My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Given the recent completion of the GraphicAudio adaptation of Alex Archer’s Rogue Angel 2: Solomon’s Jar, I decided to listen to their adaptation of the first book in Elizabeth Moon’s Serrano Legacy, Hunting Party. I had heard the virtues of her writing extolled by several friends in the past, but this is my first experience with her storytelling. I don’t know how close it runs to the text novel, but it was a rather fun ride.
After resigning her commission as captain of a ship in the Regular Space Service, Harris Serrano gains employment of a civilian luxury yacht Sweet Delight through the prestigious employment agency she signed up with. With the extra added “thrill” of dealing with some guests her employer was suckered into taking on-board, Harris quickly learns that the previous captain left her with a collection of numerous problems and that the employment agency can’t be bothered sending her employer quality for money crew.
In the second half of the book, having bonded with Cecelia over simulated horse-riding lessons and teaching the older woman about the ship, Harris is invited to a fox hunt. A week or so into the season on the hunting planet, she is thrown headlong into trouble from her past when Cecelia’s nephew and some of his companions crash-land on one of the numerous islands on-planet after getting bored and taking off for something “more fun”. Harris must be wary of who to trust in a situation where the hunters are stalking human prey.
The cultural world-building components offered some great insight into what the various characters we meet have to contend with in their own little circles. The internal and external dialogue is unique to each speaker with great voice acting to do it justice. We are offered clear motivations via the dialogue and actions (or inaction) of each player. The six “party” characters also have movements to shine, some more than others.
Though it is a slightly longer book from what I usually read, the pace of the action, awesome dialogue, descriptive, and characterization make this book a rather entertaining read without ignoring the scientific stuff. The descriptive of the technology and environment allowed the reader to see what dangers the characters have to deal with in space and on the hunting planet. I got the distinct feeling while I was listening to the book that it was a living and breathing universe containing real people with real motivations and feelings.
The story offers plenty of humor which is performed perfectly by the voice actors at GraphicAudio. It is a longer work that their Rogue Angel adaptation I finished a few days back, but there is always something going on. It doesn’t feel rushed or leave out anything either, making this a rather curious work indeed. In the case of Rogue Angel, the person writing as Alex Archer had to contend with the mild limitations of the action/adventure genre. In Hunting Party, Elizabeth Moon has the freedom to move around unrestricted, dealing with a lot of different issues whilst avoiding being preachy about this or that. Any questions about the quality of Elizabeth Moon’s writing have been brushed aside with my secure following of her work for years to come. Pure win!