Marque and Reprisal (Vatta’s War II) – Elizabeth Moon

The second book in the “Vatta’s War” series starts off exactly where Trading in Danger ends. After the initial tentative volley, the war on the interstellar status quo begins in earnest. Ansibles, used to communicate instantly between stars, are sabotaged and destroyed in a successful attempt to destabilize and weaken trade. Vatta Transport becomes the target of a concerted attack, and most of Ky’s family is killed. Ky herself encounters the black sheep of the family, and (as borne out in the title) becomes a privateer.

The tone of this novel is quite similar to the first. In fact, the books feel not so much like a series as volumes of the same narrative. The characters, especially Ky, continue to develop in both expected and unexpected ways, as Moon builds an intricate web of relationships backed by skillfully described internal thought processes. The action contained in this installment ensures it doesn’t really feel like an interim book.

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