Fleet Insurgent (Under Jurisdiction)
by Susan R. Matthews
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781481482868
Date: 05 December 2017 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Not every story needs a full novel to be complete. Fleet Insurgent fills in the background of Andrej Kosciusko's adventures with fourteen additional pieces. Sometimes he is the main character, in other cases those around him take the lead. There are both short and long stories included, covering his childhood through to near the end of the current storyline.
The opening story, "Stoshi Elects the Malcontent", relates the tale of Stoshi's passing as he became a servant of the Malcontent. Young Andrej struggles to let go of his boon companion. The memories of this event stay with both through the years.
"Quid Pro Quo" sets the scene for the bargain between Captain Lowden and Kosciusko. Although well written, the description of the actions caused me to set the story aside for a time. The story is key to understanding their relationship as well as the immense pressure that was put on Kosciusko to do what only he could do.
Another of the difficult stories was "Jurisdiction". It tells of the final sentence being carried out against Administrator Geltoi of Domitt Prison. This was Kusciusko's first true Tenth Level interrogation. It was the final proof of what he can do and also in some respects, the making of his reputation. This is another dark story.
There are additional visits with Mergau Moycannir. Their hostility is given greater depth and explanation. There is also more information given as to how she is viewed within the Judiciary. Other main characters also appear.
This collection is mainly for fans of the series. There is a lot that can't be followed without having read the mainline books in the series. For fans of the series, there is a lot to enjoy. For others, it is best to start with Fleet Inquisitor. There are some hints at some future activity, but nothing is guaranteed.
I struggled with a few of the stories in this collection. Part of it was the scenes where Kosciusko is sinking into his depths while interrogating people. In other cases, the flow of the story didn't work for me. One case was "Pizza and Beer Theater!". It is written as if the narrator is telling a story to an audience. This style and the breaks didn't work for me in this setting as it doesn't fit the way it does when Patrick Rothfuss does it in the Kingkiller Chronicles.