Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Review: A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff

A Peace Divided
Author:  Tanya Huff
Series:  Peacekeeper 2
Publisher:  DAW, June 6, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print); US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780756411503 (print); 9780756411527 (eBook)

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.

Doreen's Review

I’ve enjoyed Tanya Huff’s novels for years, particularly her fantasy, but her Confederation series, also known as the Valor series, really got me hooked on Sci-Fi military novels. I’m really not into guns or other weapons; I respect and honor those who choose to serve in the military, but I could never really understand their devotion and enthusiasm for their service until I began reading about Torin Kerr.

The Valor novels begin with Valor’s Choice and Torin and her platoon assigned to yet another dangerous mission on behalf of the Confederacy. The Confederacy is made up of the Elder Races, those with the earliest and best technology who organized and invited other races to the Confederacy, and the Younger Races, who are recruited because they still retain the violent tendencies necessary to fight the Galactic War against the Primacy which has raged for centuries. All the Valor novels follow Torin as she evolves in her role as a gunnery sergeant until she discovers a massive secret about the creation of the War that finally leads to peace with the Primacy. Just when it seems that there is no need for entities with her skill set, she is recruited by the Wardens, the peacekeeping hand of the Confederacy, to help enforce laws where the Elder Races even lack the ability to use / understand violence.

A Peace Divided starts after Torin’s first adventure as a Warden in An Ancient Peace, where she and her team discovered that some military groups are searching for ancient weapons developed and then destroyed by one of the first Elder Races. A Peace Divided follows the plot started in that novel and continues.

Rather than describe the plot, I want to focus on some other elements of this novel, particularly the characterization. In this new series, Torin is a military veteran who has had some horrific experiences during her career, leading to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her charge as a Gunnery Sargent who lead some people to their death weighs on her, physically, as she feels the containers of ashes of the dead on her combat vest. She has finally agreed to see a counselor and come to the realization that the process has helped her and will continue to help her, and as a reader, it is possible to see that change when comparing her decision making in this novel to the decision making in the novels of the other series. More than almost anything, I enjoy watching characters grow and change through the experiences they have between the pages. Tanya Huff does an excellent job on this, not only with Torin, but with the other members of her team.

In addition, the other members of her team are very creatively drawn. Huff has made the military units to include a mixture of alien races, by law, and emphasizes the equality among them. When she initially describes an alien race, she includes a little background about their evolution and history that allows the reader to understand that oddities that make them alien, whether they be body parts or eating choices, or mental perspective.

As military Sci-Fi, the novel has weapons and they are described in detail as well as designed scientifically to consider issues such as firing projectiles within a starship. Lastly the method of travel is described both scientifically as well as mathematically, again making it fit well within the Sci-Fi genre. Most important to me are the battles that make it military. Huff can go from a macro description to a more minute individual view all within a single paragraph and have it flow well. The strategy of the battles often reflect the attitudes of the specific race against which the team is fighting. To me, that’s great writing. The surprises that Huff often adds through Torin are delightful.

Overall, it would be possible to read A Peace Divided on its own, because Huff provides just enough background on the big plot issues and the personalities, without being too repetitive or boring for a long-time reader like myself. However, why deprive yourself of the entire realm of the Confederacy? Starting with Valor’s Choice (Valor 1), you can only win.


An Ancient Peace
Peacekeeper 1
DAW, October 4, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Hardcover and eBook, October 6, 2015

The thrilling first installment in the military sci-fi Peacekeeper series continues the adventures of Torin Kerr and her team of marines

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr had been the very model of a Confederation Marine. But when she learned the truth about the war the Confederation was fighting, she left the military for good.

But Torin couldn’t walk away from preserving and protecting everything the Confederation represented. Instead, she drew together an elite corps of friends and allies to take on covert missions that the Justice Department and the Corps could not—or would not—officially touch. Torin just hoped the one they were about to embark on wouldn’t be the death of them.

Ancient H’san grave goods are showing up on the black market—grave goods from just before the formation of the Confederation, when the H’san gave up war and buried their planet-destroying weapons…as grave goods for the death of war. Someone is searching for these weapons and they’re very close to finding them. As the Elder Races have turned away from war, those searchers can only be members of the Younger Races.

Fortunately, only the Corps Intelligence Service has this information. Unfortunately, they can do nothing about it—bound by laws of full disclosure, their every move is monitored.

Though Torin Kerr and her team are no longer a part of the military, the six of them tackling the H’san defenses and the lethally armed grave robbers are the only chance the Confederation has. The only chance to avoid millions more dead.

But the more Torin learns about the relationship between the Elder Races and the Younger, the more she begins to fear war might be an unavoidable result.

The Valor / Confederation Series

Valor's Choice
Valor 1
DAW, April 1, 2000
eBook, 416 Pages

The first book in Tanya Huff’s action-packed military sci-fi adventure Confederation series

Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr was a battle-hardened professional. So when she and her platoon were yanked from a well-deserved leave for what was supposed to be “easy” duty as the honor guard for a diplomatic mission to the non-Confederation world of the Silsviss, she was ready for anything. Sure, there’d been rumors of the Others—the sworn enemies of the Confederation—being spotted in this sector of space. But there were always rumors. The key thing was to recruit the Silsviss into the Confederation before the Others attacked or claimed these lizardlike warriors for their side. And everything seemed to be going perfectly. Maybe too perfectly….

The Better Part of Valor
Valor 2
DAW, June 5, 2007
eBook, 416 Pages

The second book in Tanya Huff’s action-packed military sci-fi adventure Confederation series

Never tell a two-star general what you really think of him….

That was the mistake Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr made with General Morris. But as a battle-hardened professional, she took pride in doing her job and getting her troops back alive. So after she’d saved the mission to bring the Silviss into the Confederation—instead of losing them and their world to the enemy known only as the Others—she let the general know exactly how she felt.

And Torin’s reward—or punishment—was to be separated from her platoon and sent off on what might well prove an even more perilous assignment. She was commandeered to protect a scientific expedition to a newly discovered and seemingly derelict spaceship of truly epic proportions. And Confederation politics had saddled her with a commanding officer who might prove more of a menace to the mission’s success than anything they encountered.

Only time would tell if the ship was what it appeared to be, or a trap created by the Others—or the work of an as-yet unknown alien race with an agenda that could prove all too hostile to other life forms….

The Heart of Valor
Valor 3
DAW, June 3, 2008
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

The third installment in Tanya Huff’s action-packed military sci-fi adventure Confederation series

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr was a Confederation Marine’s marine. She’d survived more deadly encounters—and kept more of her officers and enlisteds alive—than anyone in the Corps, and she was determined to keep the record intact. But since her last mission, she’d been sidelined into endless briefings and debriefings with no end in sight.

So, of course, she’d jumped at the chance to go to the Crucible—the Marine Corps training planet—as temporary aide to Major Svensson. The major had been reduced to little more than a brain and spinal cord in his last combat, and he and his doctor were anxious to field test his newly re-grown body.

It should have been an easy twenty-day run. After all, Crucible was only set up to simulate battle situations so recruits could be trained safely. But they were barely on-planet when someone started blasting the training scenarios to smithereens.

And suddenly Kerr found herself not only responsible for the major and his doctor, but caught in a desperate fight to keep a platoon of Marine recruits alive until someone discovered what was happening on Crucible….

Valor's Trial
Valor 4
DAW, June 2, 2009
Mass Market and eBook, 416 pages

The fourth book in Tanya Huff’s action-packed military sci-fi adventure Confederation series

After surviving the perils of the Crucible, the Marine Corps planet where a routine training assignment had taken a deadly twist—Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr returned to Ventris Station just in time to link up with her old platoon and head out to a new war zone, an area of space where the enemy known as the Others appeared to be building up its forces for a preemptive strike.

Sent to pull back troops who’d moved up to an indefensible position, Torin was caught in the heaviest fighting just as a devastating air strike reduced the whole area to slag. The Corps concluded that she was dead. But despite irrefutable evidence, neither Torin’s father nor salvager Craig Ryder agreed.

And the truth was that Torin had survived. She woke to discover that she was trapped in a series of underground caves that appeared to be an enemy-run POW camp. But everyone knew the Others never took prisoners—or did they?

Could Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr escape this prison that shouldn’t even exist, taking as many Marines as possible with her? Though she was determined to get herself and her Marines back to the Confederation, Torin had no idea how crucial her attempt could prove, not only to her own well-being, but to the course of the entire war.

The Truth of Valor
Valor 5
DAW, September 6, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

The thrilling final installment in Tanya Huff’s military sci-fi adventure Confederation series

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr was the very model of a Confederation Marine. She’d survived more deadly encounters than anyone in the Corps. No one who’d ever served with her could imagine her walking away from the Corps. But that was before Torin had 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….

It was Salvage Operator Craig Ryder who had refused to believe Torin was dead. Craig who found and rescued Torin. And so, when her mission was complete, Torin resigned from the Marines to start a new life with Craig aboard his tiny salvage ship, the Promise.

But civilian life was a lot rougher than Torin had imagined. The salvage operators were losing cargo and lives to pirates. Because salvagers were an independent lot unwilling to turn to the OutSector Wardens for help, no one in authority seemed to take their ever-increasing threat seriously.

Then, on their first real run together, pirates attacked the Promise, kidnapping Craig and leaving Torin to die. But leaving Torin behind to die was never a good strategy. Against all odds, she survived, and certain—despite no evidence to prove her correct—that Craig was still alive, she decided to mount a rescue mission. When Craig’s salvager friends refused to join her, Torin had no choice but to call in the Marines—some very special Marines.

Then she discovered why the pirates had been trying to kidnap salvagers. And suddenly Torin’s mission expanded from saving Craig to stopping the pirates from changing the balance of power in known space….

A Confederation of Valor
Valor 1 and 2
DAW, February 3, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 576 pages

In Valor’s Choice, Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr and her crew get yanked from a well-deserved shore leave in order to participate in an “easy” mission. They are to act as an honor guard for a diplomatic visit to the world of the Silsviss, reptilian aliens with a strong appreciation for war and conquest. Ideally, the visit will result in an alliance and a new member world for the Confederation. Sure, there’d been rumored sightings of the Others on the planet, sworn enemies of the Confederation, but there are always rumors. Everything seems to be going perfectly. Maybe too perfectly…

In The Better Part of Valor, Torin Kerr’s outspokenness gets her in a load of trouble. After she tells a two-star general what she really thinks of him, she finds herself separated from her platoon and sent off on a perilous assignment. She’s ordered to escort a scientific expedition to an unidentified alien ship abandoned in space — is it a trap set by the Others or simply a derelict? It’s Torin’s job to find out — and to babysit a commanding officer who might prove more of a menace to the mission’s success than anything they encounter.


Post a Comment