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In Hunting Party we meet Commander Heris Serrano, a
captain who has resigned from the Navy - the Regular
Space Service -
under a cloud and now takes command of a luxurious
space yacht to
chauffeur a rich old aristocratic lady around the
galaxy. Serrano is
the scion of an old navy family, from a long line of
Admirals, born and bred for command. Being forced from
the Navy by a
treacherous admiral is not just the end of her career,
it's the end
of everything that gave her life meaning.
Now we follow her as she discovers that all is not
Milady's space yacht, Sweet Delight. There are
crew problems and suspicious activities which lead to
the death of a
crewmember and necessitate a diversion to a space yard
for a refit.
The strength of her character is revealed as she deals
and learns to ride horses and hunt foxes as part of a
friendship with her employer, the Lady Cecelia.
Finally she learns that members of her old Navy crew
are in peril,
and the opportunity comes to take revenge on the
admiral who betrayed
her, but it means walking into a trap where the
hunters will become
This is fairly standard space opera stuff, but it's
well written, fast
paced and a lot of fun - A rollicking space adventure.
noting that Elizabeth Moon was a lieutenant in the US
her military characters are tough and realistic and
her battle scenes
shine. This is a book with strong female characters,
space ships, and
horses. No Space Opera fan of either gender should
Hunting Party is the first volume of a series called
Legacy. The other titles in the series are Sporting
Winning Colors and Once a Hero-- Recommended.
In my own mind I class the Serrano Legacy with a
modern sub-genre of
Space Opera which I tag - however inaccurately - as
"Space ships and
Signet Rings". The characteristics I look for in this
niche are FTL star travel combined with a power
features the preeminence of titled families, written
in a way which
emphasizes romance and adventure over "Hard SF"
speculation or "Soft
SF" social commentary.
You can find other examples of the kind of SF I'm
talking about by
authors such as Lois MacMaster Bujold, David Weber,
and Steve Miller and Sharon Lee. (As a side note, many
authors are published by Baen books
Would these societies, which seem to combine both a
middle class of techies and merchants, and an upper
class of pampered
aristocrats really work as harmoniously as these
writers seem to
Here's a quote that a friend pointed out to me some
time ago. Any
writer of fantasy should find this idea to be of some
"Why do so few writers of epic or heroic fantasy ever
deal with the
fundamental quandary of their novels -- that so many
of them take
place in cultures that are rigid, hierarchical,
stratified, and in
essence oppressive? What is so appealing about
feudalism, that so many
free citizens of an educated commonwealth like ours
love reading about
and picturing life under hereditary lords?
Why should the deposed prince or princess in every
always be chosen to lead the uprising against the Dark
Lord? Why not
elect a new leader by merit, instead of clinging to
the inbred scions
of a failed royal line? Why not ask the pompous,
for something useful, such as flush toilets, movable
electricity for every home in the kingdom? Given half
a chance, the
sons and daughters of peasants would rather not grow
up to be
servants. It seems bizarre for modern folk to pine for
a way of life
our ancestors rightly fought desperately to escape."
- David Brin, Afterword, Glory Season.
Elizabeth Moon herself rightly enough disagrees with
categorization of her complex society as anything as
"It is made clear in Hunting Party that the whole
aristocracy" thing is a fashionable game which the
very rich tried
out for the heck of it...and the contrast between
(none of them are *really* related to the aristocrats
of old Earth;
they picked their titles out of old books) and the
structure was supposed to be a fun bit of satire, akin
to that of
Surtees and Trollope in the 19th c. and Wodehouse in
the 20th, with a
side jab at those Americans who married into European
(trading money for a title) so they could play exactly
the same game.
The government is a non-Constitutional representative
plutocracy (government by the rich, via a council in
"It is contrasted, in the series, with a fascist
tyrannical theocracy, a religious but tolerant
government, and a secular Constitutional republic.
It's startling to
have this political complexity dismissed offhand as
aristocracy" with supposedly feudal structure."
- Elizabeth Moon, Personal Communication 2003
Point taken, Ms Moon.
The themes of Class struggle, social justice and
injustice and the
erosion of undefended privilege and power in times of
themes of this series and they are explored further in
Get this novel if you're looking for a light,
entertaining read, but,
one which will pose interesting questions if you think
critically, so please don't switch your brain off
enjoying the thrill of the chase.
I liked this; what else can I read:
If you enjoyed Hunting Season then you'll like The
Paksenarrion, also by Elizabeth Moon. I also highly
Try Partners in Necessity by Steve Miller and Sharon
their web site:
There is also Lois MacMaster Bujold. I recommend
Barrayar, which is collected with Shards of Honor
Honor. All her writing is good.
Look out for Nimisha's Ship by Anne McCaffery - I
for it find it in a library or a secondhand shop.
This genre grew out of the broader field of Space
Opera. Writers such
as Alan Dean Foster and Stanley Schidt are
As always, this field owes a great debt to the
grandfather of Space
Opera - Robert A Heinlein. Try Double Star which is
one of his
best, or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Citizen of
The work of Ursula Leguin, or C.J. Cherryh should
contrasts to this type of SF.
For a laugh, see if you can find The High Crusade by
or The Warlock in Spite of Himself by Christoper
What is there in Wyvern's Library which is similar to
If you haven't checked it out already then be sure to
look at the
Deljin series by Debra Lynn Turpin.
I'll also include a plug for my own unfinished
Uptopia, which I've recently updated
, although it's more like
L.E. Modesitt than Elizabeth Moon.
I'm always looking out for space opera to recommend to
from the Library. If you know of any, please drop me
an email at
Author: Elizabeth Moon