Saturday, January 3, 2009

Review – Peacekeeper by Laura E. Reeve

To her partners at Aether Exploration, Ariane Kedros is the daring pilot of their prospecting ship. She is also a reserve major in the Consortium of Autonomous Worlds who accepts mysterious assignments to fulfill her duty.

To the Terran Expansion League, she is a war criminal. Fifteen years ago, she piloted a ship on a mission that obliterated an entire solar system. Those involved in the incident were given new identities and lives in order to protect them from retribution—though no new face or name can wash away the guilt Ariane feels, or chase away her demons.

But now her government wants something in return. Twelve of Ariane's wartime colleagues are dead, assassinated by someone who has uncovered their true identities. And her superiors in the Autonomist army have placed her directly in the assassin's line of fire on a peacekeeping mission that will decide the fate of all humanity. Fifteen years ago, Ariane Kedros piloted a ship on a mission that obliterated an entire solar system. Branded a war criminal, she was given a new identity and a new life in order to protect her from retribution.

But now, twelve of Ariane's wartime colleagues are dead, assassinated by someone who has uncovered their true identities. And her superiors in the Autonomist army have placed her directly in the assassin's line of fire on a peacekeeping mission that will decide the fate of all humanity . . .
Peacekeeper is the debut novel for author Laura E. Reeve and is a pure science fiction action adventure with a fresh new kick-ass heroine – Major Ariane Kedros. The blurb above is a good summary of Ariane’s background and nicely sets the stage for several converging story arcs.

Ariane and Matt have just returned from an extended in-system exploration mission where they have discovered and staked claims to sites of alien ruins and technology. One of their discoveries has the potential to break the stranglehold the alien Minoans have over star drive technology.

Colonel Edones, Ariane’s superior at the Directorate of Intelligence sends her on a two-fold mission to the Karthage Point orbital station – the first objective being to protect the station commander, one of the few remaining survivors from the mission that branded them war criminals and at the same time draw out the assassin. The second objective has Ariane acting as the official head of mission for disarmament inspections by the visiting Terran Expansion League delegation who will be trying to gather intelligence.

In Ariane’s absence, Matt becomes involved in intrigue and investigations originating from their discoveries that lead to a murder and may link to the events of Ariane’s past, ties to the Minoans and illicit AI’s programs.

The political intrigue and espionage machinations of the rival Terran factions are seen through alternating POVs that illuminate the motivations and agendas that fuel the conflict. Reeve’s futuristic world-building is detailed, but carefully avoids infodumps that would slow the pacing. Her real-life experience in the air force is reflected in the realistic portrayal of military protocol and procedure.

Ariane is a complex and flawed character with the usual attributes of strength and loyalty but also deeply troubled because of her past, manifested by a substance abuse problem. Despite her role as heroine, Ariane doesn’t always triumph. There are some very intense scenes, physical and emotional, that strain the limits of Ariane’s endurance making her character feel very real and authentic.

All of the plotlines and characters converge in a hair-raising and rousing conclusion. It also becomes clear that more then a professional relationship is in the works between Ariane and Matt. Some science fiction romance perhaps? Plenty of mystery remains surrounding the aliens, Matt’s and Ariane’s discoveries and the Terran Leagues provacateurs to fuel many future adventures for Major Kedros. Peacekeeper is an excellent first novel and well worth checking out.

Penguin Group (USA)
Published: December 2008
ISBN #: 9780451462459
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336

Ariane Kedros Series:

  1. Peacekeeper (2008)
  2. Vigilante (October 2009)


  1. My goal is to read this book by year's end. It looks exciting! Thanks for the rundown.

  2. Then you will be able to read it with the sequel (October). I expect the romance to play a larger role in the next one.

  3. I like the sounds of this and heard some good things - one I'll be trying to pick up :)

  4. Hi Mark, the SF I have been selecting to read lately usually features strong female characters which I think complements the types of characters found in most urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

  5. After reading Dark Space and Chaos Space I'm looking for other books that have a female lead and this definitely fits the bill. As for the romance element, I think it would be nice to get it from a series that doesn't aim to be specifically that. Hope I'm not going down the wrong road with that assumption!

  6. Just finished PEACEKEEPER. (1) Congratulations, Ms. Reeve. Fabulous debut novel, from a SciFi reader who prefers Niven and Pournelle hard science brand of fiction. (2) Excellent plot pacing and development of the essential story without beating us over the head with background details of a Time and known space somehow familiar yet not yet in view (like the phrase "have you got ice? And the reply, "Yes ... but it ain't froze, yet"). (3) While detail is necessary, Ms. Reeve so very very wisely trusts her reader to be both literate enough and quick enough to make the necessary leap of interpolating much of the implied background in the 'back-story'. Which is parsed out as the book unfolds.

    But ... all that pales when seen through the lens of OMG, this novel is as revelatory as Tom Clancy telling us through the plausibly deniable artifice of 'fiction' what could not be said out loud. I will not speak to this further, but for those who have any idea of what may actually be going on in the massive sleight of hand that is Government in league with a state-dominated compliant media in these early days of the 21st Century, you're in for page after page of calling friends who also suspect and yelping down the line "have you read this part, yet?"

    If Ms. Reeve intended for the smart ones to 'get it' she's cranked out one fantastic book. If, somehow, she didn't she needs to check her psyche to find out what source she's channeling. Because this novel is like pulling back the gauzy film of "I thought so", without having to actually spell it out bluntly.

    You'll more than likely not see it.


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