. B. Berley
  • 05-10-17

Trading in Danger

A very well written story with excellent narration. Very good understanding of spirit deal Coeur contacts tactics and one dammed thing after another. The characters are well developed and expended when needs must as though they were real. Very well done.

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  • Okilpokim
  • 10-19-16

Ok but not spectacular

The narrator spoils it slightly no depth to her characterisation otherwise very enjoyable. if you can ignore the drone at times its not too bad. looking forward to hearing more.

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  • S. D. Barnett-cormack
  • 02-27-15

Great book, generally good reading

The performance is expressive and clear, but dotted with rather more odd pronunciations and misreadings thank is generally typical. If you can gloss over those, it's great.