The Sea Without a Shore (RCN Series #10) by David Drake
Lt. Daniel Leary and his RCN Sissies and accompanying satellite characters--a group that worm their way into your affections and stay there!
I just think Adele Mundy is a thoroughly interesting person, introvert and socially inept, or maybe ignorant, though she is. Given her history how can we expect anything else. She has become stronger as the series has progressed and in this book she is more central than Daniel Leary.
Her continuing reflections about her life and place in her ongoing world open her up to us even more than before. I really enjoy her interaction with and views about Miranda, Daniels fiancé.
Adele's thoughts in particular about her inevitable death, something she seems to almost welcome as a penance for those deaths she's caused that haunt her are revealing. As are the various facets of her friendship with Daniel, a friendship that has become her lifeline, her touchstone back to her humanity.
Her views about Tovera her bodyguard cum servant are intriguing, delivered as they often are in a one dimensional reflective tone. Yet Adele or 'the mistress' as the spacers call her is anything but one dimensional. She is extremely focused and highly motivated especially with anything that touches on Daniel or the work that her other employer Mistress Bernis Sand, head of Cinnibar Intelligence Service, hands her.
It was fascinating to me when Adele, stepping outside her comfort zone does something that humans normally do, that is, wave a friend [Daniel] over, simultaneously telling Tovera that she, Tovera is a good role model.
'By now Tovera was better at pretending to be a normal human than her mistress was.
But then, Adele had never seen the point of the exercise.'
One takes a step back and has to think a bit more about who Adele is and just what is normal. The training, the humanizing of Tovera has given Adele another purpose it seems.
Tovera, sociopath, shadowy figure that she is, is also revealed a little more in this book. I loved it when, in a very rare conversation with Tovera, after nary a flicker of an eyebrow! Daniel says that he would give her a home if anything happened to Adele.
I also enjoy the interplay between Hogg and Tovera, both having similar roles, both capable of total focus and destruction. Hogg, piratical poacher that he is, is without doubt the man to have at your back in a crisis. Tovera's capability for focused destruction strikes the same cord.
Of course Daniel and Adele are up against unknown odds in this adventure. This time Adele has specific orders and interests on two fronts. Daniel is not on official Cinnibar RCN business but as per usual that seems to slide into an area of possibility.
Sand's son Rikard Cleveland has been kidnapped and Daniel and Adele are tasked to find him. Adele is also undertaking a task for Daniel's sister, Deirdre Leary. A task that touches on Daniel's well being.
Adele once more demonstrates that she is a whizz with all things regarding gathering and analyzing data. Their relationship is now to the point where she and Daniel either think as one or Daniel stands back and allows her to make the decisions. Trust and respect between the two moves into a new dimension. The inclusive socializing of Adele continues!
We know Adele communicates more readily via an interface than in person and in many ways she is similar to Torvea in this stunted part of her growth. But like the spacers who serve with her, we accept her and champion her.
It was rather touching when Cory made sure that in the destruction of the Gulkander Palace by missiles he endeavoured to do it so that a cache of antique books Adele had found would still be available to her. Such is the regard the 'Sissies' have for Adele. She is part of their family.
We also see the healing of other characters begin to happen. A nice touch! Daniel Leary has great wisdom in his Bantry educated, Hogg assisted that it was, heart.
A NetGalley ARC