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A Matter of Oaths Paperback – November 23, 2017
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About the Author
Helen S. Wright is a British author, born in Birmingham in 1958. She attended King Edward VI High School for Girls and then studied physics at Imperial College, London before going on to work over a thirty-year period in a wide variety of Information Technology roles in the electricity generation and supply industry. Her first novel, A Matter of Oaths, originally published in 1988, has been revived by Bloomsbury Caravel for a whole new generation of readers. She never married, and currently lives on the Gloucester/Wiltshire border.
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Human worlds are organised in two empires - the "Old Empire" and the "New Empire" - and each of the two emperors is immortal. The two emperors have each signed an oath to respect the interests of the guild of Webbers which is seen as central to keeping the peace between the worlds.
In place of a single commanding officer, ships are run by a trirumvirate or "Three." At the start of the book, the patrol ship Bhattya needs a new first officer. Commanda Rallya and her two colleages who make up Bhattya's "Three" decide to offer the post to Rafe, a brilliant webber who looks twenty five, and believes himself to be thirty, but has had his memory erased on defecting from the New Empire to the old one.
As the Bhattya gets caught up in events which appear to threaten the stability of the galaxy it becomes very clear that there is something very unusual about Rafe. He is every bit as talented as Rallaya and her colleages had hoped, but his background seems to be very mysterious - and hint at an age rather greater than the 25 which his physical condition suggests or the 30 which he admits to. And whatever his past is, both of the two emperors are taking a close personal interest in him. Who or what is Rafe - and why is he so important ?
I really liked this book and am surprised that it didn't become a bestseller. Good for a try if you want to read a science fiction book which is a bit different from the usual run.