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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on April 7, 2017
I read this book years ago. Still enjoyed it.
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on January 14, 2017
I read this book when it first came out. At the time, soldiers with cybernetic enhancements were not the norm in science fiction. Sure, there were Zahn's Cobras and a few others, but none of them had the realism of our tragic heroine, CARC Jade Darcy. Her fears and sense of self is so compelling and believable in such a fantastic setting. Myriad alien races, one being controlling travel, interstellar wars, interspecies bar, and an irish woman that'd put Maureen O' Hara to shame. This is not a happy story, it was to be the first part of a long road to recovery for a broken warrior. It easily can be read as a stand alone, and does offer hope. I urge you to read it. I'll also never forgive MZB's abuse of power.
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on June 3, 2015
Goldin created an interesting character in Jade. Computer-augmentation, a fierce intelligence, and years of military training have made her tough, nearly invincible in a fight. And yet, she lives in fear - fear of the past, fear of discovery, fear of other being hurt or betrayed. This makes her vulnerable in ways she doesn't see. It takes a rich businesswoman and a man with honor and nothing else to help her see herself for real. The book starts slow, it seems, with details about Jade waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast. It seems like it would be boring, but it wasn't. I enjoyed reading about her life, her work, her character. Goldin put the same depth in his secondary characters - creating multiple alien species, as well as the two main secondary characters. The author is creative, to say the least. Plots and Pace are both good, with action, adventure, mystery, and emotion. But in the end, it's the character of Jade that kept me hooked. The books ends when several unanswered questions, but since there is a sequel, I expect to find the answers there.
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on February 18, 2015
Originally published in 1988 this is a fine sfi book with a future full of interesting worlds. Jade is an ex-cyber commando working as a bouncer in a resturant for hundreds of different races on a planet as far from earth as she could get. Solid back story and good growth for main character.
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on February 3, 2014
I read all of the other reviews, and I don't know what I can add to them. They are all far better written than I can manage. That said, I'll try to say something new because I really liked the book, and it deserves my best effort. The story is wrenching, brutal, and harsh. It deals with the psychological trauma of Jade Darcy, and her slow return to a more "human" existence. Along the way, it has a lot of interesting, different characters (mostly non-human) all of whom interact with the broken Jade. As the story progresses, she has interesting and exciting adventures, including lots of battles (both verbal and physical). I don't want to give too much away, so as not to spoil it for others. I really felt for the character, and it affected me deeply to read about her. The writing is superb, and really carried me into the life of the character.

I really hope that Stephen writes another sequel (after Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates), as I would really like to see Jade continue her story.
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on February 2, 2013
This review can also be seen at Top of the Heap Reviews at joehempel(dot)wordpress(dot)com

Stephen Goldin is a science-fiction author that has over 40 novels to his name. Lately he has moved into publishing his novels an indie author in eBook format. This book was co-written with his wife Mary Mason. Reading this work, originally published in 1988, reminds me of the pulpy science-fiction of old. Fantastic worlds, interesting species, and technology that's futuristic but easily understandable.

It's been a long time since I've read this type of science-fiction, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to read about such an amazing character as Jade Darcy.

She turns down what she considers a suicide assignment: traveling to an enslaved world to assassinate one of its military leaders. But then she learns there's another human being on Cablans -- a human being with the potential to expose Jade's mysterious past, with possibly fatal results.

All of a sudden, a suicide mission looks positively appetizing...

Setting: The planet Cablans is a planet on the outskirts of the galaxy. It's a place where interstellar commerce is it's main source of income, and due to where it's at, a source of the scourge of the universe. Most science-fiction that I read as a setting or foreign planet that feels very much like earth with just more technology. This place doesn't. It truly feels like a different place, with different cultures, with different species. Everything co-exists on this planet, no matter how fantastical. From humans to insect type aliens, to aliens that look like mythological creatures. Stephen Goldin paints a good picture with well thought out descriptions, without bogging the story down by being overly wordy.

Characters: The central character in this book is Jade Darcy. She is a CARC (computer augmented reflex commando) who has jumped away from that life for some reason. She is essentially an outcast among humans and hasn't see another in around 7 years. There are a lot of other characters that are introduced, but the focus is entirely on Jade. Her character really grows from the beginning of this book to the end, and her shifts come from the most unlikely sources. From beginning to end this journey is Jade's journey.

The other characters, except for the other human, Megan Cafferty, all have exotic makeups, and have their own way of dealing with the other species around them. One race has you trying to out maneuver being humble, and another has you slinging insults. Just don't tell any Yo Mama jokes...that might start a war. They are all well thought out, and aren't just names on the paper. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that each species has their own little quirks and their own little things that can help us identify on a personal level with each of these species. Everyone has a role to play, and they play them well.

The only character that I didn't quite get, was this manipulative four-dimensional being called The Greest. It's not determined if it's a he, or she, or it. Or what it's role really is, or if playing people is something that it just likes to do. I'm hoping more of it will be explained in the sequal.

Plot: There are several stories that each kind of have their own beginning, middle and end. They are all inter-woven masterfully, and flow from one into another in the most natural of ways. It starts out with a nightmare that Jade always has involving rape. I'm not sure, but I think that might be a reason why she's on the outskirts of the universe, and went awol in the military. It's not really explained (or I just missed it). With the end of that she's working for Rix essentially as a bouncer at his establishment that caters to every sort of being you could find.

She finds out that there is another human on Cablans, specifically looking for her. Not knowing if it's someone after her due to leaving the military, she goes out of her way to hide, even so far as to take what is thought of as a suicide mission with Fastal to assassinate a Commancor General that killed his family. It was his "affair of honor" to avenge the death of his family.

The paths of Jade Darcy and Megan Cafferty intertwine shortly after the return. And she realizes that Megan is only there to hire her for a job, brokering a deal for fallen dead leaves. But Megan does find a secret that Jade has been keeping from the world, and Jade has to make a decision on if she is going to kill Megan or not.

It was the meeting of Megan that really started Jade's character on an interesting internal struggle, and you see that the book becomes about Jade's retribution and about making peace with herself against all odds. The world doesn't become about her and only her, and she goes on her own sort of "affair of honor."

Only a master at his craft could take the intricacies of each species he's created, and weave them so seamlessly into a story about redemption and honor and friendship.

This book is real science-fiction. This isn't some story calling itself science-fiction because it uses a laser gun, and has a ship that flies in space. This is a complex tale set in a complex universe, of real human (or alien) emotion. It was truly an honor to read such a tale, and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for great science-fiction.
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on December 24, 2012
This is a great book! The character is very interesting and unique. It has an almost mystic feel about parts of it.
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on September 27, 2012
Jade Darcy is a deadly, complex and fascinating heroine on the order of Jason Bourne, but in outer space! She is also on the run from a dark past. Jade's refuge is an alien-run eatery on the distant planet of Cablans, where she is the only human. She works as a bouncer in the eatery, and the combined imagination of coauthors Stephen Goldin and Mary Mason runs riot with weird aliens of many shapes. Her boss is a tree-like alien while the chief chef has six arms. Goldin and Mason excel in creating three-dimensional, complex aliens with their own cultures, motivations and ideologies. Jade, aided by cyborg-like implants courtesy of Earth's military, does her bouncer duty and those encounters are fascinating. But to build up her assets, she also does mercenary work. And what a mercenary she is! She answers the call of a humanoid alien to help him recover his Honor by visiting the colony world where the nasty Commancor aliens have taken over her client's land, killed his family and disgraced his culture. Jade helps her client, but then goes back to hiding out on Cablans. While a powerful mercenary, Jade is fearful of everyone due to a past that caused her to flee from Earth's commando force. Then she is found by an Earth woman who owns the largest human corporation in existence. Their kabuki-like encounter teaches Jade several lessons about selfishness, honor, contract law, fear and what it means to be an honorable person in an alien-run universe. This is a non-stop, heart-pounding, super enjoyable story that will take the reader on a trip to a reality far different from routine Earth spy battles. Highly recommended.
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on July 14, 2012
It has been awhile since I have read a book I enjoyed as much as Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor. It is complex and intricately developed. The action is driven by the characters in the story and by Jade Darcy in particular.

The slate of foreign characters is amazing. The story is set on a planet on the edges of developed society. It is comprised of many different species, some of whom are humanoid and others who are insectoid and still others who inhabit more or less dimensions than our simple three dimensions. The characters are rich, interesting, and the different problems that can occur when such varied life forms, with all their intricacies, interact causes situations that range from the comic to the life threatening.

Jade Darcy herself is an enigma. Early in the story we are led to believe Jade Darcy might not be her real name, but other than a clue to part of it at the end of the book we aren't let in on that particular secret. What we do know is that Jade has had a specialized operation to computer augment her reflexes. She is a carc, a computer-augmented reflex commando, and her existence outside of the military world makes her a rarity. She hides the fact she is a carc for reasons that aren't clear. It is implied that she may be wanted. She takes what is certain to be a suicide mission rather than face another human being - the first to come to the planet of Cablans where Jade lives in the seven years she has been there. It is apparent she has run from human contact before.

The story and the action in it are wonderful. The science fiction in it feels realistic; it isn't simply another Earth-like setting with futuristic sounding problems, but a setting on an outpost planet favorable to life that teems with diversity that becomes a driving force for part of the story. The matter of honor the story addresses exists on several different levels and becomes the driving force for the evolution of the main character. And the Greest, why he/she or it will just have you wondering how many dimensions it is possible for a being to exist in and what creatures from all those different dimensions might be like. I know I personally will be puzzling over the Greest and hiss/hers/its manipulativeness for some time.

If you are a fan of science fiction, or even just futuristic literature that doesn't simply result in some apocalyptic version of our demise, then you should read this story. I think you will find it believable on all the levels that count and thoroughly enjoyable. I know I did.
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on May 27, 2012
This is one of those science fiction classics, published back in the days when science fiction wasn't popular and their authors really had to work at being GOOD. It's one of those books that I think is almost older than I am, and that I scrounge for copies in used book stores like a maniac because I'm terrified one of my two other copies will disentegrate under my fingers one of these days. This book (and it's original cover is far more exciting than this one - how bland) is one of those gems that my book-loving father had collected in his personal library in the seventies and eighties, and I am really excited to see it in Kindle edition. :D

The summary says much of what is important about this book. Sadly, many new readers to this book are going to think it's an overdone topic that they've seen a gazillion times and are going to pass. I've ended up with two books of a generally similar primise in my digital book shelf just this last week. DON'T PASS. It will be a little odd to some respects because the science fiction of this book is dated (as are some of the prices - Jade's monthly rent is 200 energy units). None the less, the story is entertaining.

A warning note for those who may be sensative - the book opens up on a nightmare sequence where the main character is remembering a rape. It's clinical in the wording, but also depicts some of the violence and terror of the situation. If you think that might bother you, you need to skip to the paragraph ending with "and... and... and.... " and start with paragraph 17. The important thing to know is that this is another military officer, the implication later being it was someone higher ranking than she.

Jade is a carc - Computer-Augmented-Reflex Commando - on the run. She's traveled so far into the galaxy fleeing her own government that she now lives on a world where humans can be counted on one hand. One digit, actually. Her.

For the past five years, she's used her military grade enhancements on the job as a bouncer and occasional mercenary. She's comfortable with the passing association of the various aliens who visit the bar she works at, with Val her talking home security computer, and an annoying frizzlic she eventually names PITA (pain in the a--). And the news of another human showing up on this out-of-the-way world is enough to set off all her paranoia buttons.

Megan Cafferty is in her late fifties, enjoys participating in amatuer opera, and juuuust so happens to be the major stockholder and executive officer of Cafferty Technology.

Just that knowledge, with a little prodding from the Greest, a four dimensional being that has a monopoly on space travel, is enough to get Jade to agree taking on a suicide mission on an alien planet fighting the warrior Commancers. Jade has her own axe to grind against the alien race- their attack on a human colony propmted her entry into the military in the first place. But Jade is /very/ good at what she does, and those five years on the alien planet have not been spent idling her time away. Besides, it was just about time for a good fight, and killing thing sounds good when she's stressed out.

There's more to the story, of course, and this book is not quite as good as the follow up "Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates" but that's partially because this is in some ways an introduction book. In the second book the interaction between Jade and Megan balances out a lot of the character's gruffier moments.

All in all, it is a fun read. Not great, but interesting and fun. :D
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