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Alliance (A Linesman Novel) Mass Market Paperback – February 23, 2016
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From Publishers Weekly
There's a war on, and level-ten linesman Ean Lambert is called upon to decipher the lines of newly discovered alien ships in Dunstall's overstuffed follow-up to 2015's Linesman. As a linesman, Ean is able to communicate with, and fix, the mysterious lines that keep ships running. His methods are unorthodox: he "sings them true." He's been in the employ of Crown Princess Michelle of Lancia for five months now, and is settling into his new role. Soon he learns of the formation of the New Alliance, created after the secession of worlds from the Gate Union. The New Alliance controls the alien ships that were recently discovered, but only Ean understands the alien lines, and he finds himself in the middle of a battle for powerful secrets. The concept of lines controlling a spaceship (each responsible for a different function) is an intriguing one, but endless political maneuvering overshadows the fun idea of sentient ships. Ean doesn't have enough personality to carry it (nor does new addition Kari Wang), and the many secondary characters never come to life. Those looking for an action-packed space opera won't find it here, and new readers will be lost. (Feb.)\n
Praise for Linesman
“A fascinating new take on the idea of the sentient spaceship.”—Sharon Shinn, national bestselling author of Archangel
“Rich with that sense of wonder that makes SF delightful.”—Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fire Touched
“Riveting and fast-paced.…A great read.”—Jack Campbell, New York Times bestselling author of the Lost Fleet novels
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Ean is in the process of trying to teach his fellow Linesmen in order to undo the centuries of damage that traditional training has caused, while exploring the secrets of the newly discovered alien ships.
Alliance feels a bit weaker than Linesman, but is still a strong novel.
Just like in Linesman, they split the PoV between Ean, and another figure, in this case Captain Kari Wang. While I'm not a fan of having multiple PoV in a single novel, I felt in this vol, it was a bit more warranted than it was in the first book.
Political intrigue is a theme, as well as developing self-confidence and strength. The main character is a classic engineer/programmer/savant, completely immersed in his work, but is kind and caring when he interacts with others.
There are no sex scenes, but there are a couple of very slow burn romances I enjoyed. The violence is not graphic, though it has an impact.
Scenes and dialog are well-written. There are very, very few copyediting issues, (none that I noticed), and the writing is practically transparent. I love that. These books are all about story.
As others have commented, the female characters in this story are strong, whether they are good guys or bad guys. I was a little surprised to find a future with emperors and planets on which women are merely partners to men, but the narrative voice disapproved of those, so it didn't reduce my enjoyment.
I had debated buying it, and in fact was planning on ignoring it, as I found the first installment to be pretty darn predictable. However, needing some light reading, I gave in and I'm very happy I did.
This is a solid, fun, read and I would highly recommend it. I'm now a Dunstall fan and am eagerly awaiting the next installment. If the author's work continues to improve at this pace we can expect some very good things from them.