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Lt. Leary, Commanding Hardcover – July 1, 2000

63 customer reviews
Book 2 of 10 in the Lt. Leary Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No one who read Drake's first account of Lt. Daniel Leary's adventures in With the Lightnings will be surprised at the appearance of this sequel; that novel clearly launched a series. What is surprising, however, is the wonderfully strong quality of the follow-up. Although Drake starts off on an odd note (with a panoramic view of a military-SF hierarchical society), his Dan Leary and Signal Officer Adele Mundy prove an uncommonly engaging pair of protagonists. Mundy in particular is something of a novelty in the fieldAnot particularly attractive, she's not only older than Leary, but she's also a formidable pistol shot, a genius with electronics (albeit something of a klutz otherwise) and not romantically involved with Leary (or anybody else). Finding themselves aboard the Royal Cinnabar Navy ship Princess Cecile, the two plunge into a multilayered sequence of adventures. They survive bureaucratic pettifogging as well as the machinations of charming and unscrupulous political exiles trying to get home, peril in space, attempted assassinations and an encounter with a den of pirates they hope to make into allies against Cinnabar's enemies. The suspense on the way to the climactic battle is genuine, and the action scenes are up to the author's very high standard. To top that off, Drake has also managed to rein in his sometimes tedious cynicism, replacing it with dry wit. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Given command of the Princess Cecile, a space-faring corvette of the Republic of Cinnabar Navy, Lt. Daniel Leary receives an assignment to travel to the planet Strymon to reinforce that volatile world!s alliance with Cinnabar. Instead of a routine voyage, however, Leary contends with an unwelcome passenger, political sabotage, and an attempt to maroon him on a backward planet. Drake!s sequel to With the Lightnings continues the saga of a brash and brilliant young man determined to make his way by his own merits. Filled with battle scenes on the ground and in the far reaches of space, this sf adventure should appeal to fans of military sf. Suitable for most libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671578758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671578756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The Army took David Drake from Duke Law School and sent him on a motorized tour of Viet Nam and Cambodia with the 11th Cav, the Blackhorse. He learned new skills, saw interesting sights, and met exotic people who hadn't run fast enough to get away.

Dave returned to become Chapel Hill's Assistant Town Attorney and to try to put his life back together through fiction making sense of his Army experiences.

Dave describes war from where he saw it: the loader's hatch of a tank in Cambodia. His military experience, combined with his formal education in history and Latin, has made him one of the foremost writers of realistic action SF and fantasy. His bestselling Hammer's Slammers series is credited with creating the genre of modern Military SF. He often wishes he had a less interesting background.

Dave lives with his family in rural North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Drake can be a spotty author, with a tendency toward overly graphic violence and language and a sloppy sense of continuity. None of that detracts from this book, which is the best (along with companion novel "With the Lightnings" which should be read first) of recent space opera (meaning the last couple of Weber or Moon novels.) Engaging characters, interesting non-military themes (library and data science, natural history) running through the books, and rollicking adventure. Also the only really engaging space battle I have ever read. A homage to Aubrey and Maturin that works and is a great addition to Drake's canon.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. W. Sims on January 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Very readable, as always with Drake, but less brutally descriptive of battle injuries than his early work. Action without angst if you will. Less obsessed with convincing us of the horror of war than was the younger Drake.
Without spoiling the plot, Lt Leary's success in the first episode of this series ("With The Lightnings") brings attention that makes him the intended pawn in a political scheme. Action is the essence of the book rather than debate about the issues. (If you care about the issues, they are sketched from actual historical conflicts, so pick up any non-fiction book about the period from 1500 to 1900 and meditate away. Drake assumes you took a history class or two and know where to find such discussions. This book entertains you with the people, not the issues.)
The characters are easy to enjoy, but not to understand, unless you read the first book in the series where their relationships are formed. Having done that makes evident the development in the characters. The earlier comparison to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin is apt. A good many references in POB novels are obscure if you haven't read the early books, and the interaction between the POB characters occasionally startles you, if you don't know their shared background.
The books of this Drake series offer a light meal from the same ingredients POB uses to create a banguet. I'd give POB five stars for most of his novels and I'm only rating this one four. I've read the POB books several times and still found more each time. I'm not sure that's a recommendation for POB if you just want a "cracking good yarn" to fill an evening. Drake provides that. Worth buying.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Deeley on August 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hope I can keep up the standard of the other reviewers, all three of whom were clear and concise.
This is a good space opera. It's also an interesting combination of the aftermath of the Cataline Conspiracy, Ceasar (guys, this author knows Rome), Nelson's navy (note the requirements for advancement, and the majority of details of ship handling), and (as Drake openly warns us) a quick slice of American naval history.
First of all, let's get to the bare bones assessment:
Buy it, and enjoy. I can't say you'll keep it, especially if your bookcases are in the state mine are, but it's worth your money in hardbound.
Now the discussion of why I think this:
The relationship between Leary and my favorite viewpoint character, Adele Mundy, is very good. A portrayal of an unlikely friendship that benefits both sides, one personality analyzing it, the other simply pleased to have it, is great. Also, Drake gets to use Adele to explain the Navy through Leary's lectures, and Adele to explain politics.
No one has yet touched on that part of it, and it's important. Adele Mundy may be a touch morbid, but with the history we're shown, she should be. The detachment, the precision, and the ability to empty herself of emotion, or at least treat emotion just as another factor, not be overwhelmed by it (except with regard to the house, and three cheers for her attack on the parvenu vulgarity she tosses out), is an excellent examination of the requirements to survive a (how shall I put this?) coup of naked force. Compare Adele to the character of Vaughn. They have very different interests, granted. But which of them would you want beside you?
Drake always delivers on the action.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on October 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First off, this is highly reminiscent of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series--Leary is the girl-chasing overweight but likable hero and Adele is the intellectual spy/killer sidekick. So what? Aubrey/Maturin is great and it's still great when Drake does it in Space Opera.
David Drake weaves together appealing (not always likable) characters and a plot that escalates from personal danger (lots of that) to threats to whole worlds. The unspoken sexual tension between Leary and Adele adds to the reader appeal without being heavyhanded.
Maybe it's just me, but I enjoyed a space battle that didn't come down to the recently invented brilliant weapon which the other side didn't expect and did exactly the wrong thing.
Maybe it won't stick to you forever, but you won't put it down either.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Cross O'Bryan's Aubrey-Maturin novels with Weber's Honor Harrington series and you've got a pretty good idea of where Lt.Leary Commanding is going to take you. Drake delivers all the action and adventure we've come to expect, but it is a perhaps less expected pleasure to discover that the true strength of this tale is in the depth and development of his characters. Drake has really found the zone and hit his stride and in that respect does Weber one better, spreading before us, like the varied and delectable delights of a dessert cart: the cool and ever precise Adele Mundy; the sociopath, Tovera; Leary, hisownself, a cheerful and sunny soul, but all business and absolutely fearless in a crisis... I could go on, but you get the picture. Actually, the interaction between Mundy and Leary is intriguing in part because Drake has taken the platonic affection of the Aubrey-Maturin bond and given it a male-female gender twist. Few authors attempt to portray a deep, compelling, yet non-sexual, friendship between a man and a woman, and even fewer do so convincingly, or manage to keep it interesting. In this regard, the relationship, if not the distribution of emotional qualities, is reminiscent of the Willie Garvin - Modest Blaise relationship (for those of you willing to forgive the genre skipping and passage of 30 years <g>). Drake has delivered an entertaining and rewarding yarn. Good stuff.
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