I’ve been mooning during this last week – and no… I’m not baring anything in this bitterly cold weather. Or staring vacantly into space while dreaming of a special someone. No – I’ve been immersed in Elizabeth Moon’s world in this omnibus edition of the first three books in this excellent series – Hunting Party, Sporting Chance and Winning Colours.
Heris Serrano was an officer born of a long line of officers. A life serving in the ranks of the Regular Space Service was all she had ever known or wanted – until a treacherous superior officer forced her to resign her commission. This was not just the end of a career path; it was the end of everything that gave her life meaning.
Heris finds employment as ‘Captain’ of an interstellar luxury yacht. Being a rich old woman’s chauffeur isn’t quite the same as captaining a Fleet cruiser, but nothing Heris will ever do again could compare with that. Or so she thinks. For all is not as it seems aboard the Sweet Delight.
And there you have it – in next to no time, Moon has swept you up into Heris Serrano’s adventure as this sympathetic, well rounded protagonist leaps off the page with just the right mix of spikiness and vulnerability. Moon also excels at pacing, alternating the building tension with the action, so that I didn’t want to put this down – but read far into the small hours to get to the end of this blockbuster. Each story is sufficiently self contained so that if you’re not fortunate enough to have these books back to back, I think you would still be able to read them out of sequence and quickly find your bearings – a trick that many other writers seem unable to successfully manage.
This series of books was written back in the early 90’s, but Orbit’s smart move in reprinting this omnibus edition proves their pedigree because these novels wear their age well. Indeed, I’m willing to bet that the current crop of women writing successful space opera – the likes of Mary Rosenblum, Marianne de Pierres and Laura E. Reeve, for example, have read and enjoyed Moon.
On a practical note, the only major glitch in my enjoyment has been hefting a brick-sized book running to some 1,100 pages while reading in bed. But I’d better get used to it – the other four books in the Serrano series are also available in two further omnibus editions, which I’ve already ordered from the library…