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Marilee J. Layman

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07:41 pm: Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon
This is the middle book of the five-book series Vatta's War. I've reviewed the first two: Trading in Danger and Marque and Reprisal.

This starts a few days after the last one. Ky is in port and is chatting up the other captains about forming a fleet to fight the pirates when the planetary government decides she's dangerous. After all, there's just that one ship that came out from Bissonet and said that planetary system had been taken over by the pirates. Surely they were mistaken. Ky carefully extracts herself before Stella gets there. This keeps her from being jailed but leaves Stella a bit loose and angry.

Ky's cargo is long-awaited biomedical materials and when she gets to that port, she finds a very rule-oriented planetary government. She starts processing cargo when another Vatta ship comes into that area of space. The captain is one she's met in person before, but he insists she can't be Kylara Vatta, that she must be some byblow of Osman's pretending to be Kylara. This starts a lot of actually interesting legal wrangling, especially when Stella comes in. The enemies they engage through the book are not necessarily the expected ones.

After things are cleared up and Stella stays to start the trading arm back up, Ky meets up with other captains to talk about starting a fleet. One of the captains is a Vatta captain who she spoke with at the first port. He followed her to the second and agreed to join her in the fleet. He has an unnamed young Spacefleet advisor and I bet this is the guy who was Ky's boyfriend in the Academy who dumped her when she was kicked out right before graduation.

Of the seven, one never makes the meeting place, and they wonder if he was a pirate plant. While Ky has military training, another captain has much more experience and they agree that Andreson will be admiral. As might be expected, the Admiral doesn't have the right skills and the book ends with a hair-raising space battle.

Moon also brings in Aunt Gracie Lane Vatta, back on the home planet, who manages to get the sneaks and traitors in the government cleaned up, with some damage to herself. Her story is interlaced through the main story.

Like the others, this was an excellent book, and I can't wait to start the next tonight.

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