Top critical review
Still A Side-Show With More Than A Bit Of Deus-Ex
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2020
Alanson puts the spotlight on his second group of heroes in this
book. When Earth's expeditionary force was stranded on the planet
called (by humans) "Paradise" they know they have to make themselves
useful to the Ruhar who live on the planet. Not that they are bad
sorts, all in all, but since the humans were landed on the planet
by the Kristang to evict the Ruhar and were fighting on the Kristang
side, the Hamsters don't feel they owe them a lot of favors.
Emily Perkins has decided the thing to do is to found an "Alien
Legion" that will let the Ruhar fight battles on the cheap by making
use of the human military structure, and the fighting prowess of
the Verd-kris, a group of Kristang rebels who are completely estranged
from their race's current society, and living on Ruhar worlds, but
nonetheless not really trusted by the Ruhar. Her overt goal is to
make the human population on Paradise viable and her covert goal is to
get into a position where she can find out what has happened to Earth,
with which the Expeditionary Force has had no contact for years.
To further both goals, she arranges for the Alien Legion to get involved
in the Kristang civil war by siding with the despised assassin class to
capture a world of their own and become a "real" Kristang clan. Of course
the original plan quickly goes to pot, and Perkins will have her hands full
just surviving much less bringing any of her goals nearer to fruition..
To some extent, the "Mavericks" books remind me of the "Able Hunter"
subplot in Christopher Anvil's "Pandora's Planet" stories, letting
the humans show what they can do as allies against the backdrop of
a larger conflict. In this case I find it a bit less satisfying
since Perkins's actions remain essentially a sideshow while Alanson's
main characters are off doing the big stuff. And there is a
particular bit of deus-ex-machina in the ending of this volume that
is just very hard to justify, as it involves an incredible stroke
of luck that we have no reason to believe was arranged by anyone
(ie: Skippy had nothing to do with it).