Into the Fire (Vatta's Peace)
by Elizabeth Moon
Review by Jon Guenther
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781101887349
Date: 06 February 2018 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
I was quite surprised to see this sequel to Cold Welcome would not only be the second but the last book in the Vatta's Peace series. I'd thought the books would continue beyond two volumes. But I count this book as less strong than it's predecessor.
The events in this one pick up just shortly after book one, where Ky is basically sequestered at the home of her cousin, Stella, with Rafe and three survivors from the Miksland excursion that they barely escaped with their lives. All the usual political intrigue and action is present, as in other of Ms. Moon's books.
Where I was troubled a bit was by the change in Ky's characterization. For better than the first two-thirds of the story, she won't go out to rescue her friends/crew for reasons I won't expand to minimize spoilers. The reasoning, however, seemed weak to me and that weakened what could have been a much better plot. Ky is a woman of action, always has been, and I felt the device used to tie her hands didn't quite reach the level it needed to build tension.
All the rest of what you come to expect from this author is there. There is intrigue and great action scenes, along with punchy dialog and the introduction of some new characters. The last third of the book seemed to rise more to the level of my expectations for a book in this series, or really any book by this author.
I think where this one suffered a bit for me was how the geographical boundaries and setting confined the story somewhat. Our protagonist was highly stationary and it didn't work for me. The entire saga is a space saga and therein is where it provides great entertainment value, but the hero must be on the move. A lot of what Ky seemed to do here was sit in a house and wring her hands.
The novel concluded satisfactorily but I didn't really get a sense if it would continue or not. There seemed to be a bit of finality to it all, so it will be interesting to see if the series continues in some other fashion. Regardless, it shouldn't be missed by fans of Elizabeth Moon solely on those grounds. The book is still worth it for getting to the conclusion of this two-book arc.