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Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace) by Elizabeth Moon
Edited by Anne Groell
Cover Artist: Michael Bryan
Review by Jon Guenther
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781101887318
Date: 11 April 2017 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Nine years. That's about how long it's been since Victory Conditions, the fifth book in the Vatta's War series, was released. I was sadly convinced it would be the last, so when I saw that Nebula Award winner Elizabeth Moon had returned with Cold Welcome I jumped at the chance to review this.

Elizabeth Moon

Vatta's Peace:
* Cold Welcome
Vatta's War:
* Trading in Danger
* Moving Target
* Engaging the Enemy
* Command Decision
Enter Admiral Kylara Vatta, the heroine of the original stories, who has returned to her home planet to attend to some family business. From there it pretty much goes awry, as her shuttle crash lands and Ky learns not only does she have a motley crew of paramilitary misfits from all walks to save, but the shuttle crash was no accident. Someone has murdered several of the crew, and Ky has only barely escaped from a similar demise.

With that, Ms. Moon kicks off another great adventure. While this one is not a space-faring tale like most of the previous books, it's no less fun. First, there are the political underpinnings and family drama of the Vatta business interwoven through the main plot. It also includes the whole cast of characters we'd hope to see: cousin Stella, Aunt Grace, MacRobert, Rafe Dunbarger, etc. The novel is also well-researched, which is no surprise given not only what we've come to expect from Elizabeth Moon's previous works, but her military background and experiences as a veteran.

A greater treat is this one has a breakout adventure thriller of survival as its main plot element. There is also the usual fare of mystery, a sort of whodunit for Ky to unravel when she realizes her predicament is the result of enemy saboteurs. And even she cannot be sure until the very end if there may still be danger hidden within her present company.

I would say that readers not familiar with the series could jump right in here and enjoy Cold Welcome without having read the previous books. But I would also caution how much less fun it would be not knowing the full back story. The other books in the series, whether the printed, digital, or audio book format, are highly enjoyable and will only add to the excitement here. Regardless, Elizabeth Moon has chosen a highly unique and accessible venue in Cold Welcome, and her return to the Ky Vatta character is nothing less than triumphant. This is an awesome novel and I just plain read my eyes out!

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