Kylara Vatta is maturing in her leadership of the loose coalition of privateers resisting the depredation of organised pirate ships. Stella Vatta works on the home front, repairing the economic base of the Vatta trading empire, encouraging Toby Vatta to develop innovative technology. Rafael Dunbarger, the undercover ISC agent, unravels the mystery of ISC's inaction in the crisis, and returns to his family to find his home situation even more personal and desperate. Amongst this, there are opportunistic criminals, competent mercenaries, ISC's incompetent military, Aunt Grace asserting herself back at Slotter Key, and the ever present financial worries, logistical challenges, etc, etc.
The plot is fast, with plenty of space battles, fights and tension. The story goes into the details of how to operate a privateer spaceship and deals in an intelligent way with the challenges that arise. It is logical and surprising. One presumes the author has drawn lessons from history, economics, engineering and leadership experience.
If you enjoy good old fashioned science fiction, and have not read Elizabeth Moon, do so. She has many stories published, covering space opera, high fantasy, literary hard SF and comedy. Her books tend to include a military theme with authentic practicalities displaying experience, but she does not allow this to dominate the narrative.
Command Decision is book 4 in Elizabeth Moon's Vatta’s War series. A reader should start with book 1, Trading in Danger. As the series progresses, the characters who survive the war grow with deep characterisations and develop as humans. They become people and the reader is engaged to care about their welfare and worries.
This is a mature space opera, much more than cowboys in space, or navy with heroes. A very satisfying read.
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