The Road of Danger (Lt. Leary)
by David Drake
Cover Artist: Stephen Hickman
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451638158
Date: 03 April 2012 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Drake continues his space military adventure Republic of Cinnabar Navy series featuring Captain David Leary and Communications Officer and spy Adele Mundy in The Road of Danger. Much of the action centers on political machinations, but a few space battles liven the novel. The end is never in much doubt as Leary and Mundy pit their skills and wits against some nasty villains.
Rivalry between two major space powers is festering. Ambitious officers and blatant dictators stir the mixture enlivened by an earnest young man striving to save a world, but creating havoc instead. Money and venality rule.
Initially sent as a courier to a remote outpost to alert the commander of a possible attack on a client world, Leary is ordered to a rebellious planet to rescue and recover a Cinnabar citizen responsible for the turmoil. The citizen, Freedom, had mounted an armed rebellion against the venal governor, but armed gangs have taken over most of the planet and control a valuable black market trade in weapons and a unique rice grown there.
An accomplished and popular writer, Drake delivers his standard fare. Leary is action oriented while Alice is the strategist and intelligence officer. She is a whiz at data retrieval and manipulation, but has difficulty dealing with live people. Drake adds more insights into Alice Mundy, the only survivor of a once wealthy and well-connected family.
Body counts rise, as Leary and Alice have to fight their way past obstinate officials and venal criminals. A subplot includes child murders and the overweening ambition of a minor intelligence official.
Both Leary and Alice know how to bluff and take advantage of their opponents' weaknesses. Alice's ability to mine data and infiltrate security systems is used to full advantage. The shadowy Fifth Bureau intelligence group becomes a participant, but assists in removing some of the villains.
The Road to Danger is typical of Drake's Republic of Cinnabar Navy series. It's likely more adventures will appear in the future. He also writes other military space novels, collaborates with other authors, and has fantasy series as well.