Lanyon runs into trouble when he tries to keep a crucial memory disc out of the hands of a ruthless band of blackmailers. If that isn’t bad enough, Jophena, an eleven-year-old Selenian girl and Lanyon’s traveling companion, turns what Lanyon expects to be a simple chore into an all out war. Just when he thinks everything might turn out all right, the Vermenian blackmailers return to exact a vicious revenge on Lanyon.
“Open the door,” said the taller Malcosian. Lanyon placed his palm against the identicator and opened the door. The taller Malcosian pushed him up the first few steps.
What's this all about? Lanyon asked as he opened the door to his room.
"Sit," the taller Malosian barked.
Lanyon sat on the edge of the bed. “Who the hell—?”
The shorter Malcosian struck Lanyon across the face with the handle of his pistol. Lanyon tried to soften the blow by spinning to his right, but the Malcosian moved too quickly. After striking him, the Malcosian stepped next to the bed and placed the barrel of his pistol against Lanyon’s ear.
“We’re not going to kill you,” said the taller Malcosian as the shorter one jabbed the pistol barrel sharply against Lanyon’s head. “We want you to know and tell others, especially Predamor and the over-minister, you will not return to Vermenia for any reason. If you do, we will kill you for sure. Julmon has seen enough of you.” The shorter Malcosian’s translator beeped three times as he barked what sounded like siksukensin, an untranslatable epithet Lanyon had never heard before, and drew back his arm to pistol whip a stunning blow across Lanyon’s cheek. Lanyon slumped onto his side on the bed.
"We make ourselves clear, I hope," the taller man said.
Lanyon blinked a few times and reminded himself to breath steadily. “You do,” he mumbled and clenched his muscles when he saw the shorter Malcosian adjust his pistol and fire.
I found John Paulits’ descriptions of the different life-forms to be intriguing and well-thought out. I especially liked the purple skinned Argonians. The varied worlds were nicely described so that the reader could get a real feel for what they were like. The first chapter draws the reader in nicely and the first adventure is captivating. However, I had trouble staying with the story in the second chapter when Paulits introduced a lot of characters and places all with very different names but without a lot of context. Eventually I caught up and I was hooked again. Nevertheless, the action did seem to drag a bit in several places, but never enough to lose my interest. I just would have liked to have had either more pace or more depth or ideally, both.
The individual assignments are well-connected with reappearing characters so the plot is certainly a novel rather than just three closely connected stories, and a several of the reappearing characters are well-defined and appealing. Lanyon himself is most engaging and his adventures make for a fun read. When he is landed with a precocious eleven-year-old Selenian girl as a side-kick, the action is both exciting and humorous. And Lanyon may be a gun-for-hire, but most of the villains are captured using long-acting stun weapons, keeping the violence down, which I found refreshing.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any readers who enjoy fun, light, space adventures.
Long and Short Reviews