16

I'm looking for a novel series that I only know from reading a teaser/sample exerpt.

Main character is a woman raised in privilege, who bucked social norms by going to military college. (First woman in her homeworld's history, and they changed the laws after she was gone to make sure she was the last)

Kicked out over some cadet mess-up that would normally have been ignored/forgiven, but she was the poster girl for women entering the military.

Limited contact with her (wealthy) father, she has since come to command a mercenary company on a small starship. (Small enough that everyone uses first names)

Homeworld possibly named New Aberdeen/New Hebrides (something with Scottish cultural overtones)

Political milieu is a bunch of single-system polities and smallish confederations, (humans) each with their own passage and operating rules for mercs. Possibly a larger (Non-human?) empire looming in the background...

Tech:

  • FTL travel
  • Small starship can land unassisted
  • Cyborg enhancements exist, but an un-enhanced human can still compete if they watch their back.
  • Hand-portable weapons are advanced compared to modern military, but understandable. Projectiles, etc. No "Ray Gun of insane vaporization" stuff.

Much of the above is probably developed in the earlier books of the series. The novel that I got a taste of is rather later:

Main character's father calls her home. Instead of the argument that she expects, he asks to hire her company's services. Her brother has disappeared/been kidnapped on an expedition to some back-end-of-nowhere planet (Archaeology?) and Daddy wants someone he can trust to run the search/negotiations.

They take the job, and en-route, work on resupply and recruiting a few extra specialists.

Meanwhile, a sheriff on a wild-west-ish planet engages in a gunfight with persons (at least one of which is a cyborg) attempting to knock off the local shipping terminal. He wins, but decides that he needs to get out of the underfunded-lawman business. He answers an ad on the local net, and sets an appointment with the commander of a merc company that has landed to do some trading... And there the sample ends.


Sample read online in the last year or so, possibly something featured by baen books on their website. More likely through an online resource that my local library provides access to.

No idea on age, except that the structure and phrasing seem modern.

NOT: Kris Longknife

NOT: 'Vatta's War'

NOT: Honor Harrington

  • 1
    Honor Harrington? I've never read any of the books, but it's what popped to mind. – Martha Jul 11 '17 at 4:30
  • 1
    Honor was not born to privilege and did not buck social norms to join the military--Manticore is so gender egalitarian that they simply don't understand the concept of "women's" work. Roughly half of their military is female. – Brythan Jul 11 '17 at 5:06
  • 2
    Honor's also definitely NOT a mercenary. – Moriarty Jul 11 '17 at 5:13
  • Definitely not Honor. I've read most of the series, and this is something different. – SailsMan63 Jul 11 '17 at 11:16
9

I don't usually try to answer a story-identification question if I don't remember reading what might have been the same story, but in this case I decided to make an exception when I saw you mention the possibility that it might be something hosted on the Baen website. I figured it would only take a couple of minutes to check that idea.

So I Googled to search the www.baen.com website for certain words and phrases which might logically occur in a story such as you described . . . and darned if I didn't find something that looks like a pretty good match!

Her Brother's Keeper, by Mike Kupari. (Clicking on the title will take you directly to Chapter 1 on the Baen site.)

I read the first chapter, and glanced through some others. Not quite a perfect match for all the points you thought you remembered, but I believe it is still a very good match; too close for coincidence. I'll list some points:

Homeworld possibly named New Aberdeen/New Hebrides (something with Scottish cultural overtones)

The first words in Chapter 1, after "Chapter 1," are establishing the setting of this opening scene:

Avalon

Arthurian System

Aberdeen Province, Northern Hemisphere

And when the heroine's father first speaks in this scene, his voice is described this way:

“My dear Catherine,” he said, still speaking with the ancient, prespace Scottish accent that Avalon was known for.

You said:

Main character is a woman raised in privilege, who bucked social norms by going to military college. (First woman in her homeworld's history, and they changed the laws after she was gone to make sure she was the last)

In the course of this conversation, it becomes clear that Catherine Blackwood, the viewpoint character, did in fact rebel against Avalon's conventions for gender roles by pursuing a military career, although she was not literally the first, last, and only woman from Avalon to wear a military uniform. For instance:

“I was hardly the first Avalonian woman to serve on a military vessel.”

“Indeed you weren’t, but you were the only female officer in living memory serving not in the Women’s Auxiliary but in the actual armed forces.

On the other hand, regarding your memory that the rules had been changed after she went to the Academy to join the Space Forces:

Before Catherine could complete her midshipman cruise on a Space Forces ship, the Avalonian High Council rescinded a ruling that allowed women to serve on board combat vessels. That ruling had been a desperate wartime expedient dating back over a hundred years, to the Second Interstellar War, but it had never been reversed.

You said:

Limited contact with her (wealthy) father, she has since come to command a mercenary company on a small starship.

Catherine Blackwood commands a ship called the Andromeda. Various references in this scene make it clear that it is not owned by a military force; it is owned and commanded by Catherine Blackwood personally, and it takes on a series of contracts for various services. Delivering passengers and cargo, for instance; but Catherine also states that the ship has "nine confirmed pirate kills." Nobody tells us exactly how fast it can move across a span of light-years, but it clearly has FTL capability (something else you mentioned).

You said:

Main character's father calls her home. Instead of the argument that she expects, he asks to hire her company's services. Her brother has disappeared/been kidnapped on an expedition to some back-end-of-nowhere planet (Archaeology?) and Daddy wants someone he can trust to run the search/negotiations.

As Chapter 1 ends, Catherine's father is finally starting to explain why he sent for her. Cecil (apparently her only living sibling) is being held for ransom on another world (called Zanzibar). In Chapters 6 and 8 (8 is the last one that's available for free on the Baen website), we see Cecil's viewpoint, and yes, it appears that he and a friend are being treated as slave labor (well-fed and so forth, but not allowed to leave) in an archaeological dig. The villain is eager to get his hands on "alien artifacts" which he can then sell for large sums.

You said:

Meanwhile, a sheriff on a wild-west-ish planet engages in a gunfight with persons (at least one of which is a cyborg) attempting to knock off the local shipping terminal. He wins, but decides that he needs to get out of the underfunded-lawman business. He answers an ad on the local net, and sets an appointment with the commander of a merc company that has landed to do some trading... And there the sample ends.

Chapter 2 is set on the world of New Austin in the Lone Star system. It introduces us to a lawman called "Colonial Marshal Marcus Winchester." With some help from local deputy sheriffs, he wins a fight with a gang of outlaws led by a cyborg.

All things considered, I'm about 99.9 percent certain that this is the same material you remembered reading. However, as near as I can tell from Mike Kupari's Bibliography on ISFDB, this novel currently stands alone, instead of being part of a series of published works. (Whether or not sequels are planned for the future is something I wouldn't know.) But it says Kupari has also co-written a series of books with Larry Correia.

  • Thank You! Your Google-fu puts mine to shame. Exactly the story... I need to bookmark this so I don't lose it again. – SailsMan63 Jul 12 '17 at 3:57
  • For anyone looking at this answer, as of 2018 there is now a Sequel, "Sins of Her Father" – SailsMan63 Dec 31 '18 at 5:37
-2

Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon.

From the Wikipedia article:

"Vatta's War is a science fiction series by Texan writer Elizabeth Moon, comprising five books: Trading in Danger (2003), Marque and Reprisal (2004) (Moving Target in UK and Australia), Engaging the Enemy (2006), Command Decision (2007), and Victory Conditions (2008). They have been characterized as military science fiction similar in style to the works of Lois McMaster Bujold (Vorkosigan Saga), David Weber and Walter Jon Williams (Dread Empire's Fall).1 The books follow the adventures of Kylara Vatta, a young member of the Vatta family, which runs the interstellar shipping corporation Vatta Enterprises. She had sought a life outside the family business by enrolling in the Slotter Key Spaceforce Academy, but she is forced to resign in her final year and assigned to captain an old trading ship for the corporation. Her military training is put to good use, however, during the crises she faces, first as a ship captain in dangerous situations, and later as the representative of a family under attack. The first book, Trading in Danger, is narrowly focused on Ky and the local crisis in which she becomes involved. The perspective expands in the later books as connections between piracy and ansible attacks on the one hand and Vatta Enterprises and InterStellar Communications Corporation (ISC) on the other are revealed. In 2017 Cold Welcome was published. It is the first book of the new Vatta's Peace series. It also features Kylara Vatta and is set after the events of Vatta's War."

  • 1
    The question explicitly states that it's not Vatta's War. If you're going to suggest it in spite of that, you really need to go through and explain how it matches every point of the description in the question. – Martha Jul 11 '17 at 5:41
  • I read Vatta's War while looking for the series in question... some similarities, but not the same. In particular, Kylara is working independently, but as a more-or-less semi-official privateer, not a mercenary. – SailsMan63 Jul 11 '17 at 11:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.