Kris Longknife: Mutineer is the first book of Mike Shepherd’s “Longknife” series starring the character Kris Longknife. It was published in 2004.
I like military space science fiction. Of course, we are all familiar with Honor Harrington so this book gets compared to David Weber’s novels frequently. Female main characters, military in future space, etc. There are a lot of common elements. I am not entirely familiar with the Honorverse, I have started the first of the H.H. series, though. From what I can tell, Longknife is a better character straight out of the gate. She’s interesting and more developed. However, Weber is the better storyteller.
Kris Longknife is a young ensign in the Navy. (Someone’s Navy. Wardhaven? Earth? Other???) She comes from a wealthy family with plenty of political and military history. Her mother is a bit of an idiot. Her younger brother was assassinated.
I liked this novel, don’t get me wrong. However, there are many elements that the reader should just read and not spend another moment thinking about. This novel (and the character) are involved in a lot of political/governmental drama. Shepherd doesn’t really make it easy to follow, though. A lot of times, when Longknife is dealing with her family, I just read it and pretended that I knew exactly who was who. In reality, I have no idea who her family members are. I feel like she has something like 18 grandfathers….
The supporting character, Tom, was interesting to a point. I figured he would be a potential love interest, but (thankfully) that never developed. Instead, Tom is just a yes-man for Kris. I tired of him being constantly “out of his element” and “surprised.”
The universe in which this (and the rest of the series) is set is a big place and we are sort of thrown into it in media res. A small chart/graph might have been helpful. In some places its just: someone is fighting someone for some reason. On some planet. Also, its future stuff – so there are ships made of adaptable and controllable metals. There are a variety of different ships that aren’t really explained to us. Again, the reader just takes it all in stride.
The story contains several adventures of Kris Longknife. I think the stories should show a progression through a larger storyarc, but they kind of fail at that. At the end of the book there are still a number of questions that don’t get answered (but that’s why there are more books in the series, I suppose.)
Overall, from an impartial, purely honest standpoint – this book probably should only barely get 3 stars. However, personally, I like this sort of theme and while I got lost in some parts, got preached at in other parts, and just felt let down in others, its still a good read. It was still fun and interesting as long as I didn’t worry too much about things and just kept my eye on the main character. I own several other books in the series and will probably read them all eventually.