Monday, January 7, 2008

Final Inquiries-Roger MacBride Allen

Final Inquiries
Roger MacBride Allen
Bantam, Mar 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780553587289

Bureau of Special Investigation Agents Hannah Wolfson and Jamie Mendez are sent to their Commandant to learn of a mission so Top Secret even she has no idea what it entails. To their surprise they are to work with Kendori Agent Brox, who they have teamed up with before. The Kendori and Humanity are Younger Races looked down on with scorn by the Elder Races who were in space long before man left the swamps. The Kendori and Humanity are not at war, but hostilities can happen at anytime as they are in close competition with each other.

They compete for the inhabitable worlds in the Perton System while an Elder Species the Vixa will decide who gets them. Brox takes the two BSI Agents to Vana to find out who killed a Kendori woman working in their embassy which is connected to that of the Human Embassy sharing a common work place. Circumstantial evidence points to a human as the killer, but neither Hannah nor Jamie allow surface appearances to taint their investigation. The more the pair digs, the more they believe that there is a larger conspiracy to put the Younger Races in their place, which is not in space; to do that without losing Elder blood means manipulating the rivalry so that the two lesser species are at war with each other.

This fascinating military science fiction thriller makes man in space competing with other races seem real due to the vivid social, economic, and cultural details of the Vaxa society. FINAL INQUIRIES takes place far into the future with humanity struggling to find its niche in a hierarchy in which those at the top of the pyramid want those underneath to stay there; as the superior races see mankind and the Kendori as recalcitrant children who need to be taught respect for their Elders. The BSI Agents and Brox try to understand one another as they work together on the homicide investigation, but it is difficult as the differences between their species have been emphasized though interestingly the two groups have so much more in common. Roger MacBride Allen provides an exciting space opera.

Harriet Klausner

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