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In the Stormy Red Sky Hardcover – May 5, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
Book 7 of 11 in the Lt. Leary Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Drake’s Republic of Cinnabar Navy (RCN) novels have frequently been described as Captain Horatio Hornblower adventures in space. Yet Drake himself credits their inspiration to Patrick O’Brian’s much-heralded Aubrey/Maturin sea tales, with Captain Daniel Leary standing in for Commodore Jack Aubrey, and Leary’s confidante and spy Adele Mundy filling the role of Aubrey’s sidekick, Stephen Maturin. In this eighth installment of the series, Leary and Mundy team up again for another go-round of space-opera-style exploits in a story Drake models after the Roman Empire’s Crisis of the Third Century. During a lull of peace between the Republic of Cinnabar and their longtime nemesis, the Alliance, Leary and Mundy are sent on a routine escort mission to the backwater planet of Zenobia. Yet the peace is soon to be disrupted by the neighboring Palmyrenes plotting a Zenobia invasion. As with most RCN novels, the highlights here are political intrigue, Adele’s wily spycraft, and the pyrotechnics-filled space battles between Leary’s sail-equipped starship and his latest foes. Drake fans won’t be disappointed. --Carl Hays --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Drake was attending Duke University Law School when he was drafted. He served the next two years in the Army, spending 1970 as an enlisted interrogator with the 11th armored Cavalry in Viet Nam and Cambodia. Upon return he completed his law degree at Duke and was for eight years Assistant Town Attorney for Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He has been a full-time freelance writer since 1981. Besides the bestselling Hammer’s Slammers series, his books for Baen include Ranks of Bronze, All the Way to the Gallows, Redliners, and many more. His “Lord of the Isles” fantasy novels for Tor are genre best sellers. In the Stormy Red Sky is the seventh in the popular RCN series. The previous titles are: With the Lightnings; Lt. Leary, Commanding; The Far Side of the Stars; The Way to Glory; Some Golden Harbor and When the Tide Rises.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416591591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416591597
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm sure many readers of this review will notice that the title is a gender-changed version of the opening line of Gordon R. Dickson's famous novel "The Tactics of Mistake." There's a reason for it.

If you've read Arthur Jordin's review here on Amazon, you've gotten the basic story summary. This is another book in what is listed as the "Lt. Leary Series" over at the publisher's website([...] The series is space opera, with lots of combat, a cause well worth fighting for, and enemies worth beating.

In the other books, Lieutenant (later Captain) Daniel Leary is the main character, and his friend, Adele Mundy is his "signals officer." She is also, not by coincidence, the best intelligence officer (spy) in the galaxy, and has contributed to more than one victory either by providing critical information or by messing up enemy communications. Or both.

This book, however, is not Daniel's book, but Adele's. She has led a difficult life, and had a lot of her humanity torn from her by the political murders of her parents and baby sister, and the harsh years that followed that tragedy. This is the story of Adele reclaiming parts of her lost humanity. Adele being Adele, and the situation being a shooting war, the price of those parts is high, both in tears and shed blood.

I can't give any details without spoiling the surprises in this marvelous story, but I will say the ending is as "beautiful and terrible as an army with banners" and well worth reading the book to get to it.

I enjoyed this book enormously, and found it well worth the time invested. Thank you, David.

Ave nautae senatusque Cinnabarum!
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Drake's Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy series since its beginning with 1) With the Lightnings, and continuing with 2) Lt Leary Commanding, 3) The Far Side of the Stars, 4) The Way to Glory, 5) Some Golden Harbor, and 6) When the Tide Rises.

With seven books now out in the series, I continue to look forward to the next one. Anyone not familiar with the series should definitely start with With the Lightnings, but In the Stormy Red Sky is a worthy step in the the Leary and Mundy story. Their story is comparable to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin, but I prefer Drake's characters.

Drake uses historical cultures in a futuristic setting, and he uses historical events as the inspiration for the the events in these books. As he says in the author's note, three incidents contributed to the plot of this book:
1) The death of Dionysius II, whose grandson Hieronymos succeeded to the throne of Syracuse.
2) The successful revolt of a group of young aristocrats in Tarentum, aided by Hannibal.
3) The successful assault by Scipio (later Scipio Africanus) on the fortress city of Cartagena.

Knowing this history may, or may not, aid your enjoyment of the book. A general problem with many of Drake's books is that these historical cultures (which seems to correspond to an 18th century British navy ship as closely as anything) don't fit well in a high-tech society. I consider the level of education necessary for a high-tech society to thrive to be incompatible with the kind of "primitive" culture Drake describes. Although the culture / technology clash is occasionally jarring, I like the the relationship between Leary and Mundy, and am happy to suspend my disbelief to read about them.
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Format: Hardcover
In the Stormy Red Sky (2009) is the seventh SF novel in the Leary, RCN, series, following When the Tide Rises. In the previous volume, Daniel saved the RCN Squadron at Diamondia and was written up in the dispatches. Adele picked up comm traffic between the Alliance ships and provided a deception plan. Rene Cazelet -- Adele's protege -- eavesdropped on the Alliance ships from an escape capsule.

In this novel, Daniel Leary is promoted to Captain in the RCN. He is the youngest Captain on the rolls. And he is being given command of a heavy cruiser, the RCS Milton.

Adele Mundy is the signal officer aboard the Milton, just as she had been on the Princess Cecile. She is also Lady Mundy of Chatsworth, a member of the gentry. Mostly she is a friend of Daniel Leary.

Senator Forbes has been named as plenipotentiary to the Veil and Adjacent Regions. She had been Minister of Finance. but resigned from that post to run for Speaker of the Senate. After losing the vote, she had accepted her present position to keep from being demoted to a back bench. Now she is hoping to gain some status within the hinterlands.

Lieutenant Commander Dan Robinson is second-in-command of the Milton. He is a protege of Senator Forbes. Naturally Leary would rather have Elspeth Vesey as his First Lieutenant, but Forbes had recommended Robinson.

In this story, Adele is told that she will not receive the RCN star as recommended through channels. Huxford informs her that it would not be appropriate for one of Madame Sand's agents to be publicly decorated. Adele lets him leave without killing him, but he does so hastily.
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