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The Elysium Commission by L. E. Modesitt
Cover Artist: Dave Seeley
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0765317206
Date: 20 February, 2007 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

A former Special Ops agent, Donne struggles to stay within the law and still satisfy his clients. For recreation, his alter ego dabbles as the crime-fighting shadow knight. His current commissions demand all his expertise and threaten his survival. Worse, he also uncovers a conspiracy that may destroy his world. Despite his extensive contacts and knowledge, evidence is hard to gain and his attempts almost end his life despite his use of the latest technology to snoop, to protect himself and his facilities, and to survive, including advanced defensive and offensive systems.

Can he trust the information he uncovers, or are those he seeks to uncover manipulating and misleading him? One client dies when Blaine discovers the man's suspicions of patent infringement are valid. Enemies of one investigative target die or vanish under mysterious circumstances. No one claims any knowledge of Elysium.

True to noir fiction, the villains are without redeeming qualities. Other characters reveal more dimensionality and complexity. Politics, greed, and personal integrity provide plenty of challenges for Donne. The action cuts back and forth as Donne pursues his investigation of five separate commissions, some of which end by being interrelated. It also involves many high tech weapons and even a space battle.

To save his world, Donne must recover from serious injury, accept a Special Ops role to fly a critical space mission to destroy an invader at a precise instant in time, rendezvous with his host ship, and make it back to his world to destroy the installation poised to wipe it out. With fuel reserves low, the entire mission may fail and Donne crash instead of landing safely.

A prolific and popular writer of speculative fiction, Modesitt delivers a more action oriented and less philosophically based novel than some of his other works. Readers can enjoy The Elysium Commission on many levels. Modesitt has also left plenty room for future Donne novels.

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