Fleet Renegade (Under Jurisdiction)
by Susan R Matthews
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476782096
Date: 07 February 2017 List Price $17.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Jurisdiction keeps trade flowing and people quiet. The Protocols were developed to maintain control. The harsh measures maintain peace, but some are starting to chafe at the harsh measures. The greater the pressure applied, the more likely something will burst.
Andrej Koscuisko is still authorized to enforce the Protocols. His problem is that he enjoys the activity too much. For this pleasure he knows he is doomed. Andrej may have an out, but duty may keep him from taking it.
Change is coming, though. The First Judge has died and a new first judge must be selected. It seems to be a foregone conclusion, until one death throws the succession into turmoil. Bench Intelligence Specialist Jils Ivers is tasked with finding the murderer. The task will not be easy.
Bench Intelligence Specialist Garol Vogel is on a different path. He follows his own path. What he finds is new information which needs to be brought to the attention of the envoys tasked with selecting a new first judge. Unfortunately, there are people who want to prevent a selection from ever being made.
This is the second omnibus edition of the Under Jurisdiction series. There is a lot of back story that would be confusing for new readers. So it would be best to start with the Fleet Inquisitor omnibus. Be prepared, Andrej goes to some very dark places in the first collection.
I liked this omnibus better than the first. Andrej becomes more relatable as the action switches away from serial torture to internal contemplation. He is sensitive and that leads him to relate and better understand people. That connection also causes him to seek alcohol as an escape. He is concerned he is not worthy of his family. Andrej is barely able to handle the things he does when trying to gain a confession. Unfortunately for him, he is very good at his job, and slips into euphoria when he is torturing so like a drug he longs to feel it. Andrej could easily have been slipped into an unfettered monster, instead he makes you think about how you react to the pain of others.
Although a lot of the action takes place in space, the technology is not the driver of action. The action could take place anywhere. The themes are universal. Readers who enjoy imperfect characters with some mystery elements will find something to enjoy in this series.
The omnibus editions are in preparation for the release of a new novel in the series. I am looking forward to the next part of Andrej's adventures wherever they take him.