“A Peace Divided” by Tanya Huff is another exciting story that features the inimitable Torin Kerr. I love the way I am instantly immersed in a world that is both familiar and disconcertingly alien when I open one of these books. It was like catching up with old friends, even as I struggled to remember some of the salient details about the various aliens who are part of the close-knit team that has been through so much together. The vivid imagery, exciting battles, irreverent camaraderie, and disdain—ahem, distrust for bureaucratic obfuscation are hallmarks of this series and the one it spun off from, and remind me of how much fun it is to experience this author’s expert world-building and storytelling.
It’s always amazing to see the dexterity with which very alien beings are given very exotic characteristics but also very understandable emotions and motivations and I was particularly enchanted by the close bonds that are underscored in this story. I admit that it’s been far too long since I read the first book in this series and even longer since I fell in love with the ‘Valor’ series, so some of the nuances are a little fuzzy for me but I had no problem establishing a rapport with the characters, particularly a quietly feisty Niln scientist who proves that elderly does not equal incompetent or doormat. Those who are unfamiliar with this universe should at minimum start with the first book in this spinoff series, or even better, pick up the ‘Valor’ books and settle in for a delightful experience. Please remember that this is military fiction and necessarily involves violence and conflict, but the impressive realism is balanced by intense emotionalism, exciting adventures, and imaginative scenarios of excellent space opera. There is a helpful appendix in the back that helps one keep track of the characters and their races or species.
This military science fiction story is book two of the ‘Peacekeeper’ series.
Although she has retired from the Corps, ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is still a honed warrior and works along with members of her team as a very special class of Warden. Sent to rescue hostages who have been attacked while on an archeological dig, Torin must deal with the constraints inherent in her civilian position while dealing with the delicate diplomatic challenges of confronting and capturing a combination of Confederation and Primacy mercenaries. Add in the complication of possibly dealing with the insidious ‘plastic’ that continues to haunt her and fellow team member and lover Craig Ryder, and Torin is going to need all the help she can get. Fortunately, she has her team to back her, and their multiple talents and personalities continue to mesh in the well-oiled machine that has kept them all alive thus far. She just has to survive both her allies and her enemies and complete the mission without any fatalities. In other words, life as usual…as a civilian.
The second book in the action-packed Peacekeeper series, a continuation of Tanya Huff's military sci-fi Confederation series following Torin Kerr
Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr had been the very model of a Confederation Marine. No one who’d ever served with her could imagine any circumstance that would see her walking away from the Corps.
But that was before Torin learned the truth about the war the Confederation was fighting…before she’d been declared dead and had spent time in a prison that shouldn’t exist…before she’d learned about the “plastic” beings who were really behind the war between the Confederation and the Others. That was when Torin left the military for good.
Yet she couldn’t walk away from preserving and protecting everything the Confederation represented. Instead, ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr drew together an elite corps of friends and allies—some ex-Marines, some civilians with unique skills—and together they prepared to take on covert missions that the Justice Department and the Corps could not—or would not—officially touch. But after their first major mission, it became obvious that covert operations were not going to be enough.
Although the war is over, the fight goes on and the Justice Department finds its regular Wardens unable to deal with violence and the people trained to use it. Ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr has a solution: Strike Teams made up of ex-military personnel, small enough to maneuver quickly, able to work together if necessary. Justice has no choice but to implement her idea and Torin puts her team of independent contractors back into uniform. It isn’t war, it is policing, but it often looks much the same.
When the scientists doing a preliminary archaeological dig on a Class Two planet are taken hostage, Torin’s team is sent to free them. The problem of innocents in the line of fire is further complicated by the fact that the mercenaries holding them are a mix of Confederation and Primacy forces, and are looking for a weapon able to destroy the plastic aliens who’d started and maintained the war.
If Torin weren’t already torn by wanting that weapon in play, she also has to contend with the politics of peace that have added members of the Primacy—former enemies—to her team. Before they confront the mercenaries, Torin will have to sift through shifting loyalties as she discovers that the line between“us” and “them” is anything but straight.