What Distant Deeps (RCN book 8 ) by David Drake [Book Review]

Captain Daniel Leary and the formidable Adele Mundy returns with another struggle. This time against ‘barbarians’ with an uncanny ability to navigate the Matrix.

The Cinnabar government starts downsizing the fleet with the ink still wet on the peace treaty, putting most officers on half-pay and sending ships to the breakers. Daniel Leary is sent on a mission to deliver a new Cinnabar Commissioner to Zenobia. Spy mistress Sands sends Adele to gather information on the Principality of Palmyra who seems very god at policing piracy in the region.

On Zenobia they soon start to uncover a plot to rekindle the war with the Alliance and for RCN to take the fall for a power grab by the Palmyrenes. Their mission takes them to mysterious alien ruins with an equally alien eco system that takes a role in the story but not what you would expect though.

The final battle is very vivid and well told. Battles are really one of David Drakes strong points.

I find his characters more developed and ‘deeper’ in this book. They have been likable and quirky from the beginning but here they are more alive than ever.

Adele Mundy is my favorite character in a series with lots of good and memorable characters. She is a sharpshooting master spy librarian with a traumatic and dark past. Her up to then respected noble family was killed in the Proscriptions ordered by Daniels father. She survived by being away. She found solace as a librarian and in an obsession with information. I think Adele Mundy’s character references much from the returning Vietnam veterans’ struggles and their feelings of alienation. This might be an obvious reference to many of you but it just occurred to me. It does, knowing David’s past shine a new light on her for me and explains why she feels so well developed.

What Distant Deeps is an entertaining military science fiction with a spice of space opera.


Title: What Distant Deeps
Series: RCN
Author: David Drake
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Hardcover; 384 pages
Publisher: Baen 2010
Copy: bought from Amazon

Order from: S&S | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok


Captain Daniel Leary and his friend, the spy Adele Mundy, have been in the front lines of Cinnabar’s struggle against the totalitarian Alliance. Now these galactic superpowers have signed a peace of mutual exhaustion–

But the jackals are moving in!

The Republic of Cinnabar was on the verge of collapse under the weight of taxes, casualties, and war’s disruption of trade. That the Alliance of Free Stars was in even worse condition helped only because it has made peace possible.

Years of war have been hard on Daniel and harder still on Adele, whose life outside information-gathering is a tightrope between despair and deadly violence. Their masters in the RCN and the Republic’s intelligence service have sent them to the fringes of human space to relax away from danger.

But the barbarians of the outer reaches have their own plans, plans which will bring down both Cinnabar and the Alliance. The enemies of peace include traitors, giant reptiles, and barbarian pirates whose ships can outsail even Daniel Leary’s splendid corvette, the Princess Cecile.

Unless Daniel, Adele, and their unlikely allies succeed, galactic civilization will disintegrate into blood and chaos.

So they will succeed—or they’ll die trying!

The RCN Series

Royal Cinnabar Navy series also goes under the name Lt Leary sometimes.

  1. With the Lightnings (1998)—Author’s note (read online)
  2. Lt. Leary, Commanding (2000) (read online)
  3. The Far Side of The Stars (2003) (read online)
  4. The Way to Glory (2005) (read online)
  5. Some Golden Harbor (2006) (read online)
  6. When the Tide Rises (2008) (read online)
  7. In the Stormy Red Sky (2009) [My reading notes]
  8. What Distant Deeps (2010)

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