Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)

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A moment later she was at the door of the waiting station cart. She settled inside, then turned back to the cameras to give them the required princess smile. Just another day of doing that royal thing. The sergeant slammed the door shut with unnecessary violence, leaving her alone with her guards as the electric cart motored off quietly. Now, with the cameras gone, Kris would find out just what her chances were of living until morning.

Kris blinked away exhaustion as she took inventory of her three-by-four-meter brig cell. It was cold, gray on gray, concrete floor and walls, unpadded slab for a bed, toilet without the courtesy of a seat. It stank of old vomit, but nobody was here but her. She allowed herself a sleepless stretch. Her blue shipsuit identified her as a Navy Lieutenant; it properly displayed the name Longknife over her right breast. With a buzz, the cell door opened. Kris reminded herself that whatever that camera recorded would show up in the media to the worst reflection on her, her father the Prime Minister, and, more importantly, Grampa Ray, the king.

There was more than one way to get even, Kris reminded herself. He made up for that mistake by grabbing her elbow and trying to rush her along. Kris was too tired, ached too much, and had too many other problems for that to end up well. Today, it had worked. It coughed her up in the booking room. A new desk sergeant was looking at his monitors and camera feeds; he studiously ignored her.

There would be payback for this night. Jack was no surprise. Special Agent Montoya, the head of her security detail, should have been able to arrange her release by a quick flash of his badge. No badge was in evidence. Rising to his feet beside Jack was Great-grampa Trouble. In name and fact. Former chair of several different planetary general staffs, he was now semiretired.

Today he wore slacks and a three-button shirt. And if someone mistook his ramrod back and burr cut for just any retired officer, they deserved what they got. Kris had several million questions, but a glance at Jack and Grampa showed that they had no intention of saying a word under the watchful eyes of the security cameras around the rooms. We got very explicit orders from the Chief of Staff on how to handle your case.

Admiral Pennypacker, the new Chief of Staff. She glanced at Grampa Trouble. Montoya and I do not have all day. Not agent! There will be a pre-trial hearing a week from tomorrow. You will be notified of its exact time and location when we send you the charges against you. Five more minutes of this agony, before Jack stepped aside to open the door for Kris … and she found herself facing the last person in the world she wanted to see.

Surgeons had repaired that perfect nose from the last time an interviewee had broken it. Two men, both sporting several tiny cameras about their hunky frames, backed Dora up. She just wanted to get home and find a quiet corner where she could dig a hole and crawl into it for an hour or two. But if the woman stayed between Kris and that quiet hole, Kris might reassess her priorities. Grampa Trouble imposed himself between Dora and Kris. None of the cars in the lot were any of the limos or armored town cars normally assigned to Nuu House.

Kris took the opening provided and quickly walked for the car. But Dora was coming up on the outside. Kris took a breath, glanced at Jack, who was rolling his eyes heavenward, and risked a question. Some were actually still alive. A few were still serving honorably. She says you pocketed large sums of money from the emergency funds provided to feed the starving farmers and townspeople there. That allowed Jack to catch up, muscle one cameraman aside and away from the car.

Grampa opened the door for Kris. She positioned herself to finish the interview and vanish into the car. Taking a breath, Kris organized thoughts that were at once both exhausted and spinning. I saw to it that people got food to eat… and they did. Dora would not call it quits. She stayed holed up in her office for days on end and never went out to see what was actually happening. She did love her policy. Me, I donated money out of my own pocket to get people off their backs, out of the mud, on their feet, and back to work. Check my tax returns.

He waved at the car. It was the only one we could get on short notice that had the armor and security we needed. Your dad and brother took the new ones. Kris, I have a full news download from the net. Would you like me to brief you? Kris gritted her teeth and waited. Nelly was good for news, but Jack knew what interested Kris. A third nano finally went down in flames, trailing wispy smoke toward the carpeted floor. Father had a solid understanding with the farm wing of his party to support the cutbacks.

She knew how these things went. Politics Kris reviewed what she knew. Quite a sight. It will be the classic text for how not to lose a vote of confidence in the future. Jack ignored her quip and went on.

With all the wars and rumor of wars, this is not a good time to have the government of Wardhaven treading water. Time to change that topic. She has printouts to prove it. Are we still sending them money each month? There are now more local donations coming in than money going out. I asked the board of directors to consider either closing it or coming up with proposals for investing the money in low-interest loans to help folks start up small businesses or homestead on abandoned farmland.

They like that idea and will get back to you with a business proposal that may involve rechartering the fund as a credit union. Maybe some with the ministers, priests, and rabbis we worked with, too. If I do, I look lousy. Give me a break. Some breakfast, a nap, a shower, not necessarily in that order. He had as few people as possible report to Pearson. Hancock, SHMC. There are other folks who were on Olympia with me.

He was with me at the warehouse. He saw what was going on. Or something equally nautical. News trucks and cameras besieged the entrance to the compound. Only the locking gate and eight-foot-tall brick wall… and the not-so-visible security systems above it kept the media outside. Poor Tommy, having to make it through that rabble. She wanted to know how the rest of the squadron was taking her arrest. The doors to Nuu House opened automatically at her approach, leaving her facing the last person in the world she wanted to bother with at this moment.

William Longknife, Billy to his millions of intimates, stormed toward Kris, a hurricane in full blow, his face redder than Kris remembered it this early in the morning. Had he already been at the wine cabinet? Trailing Father across the spiraling black and white tiles of the foyer was his political shadow, Honovi. If she could, she would have fled farther.

He leaned into her, nose to nose, violating her personal space. Things are bad and headed for worse. Kris denied the urge to take a step back. Five years ago she would have. A year ago she might have. Not today. What was a merely angry politician compared to that? Not now. She weighed her options and chose a non-confrontational one.

I got sprung before breakfast. And, Father, you must look into the temperatures of your prisons. I almost froze last night.

Defiant (Kris Longknife)

Kris, what are you doing to my reelection campaign? We stay out of politics. Well, almost. The word wedding kept coming up. Or Mother insisting Penny must have eight bridesmaids. Kris had little argument with her father. Oh yes, that lie again. However, she failed to see that she had any role in this massive political theater of his. Then Mother played what she thought was her trump.

Father had immediately converted her bedroom to office space for two new deputy under assistants for something or other. We kind of had to leave the residency in a hurry last night. The Pandoris insisted on moving in this morning. I am a grown woman and a commissioned Naval officer. I can afford my own apartment. Mother raised her nose in the air. Kris had gotten an education when she recently rescued Tom from kidnappers on Turantic.

But busting him loose had involved a walk down the seamier underside of Turantic, leaving Kris with questions about whether Wardhaven had some places just as ugly … just as empty of hope. Home, she did a search. It was easy; she just looked for the places where Father never sent her to campaign. Yes, Wardhaven had its slums, and a diligent search by Nelly through ownership records, and records of who owned those who owned the ones who owned the ones who… Anyway, several layers of deniability up from the poor sods who collected the rent, Kris found Grampa Al and her own trust fund getting wealthy on way too many of them.

She fired off a letter, with plenty of attachments, to Grampa Al, asking him to look into this. And got no reply. What better time than now to do something about it. Or rather, your father owns them, through the necessary intermediaries to avoid embarrassing questions. Outside, Kris took two quick steps and found that her knees were again filing for nonsupport. Now she sat there recovering from them. No difference. You get my meaning?

A glance in showed Kris a powder blue sweater and brown slacks … and a body stocking. I lead a nice quiet life of desperation, one that no one would want to end violently. Abby got wide-eyed as she took in the wreck. Get in. By the way, Miss Nightengale, my latest request to redo the background check on you just came back from Earth. Kris was used to her princess status going less than far where these two were concerned.

Well, it had helped a bit on Turantic. Perfect support for what she said about herself. Kris wondered how much heavy weaponry it hid today. Too perfect for even the guys doing the background search. I got the impression that you intrigue them. You want to be their hobby? She will not be happy if you help me get out from under her thumb, knee, and elbow.

She fingered a cut place in the leather. Nope, not cut. Painted on. She eyed the dashboard; under all that dust was solid-looking electronics. Now that is one smart computer. Jack, where did you get this car? Which left Kris out of the loop and a bit annoyed that her pet computer was going straight from finding out what they were riding in to asking Jack all kinds of questions.

Questions Kris would much rather be asking herself. But he keeps a few ringers for special folks. Stakeouts, other stuff. Still, he ought to give her some support. You smile, make friends with the folks down the hall, on the floor below, then you got folks to help you out, young woman.

Jack, what are you trying to do? Maybe even if he does. Kris, you will make sure that I am not stolen or damaged. Nelly said nothing back. The first place was a fourth-floor walk-up in need of cleaning, painting, plumbing repairs, and the services of several kinds of exterminators.

The second place was worse. Jack parked in front of the third; it looked no better from the outside. He turned to Kris; she could read in his eyes, You ready to call it quits yet? She glanced at Abby. How long you gonna keep up this harebrained stunt? Kris raised a quizzical eyebrow at him.

Jack glanced at his wrist. Being yanked around on some fancy electronic chain, having to drop everything and go see the king. You do it every day? Kris had grown up in the shadow of that distant, legendary man. Only recently had she come to know the man of flesh and blood behind the legend. Talked him into trying to lasso together Wardhaven and a growing number of planets into an alliance when it seemed like the six hundred planets of human space were intent only on flying apart. Child, you have to get past this family thing and start seeing the world the way us poor folks do.

Remember, Jack, you gave up being an honest working man. Never can tell, it might cover room and board. You can never tell when you work around Longknifes, can you? Jack seemed still undecided. Behind her, the elevator opened to disgorge Penny and Tom. Tom frowned. Nelly told them to go right, go left, through that door. The suite had taken on more than the usual hotel furnishings.

One room was shelves from floor to ceiling covered with replicas of the ships, armored suits, and ground vehicles of the Iteeche Wars, backed up with paintings of battle scenes. There were also pictures of staffs, both those who survived their battles and those who died to a man and woman trying to stem the tide. Or to remind himself. The final room Nelly directed them into was a workroom, with some bookshelves for real bound books, but mostly screens for net news reports or private news outlets.

A large wooden desk was piled high with flimsies and readers. In front of it several couches and chairs formed a conversation circle around a table that might or might not be simply wood. Grampa Ray wore slacks and a short-sleeved shirt. He looked all of his hundred and twenty years, maybe more, as he eyed a reporter on one screen. The man was replaced by scenes from the Naval yard at the station orbiting above their head.

The fleet was in port, but supply trucks were moving. A lot of ships were going someplace. Grampa scowled, silenced the screen, and turned toward them. By the time he faced Kris, he was smiling and seemed fifty years younger. Penny and Tom got comfortable on a couch. Abby took the couch across from them. Jack chose to stand behind Kris, facing two of the three doors. No, Kris spotted a reflection of the third door in a blank screen. Jack had managed to get an eyeball on all three. There were few things Kris would not happily give her Grampa. They were good. And I used them. Used them up.

Kris felt embarrassed to be let into such an intimate moment. She wanted to look away. Tom and Penny were. Abby was. She was a Longknife. Did she want to? The king shivered, glanced around as if just noticing the others, and gave them a wan smile. Any decent world would make such a duty the highest priority for old farts like me. And I hear that Boynton has a fleet of undetermined origins headed their way with no declared intent.

What do you think, hon? And a way to help the people on ninety planets keep afloat amid the wreckage of the Society of Humanity. She was learning that lots of things happened while she was making her plans. Hikila has developed quite an economy in the last fifty years. It needs to come into United Sentients.

The coronation of their new queen would be a good time to make that call. I hear some insurance companies are going to court over who pays for repairs to the space station and elevator. Now you have to file legal briefs and testify under oath for a week. Forbid it? He laughed at what he took for a joke. Kris started to shake her head, but Grampa smiled sardonically.

What will they have left to defend Wardhaven? Grampa sighed. And they did have that 53 percent majority vote in Parliament. It seemed like a good idea at the time. One of those Santiagos. It had been in all the papers. Only recently had Kris learned just how it happened that Grampa lived through delivering a suicide bomb. It might be interesting to hear how the story was told among the family of the man who actually walked the bomb in. Jack and Abby were dispatched to Nuu House to pack. Penny and Tom headed out to do the same.

Kris settled in as they left. So some of his second-, third-level VPs take shortcuts. Folks do that. You find them out, fire them, and put in new people. Hope my boy takes this for a learning experience. Nice not to give orders anymore. Just advice. He could name the planets and the dead as if it was only yesterday.

But it was the present that bothered Kris. This group here. That group there. Always look for the groups behind the actions. And notice how much of it is just posturing and threatening. Greenfeld tells them they really want to join their new alliance… and runs a squadron of battleships across their orbit to overawe them. And Peterwald gets a planet with no messy rubble. A bit of encouragement. I know them. On the surface they may look primitive. Take a second look. Ask the second question.

They were packed and waiting downstairs. Kris joined him and Abby. Penny and Tom went through, no problem. Kris ran her ID card through to prove who she was and pay her fare … and got beeped. Kris ran it through again; same result. You did a lot of good stuff on Olympia. Pretty mean of them to do this to you. Where you headed? Be back in two weeks. Maybe less. You know. One swipe, two walks. As you said, King Ray wants you somewhere.

Why should Wardhaven Transit stand in your way? Joey whistled as his metal detectors did their detecting thing. Abby followed, leading eight steamer trunks. Kris counted as they rolled by. They made it as a ferry was locking down. The Halsey was also just about to seal locks as they reported to the Junior Officer of the Deck. He frowned at the baggage and called for a quartermaster detail to secure it. Abby pulled a smaller subset of luggage from one trunk for her and Kris, and they all followed the JG forward to the wardroom.

She pulled out a reader. Jack did a security check, satisfied himself a Navy destroyer was safe, and produced a reader of his own. Penny and Tom found a quiet corner where they proceeded to put their heads together and not violate Navy regs on excessive displays of public affection. That left Kris prowling the wardroom. Just as clean with the usual public readers and the usual subscriptions. She and Nelly ended up playing acey-deucey.

After collecting a cup of coffee, she joined the table where Kris and Jack sat with Abby. You two men will be in a cabin across the passageway from them. Any problems with that? A trip. Nothing more. Enough good sailors have died for your legends. This Santiago and my Halsey will not contribute any more bodies to the list. To follow my orders when I leave you high and dry if you mess up. Just so long as you understand, if, no, when you do, you will be on your own.

For three generations every Santiago that applied to the academy had a letter of recommendation in their file from Ray Longknife. She knew Grampa Ray did that, part of what bound the Longknifes and Santiagos together. You Longknifes have battened off our blood long enough.

It stops with my generation. She takes her turn on her own. Kris had a good view of the planet from where she sat behind the two pilots. All she saw was water, water, and more water. It was good to be away from the Halsey. Kris had joined several officers and the Marine detachment in their daily jog around the decks and up the ladders. The next day, Santiago joined the exercise routine.

To please the skipper, Kris kept old-time reminiscence to a minimum and just did the workout. Meals in the wardroom were also fully chaperoned by Commander Santiago. Kris let Santiago set the topics for discussion and followed, as most everything proved out of bounds. From the way the officers started conversations and accepted being cut off, Kris suspected the table topics had never been so nonhistorical, nontactical, and non-current events.

Kris was looking forward to a meal where most of her life was not a forbidden topic. The gig descended along a long line of islands spread out from a larger one. As Kris got lower, she could see the islands were wrapped in verdant greens, usually topped by volcanoes. Some still seemed active. Most islands were encircled by reefs and a dazzling blue ocean. No wonder this planet had been the choice of the descendants of Pacific Islanders from old Earth for the place to rebuild their lost life. The gig splashed down in a large lagoon and was quickly greeted by flower-draped rowers in outrigger canoes … and a power tug for their tow.

Can you open the hatch safely? Kris managed the transfer from bobbing gig to bobbing canoe with success, if not grace. Her whites were draped with leis by a lovely young woman wrapped in a sea green sarong. Soft yellow and pink flower tattoos wrapped around her arms and shoulders to disappear beneath her own leis. My friends call me Aholo. Kris to my friends. He, too, got flowers for his effort.

Penny and Tom got the same treatment. Kris expected ever-prim Abby to pass, but the woman hiked up her gray A-line dress to show well-shaped legs to her approving boatmen and stepped aboard the third canoe. She also got flowers, though from the fellows. Half-meter waves helped them along, aided by the wind at their back. Kris wondered how her white shoes and pants would take to the water and sand, but she was not about to be carried ashore. They walked ashore with the sand giving a bit, but not much. Paradise with high tech. This one was open to the breeze, had seats all around, and a colorful fish-print awning to provide shade.

The rest of the team took others, except Abby. The road was sand, but again it had been treated. Pedestrians left shallow tracks as did the cart. Beside them, palms swayed in the wind. A wild profusion of flowers and birds added a mad collection of colors. The cart took them uphill. They passed houses made of wood and woven mats, thatched roofs, men in lavalavas, women in sarongs or lavalavas. Dress was … casual. Aholo smiled. Aholo pulled to a stop beside a large, multileveled house with most of its sides open to the breeze.

She led them inside, past carved masks and figures, painted shields and potted flowers. Long-beaked, riotously colored birds flew by. Aholo led them through a door into a room that was closed off with blinds and mats on its walls. Candles—no, electric lights made to look like candles—dimly lit the room. A woman lay on a feather bed made from a brightly colored cotton tick. Eyes, dark and deep as pools, took her measure. Then she blinked and nodded. That may save you much sorrow, girl. The woman nodded. Far too soon. I think she would have saved him from being president.

He should have faded away after the war, become small again. Bad boy. The People sail as they will. Kris took it; it was dry, light. The fingers were swollen with arthritis, each joint tattooed with a different design. Sunbursts exploded at wrists and elbows, covering other designs of fish and birds. Tattoos on top of tattoos. Afa, make yourself useful and hustle down to the long house. Tell them they need another princess crown for tonight. The queen gave Kris a wink and a smile. His stethoscope and manner said doctor.

Not witch doctor but modern M. You rest. The queen was asleep before the door closed. She is old, and she is dying. Anywhere else, maybe she would ask for yet another rejuvenation. Here, she says no more. She has had enough. Aholo stopped, turned to them. She chose not to risk the pain only to find it a total failure. Now she will join them. An hour later, thanks to Princess Aholo and several of her girlfriends, Kris knew enough steps to avoid the worst diplomatic disasters and maybe the personal ones as well.

With luck, Kris would stay back in the chorus line, providing the la-la-la backup. Aholo dropped Kris off at a suite of rooms about the time Abby arrived with seven steamer trunks rolling behind her. Kris counted them and raised an eyebrow. Which seemed reasonable, so Kris helped Abby unpack. Jack drew a bag from one, Penny and Tom took similarly sized ones as well and went to set themselves up in their rooms.

Grass skirt? She opened it to find Aholo holding a flat box. They will crown us together at the long house tonight. I will see you there in two hours. Kris elbowed the door closed and opened the box. It held two large flowers and two long leis. No problem. One lei hangs around your neck.

The other off your hips. It bounced on the bed. Maybe not, baby ducks. A sedate anchor might pass muster. But tattoos like Aholo had curling around her arms, chest, and back … there was no way the Navy would stand for those. Abby tossed Kris her armored body stocking and pulled a bottle of spray paint and some rolled-up somethings from a trunk. So my employer needed different tattoos every night of the week.

I got quite a collection of possible body art put together before it went out of style and she got killed. Kris sighed as she stripped out of her whites and shimmied into the armored body stocking. Between curling hairpieces and leis, Kris felt almost fully dressed above her navel. She had no trouble hiding Nelly and her automatic. Kris squelched that question. Kris wondered how the other girls kept them secure and put that question off for Aholo. Kris about went cross-eyed trying to take them both in at once. Her long raven hair cascaded down her back in one straight fall. Her flowers danced to a stop as she waited at the door.

Kris swallowed hard. And looked at Jack. His tattoos were the more traditional black and skin. More skin at wrists and ankles growing darker as they approached the navel. A strategically placed gourd did for him what a similarly placed lei did for Kris. Kris had no idea where he was hiding his automatic. Penny and Tom joined them. As promised, Penny was in dress whites, and so was Tom. Kris reminded herself that they were the ones out of uniform here.

It almost worked. I like the flowers. It was made of whole logs elaborately carved in baffling figures and patterns. As Kris followed Aholo forward to where a fire pit burned low, sending sweet-smelling smoke upward through a hole in the palm-fronds roof, Jack was politely, but firmly, edged over to the side of the door with several other young men.

The people around the walls of the long house, singing to a softly beaten drum, were equally men and women but uniformly old. Two old women in short grass skirts stepped forward. Kris had been coached in the questions. Though they came in an almost dead language, she knew how to answer. Kris skipped along, blinking at what she thought she saw up in the rafters of the house.

And mine. They watch over the affairs of the People. There were several fires casting light, and the smells of dinner cooking. The sun was setting behind them, painting the tropical sky crimson, silver, and gold. Before them lay the rumbling lagoon and the growing dark of the ocean. The drums began to pound a rapid beat. The steps were fast, not all that different from ones Kris has learned for a middle school sock hop, leaving her to wonder who had stolen from whom.

The arm and hand motions were much more complicated, and Kris let Aholo take a few extra steps toward the ink-jet sea and then did her best to stay only a quarter heartbeat behind her. It must have worked. No one interrupted the dance to name her imposter… and a huge full moon began to inch its way out of the ocean, setting the waves to shimmering with its light.

She danced as if the fish and navigators this month would depend upon her for the light to find their way home. They sang in high-pitched voices something that might have been a thank-you for the moon coming out. But then, they were often unsure of the words and the key, but never unsure of their enthusiasm. Aholo winced, and Kris made a mental note to look into some family trees, but not in a fashion that hurt her hostess. The children finished their dance and galloped to be first in line for food. The women in one line, the men facing them in another, and Kris saw what twenty years of practice could do.

It also clarified any questions Kris had about the dress code. Several of the women and men had tattoos over all of their bodies … well, almost all… and nothing to interrupt the view. One particularly wild dancer had crossed clubs on his chest dripping blood. What other traditions had they dredged up? Tries to scare the other team something horrible with a before-game show.

Couple of the fans are threatening to redo his tats with hearts and flowers. As the dance went on, Aholo circulated. Kris found herself being asked many of the same questions she encountered on other planets. Kris tried to reformat her usual answers into something comfortable for the locals. But the electric cart, the hardened sand? There was technology underpinning this paradise. At the edge of the beach, in a small clump, stood several dozen men and women dressed formally for a cocktail party.

Kris very suddenly felt very naked. With an effort, she suppressed the urge to cross her arms over her breasts and cup a hand at her crotch. Aholo kept her hands at her sides; Kris did, too. These folks were the foreigners; Kris wore a crown given her by the locals. I think the Islanders call it the Big Island. Our local woman thought I ought to see how the other ten percent lives, the ones that soak up all the taxes, so I flew out here for the party.

Four in five pay taxes to support your fantasy island existence. Aholo turned away. I once thought he might make a nice boyfriend. I asked him one too many questions the last time I saved his life. Bad form on my part. I will try to remember not to ask them any questions if I do. Taxation had not come up. What had they missed? Aholo headed for one of the roasted pigs and dinner.

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The People came to Hikila almost two hundred years ago, trying to rebuild a way of life that had vanished almost that many years ago on Earth when the Pacific Islands sank. Losing those colonies had cost them and created more bad blood between the Longknifes and Peterwalds. Kris wondered how many of the refugees on the Big Island still thought of themselves as Peterwald men.

They each drew a wooden platter and pronged fork from stacks. A round, black-toothed cook in roast pig tattoos sliced them off a big slab of pork. Aholo led Kris to a quiet palm tree that the wind had blown almost level to the sand before it recovered and grew up. Jack and Afa followed. Came here. Redheads, too. If you want a vote, just stop being a foreigner.

Most just settled on the Big Island and raised their kids in their own ways and watched their grandkids and great grandkids grow up the way they wanted them to. Our Marine Fisheries Conservation Plan lets them do what they want within their one hundred and fifty-kilometer coastal zone but not in my deep ocean. I guess it was about forty years ago that the Big Islanders noticed they were paying most of our off-planet contributions to the Society.

Defiant (Kris Longknife Series #3) by Mike Shepherd, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

I guess some of the banks on the Big Island may have bought into some. And they do send petitioners to stand before our own Council of Elders and state their case on global issues. Grandmama listens to all sides and then hands down a boon that usually makes everyone happy. They ate in silence for a while. The moon was well up. The dancing continued. Different drummers. Different cadences. Different steps. Great-grandmama, too.

I think if Mama had lived, Grandmama and she would have worked this out years ago. The old woman was right. We do need two Dancers to Dance up the Moon. Her second husband was from the Big Island, and she moved there and let her skin go pale. Not you. I calculate the odds are 95 percent that the video camera there is showing a loop of the last hour.

The security service has not taken note of it yet. Nelly, make me black again. Kris smeared her face black. Now, is there a way down? Mike Shepherd uses that third-person narration to present us with the enemy sans-Kris, making him more realistic and the conflict more suspenseful. Around 5 hours to the end of the book, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach you get when you are a few hours away from giving a big speech.

About 4 hours to the end of the book, I could not stop listening.


I stay up until 2 a. Her reading after they land on Hikila slows down and becomes over-emphasized which makes it sound insincere. He quotes all the lyrics, and gives it a fake history. Kris and her crew screaming along to it. This is book three in the Longknife series. In this episode Kris faces the imminent threat to her planet. Kris is accused of stealing fund that were to go to farmers, while on leave awaiting a hearing her great grandfather King Al sends her to see an old friend of his dying on a different plant.

She returns to Wardhaven as an invasion is pending. She skirts the law and organizes a flotilla to defend Wardhaven against a force of hostile warships. In this book we see Kris develop her command skills as she takes command of a large force of her own. The humorous prose adds delight to a fast pace, action packed suspenseful story. Dina Pearlman narrated the story.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent?

Why or why not? This is one of my favorite books, which I've read several times, but Dina Pearlman reads it like she's a struggling sixth grade reader. She adds pauses in the wrong places, sometimes changing the meaning of a sentence. And she obviously hasn't heard the song that is quoted significantly throughout the last third of the book.

It gets to the point that it's almost painful to listen to.

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What was one of the most memorable moments of Defiant? I love reading the book, especially the last third, which is the battle. How did the narrator detract from the book? Again, Dina Pearlman reads this like she's struggling to read, putting in pauses where none belong, sometimes changing the apparent meaning of a sentence, and the "March of Cambreath" is badly read. It's obvious she's never heard it. Also, sometimes her voice for Sandy Santiago is too close to her voice for Kris, and it's hard to tell who's saying what at times.

Was Defiant worth the listening time? Any additional comments? Please get someone else to re-record this book. I'll be returning it until then. Continues to be fast paced with unique problem solutions and exhibiting the dedication that can be found in the human race when the pressure is on. Listening to the Kris Longknife saga to me is a real treat. During the last sale on 1st in series, I needed to find something new to follow.

I chose 5 different series titles, but the Longknife saga is proving I made the right selection to follow. Sure, the narration could be a little better, but it's not all that bad. The character are developing very well and it's easy to get lost within any of these stories. Defiant brought both good and bad. We say goodbye to some well liked characters, but the plot thickens with the a rival clan. This is a great listen and I strongly suggest this to anyone. Keep them coming Mike. Half space travelogue half average space battle.

Hrumph, mediocre narration at best. Stereotypical cardboard villains.

Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)
Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3) Defiant (Kris Longknife, Book 3)

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