Hunting Party – Elizabeth Moon

Cover of "Hunting Party"

This is the cover of Hunting Party, in the edition I own.

Hunting Party is the first of Elizabeth Moon’s space-military novels, and it is a very good one.   This book’s only flaw is that it does not dig into complex issues or ethical conflicts – this is a fun book and executes its mission of fun pretty flawlessly.  It’s worth locating a copy, which may take effort since it was published in 1993.

The book establishes all sorts of the themes which are explored successfully in later novels.  You could compare it to Jordan’s first Wheel of time, Eye of the World, insofar as this stands alone yet subtly introduces dozens of themes and characters that are later developed in multiple novels.

What’s good:

  • The space crews are and navigation are believable and complex – jump points are tricky and waste sludge produces poisonous gas
  • Medical science is advanced and people can ‘rejuv’ so they don’t look any older
  • There’s a wonderfully menacing bad guy with the mysterious Admiral Lepescu, who was the real cause for Heris needing to leave the military.
  • The point of view shifts naturally between protagonists, providing insights to both sides of the action without clumsy exposition.

The climax hunt scenes are viscerally described with the smells and sounds of dirt, stone, and blood.

Who

The main character is Heris Serrano, an ex Regular Space Service ship commander who had to resign in some sort of disgrace.  Heris is an excellent leader and deals coolly with obnoxious rich kids as well as incompetent lazy crew.

Heris’ new employer is Lady Cecelia de Marektos, an older eccentric woman with a her own space yacht.  Lady Cecelia rarely cares what others think of her but is open to learning new things.

Bubbles Thornbuckle is introduced as the spoiled rich girl, yet develops her desire for independence even within this book.

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  1. #1 by redperil on March 23, 2011 - 11:16 am

    Elizabeth Moon’s books are very enjoyable. If you liked those, you might also like the sci-fi works of L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (not to be confused with his fantasy works, as the sci-fi ones are much better).

    • #2 by bibliophage91 on March 23, 2011 - 11:24 am

      Interesting. I own almost a dozen of the fantasy (Recluce) books, though I haven’t bought a new one for years, but I think I’ve read three or fewer of his sci-fi. Could you recommend a particular favourite of yours?

      • #3 by redperil on July 22, 2011 - 3:02 am

        I would recommend these books by L.E. Modesitt:
        – Octagonal Raven (2001) (highly recommended, loved it)
        – Archform: Beauty (2000)
        – Flash (2004)

        The Forever Hero series of books were very enjoyable too
        – Dawn for a Distant Earth (1987)
        – The Silent Warrior (1987)
        – In Endless Twilight (1988)

        In a quite different vein, his stories about a society with common ghosts were a thought-provoking read (hard to get, but well worth it)
        – Of Tangible Ghosts (1994)
        – The Ghost of the Revelator (1998)
        – Ghost of the White Nights (2001)

        Regarding his fantasy novels, I really didn’t like his Spellsong Cycle series and couldn’t get in to his Saga of Recluce series, but … I absolutely loved the Corean Chronicles and the Imager Portfolio series.

        Literary likes and dislikes can be a case of different horses for different courses, but I would certainly recommend Octagonal Raven as a starter.
        If you have the time to read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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