I however, read the first in the series, Code of Conduct because I like to start at the beginning. And I’m glad I did.
Code of Conduct Introduces heroine to Jani Kilian, her hybrid body, past relationships and an elaborately coded new world:
After an accident, doctors repair Jani using the most advanced Service Medical technologies available, or so they assured her. In the last days of the idomeni civil war, she escaped their homeworld of Shèrá, and spent the next 18 years on the run.
But someone like Jani leaves a trail no matter how hard they try to hide it, and she soon learns the Service hunt for her never ended. When Interior Minister Evan van Reuter, her former lover, tracks her down and begs her help in finding his wife’s killer, she has no choice but to agree.
The search takes her to the Commonwealth capital of Chicago, a hotbed of political intrigue as dangerous as any war zone. As the danger mounts, so do Jani’s struggles. Her rebuilt body is breaking down, and memories long suppressed are flooding back. Of one horrible night 18 years ago, and the gut-wrenching decision that changed her life forever.
Code of Conduct chronicles this new future in meticulous detail delivering on the science fiction promise of taking the reader to a whole new reality. Smith does an excellent job of world building, and her heroine Jani, is as strong and determined as any fictional heroine the current scene, maybe more.
The one challenge with the writing style was the use of dialogue to convey back story and information. It made for paragraph long monologs and stretched my willing suspension of belief that anyone would talk that way, even in another time and on another planet. Backstory through conversation can be effective, but it has limits. An option for back story is to offer up a lengthy flashback scene that includes action, or start the conversation with “you remember why I can’t.” And switch to a narration of those past events.
It’s a small thing because the story really does move forward at a thrilling pace, and you will root for the heroine who accesses rather cool futuristic equipment during her adventure.
Here is a little about Rules of Conflict:
After eighteen years, Captain Jani Kilian’s life as a fugitive has ended. Captured by the Service, she now faces court martial. It will surely lead to her execution.
But relations with the idomeni have deteriorated. Jani’s knowledge of that alien race and her friendship with Nema, their ambassador, earn her a reprieve. And if she is able to help stabilize the crisis, she may be in line for a pardon.
Jani knows she should grab this second chance and hang on. But as tensions between human and idomeni mount and her genetically-modified body breaks down, she finds herself locked in a struggle with an adversary who has as much to lose as she, and who will do anything to ensure their secrets remain buried.
My recommendation is to buy both the first and second books in the series and read them as one long book, that way by the end of the second book you’ll have a good idea of what has really happened and what may happen in the third book.
I am not a fan of the trend to write one long story, then hack up that story into three separate novels. I love characters and relationship developing over the course of a series, but each book, ideally, should cover one specific story and hold a plot that will be mostly completed within the confines of that book. That’s my preference and I may be alone.
I was happy to be introduced to Kristine Smith’s work and Code of Conduct in particular. Kristine is a talent author, we may invite her on the show, so watch this space.