Second Scout Terrllss-rr isn’t exactly thrilled to receive a special assignment as military attaché to a Captal diplomat. By training and inclination, he’s a starship commander. He isn’t given the option of declining, though. As a military aide to Envoy Rayon, Terr finds himself at the center of political machinations involving a number of worlds, several political factions, assorted cultural groups, and a ruthless, manipulative ruling family. His compassion and curiosity will finally lead him to discover things that more than one faction wish to keep secret, and an attempt on his life will bring a rebirth of a sort he could never have anticipated.
In the Shadow of Death is a science fiction action/adventure story in the classic space opera mold. It features a tangled but fast-paced plot that winds together political machinations, military maneuvers and spiritual trials. The main character Terr is a sympathetic protagonist who is dropped into a situation for which he’s totally unprepared and given a variety of obstacles to overcome. How he does so, and what it costs him, makes for an intriguing story.
The reader should be prepared for some obstacles to comprehension of what’s going on in the book, however. The fast pace means the large cast is initially extremely confusing, especially since the only real characterization given to many of the players is an assortment of verbal tics that quickly becomes annoying. I also had some difficulty with some of Terr’s actions. Although he has been attacked three times, he still insists on going out exploring by himself on a world where he is a complete stranger, a world controlled by his enemies.
However, once the players begin to come clear, the action sweeps the reader into its world and weaves a story that compels one to keep reading until it’s finished.
Reviewed by Karen McCullough