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Review: Mike Moscoe, They Also Serve

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About the only way I find new fiction these days, apart from recommendations and loaners by friends, is the combination of Book Country and what I'll call Random's Rule: good cover art correlates highly with decent books. Mike Moscoe's "They Also Serve is the third in a series which I discovered by precisely the above combination. The books are a series of moderately-near-future adventure scifi. This might sound like a rather dull subgenre, but it's certainly not in Moscoe's hands.

Moscoe combines in They Also Serve and its predecessors convincing military plots, a solid core of characters, and a terrific realism in technologies. The page-turner plots I've called military, but they're really more like action films, mostly about solving problems, dealing with people and events, and fixing things. In They Also Serve, unfortunately, five chapters pass before the plot twist arrives, but a god twist certainly adds momentum, and the book is off at a dash again. Because this is the third in the series, I unfortunately can't share too much plot outline, seeing as it'd spoiler the previous two very good books.

In spite of occasionally falling back on cliche, coincidence, or a touch of deus ex machina, The First Casualty and The Price of Peace are well-crafted books, suitable for devouring all 350 pages at a time if possible. Best to read them in correct order(above, They Also Serve is third), though, since their sequence isn't clearly labeled on my paperback copies. In-passing recaps are nice, but slightly spoilered the first book for me. Although I found my copies by the honorable services of Book Country, these aren't books I'd hesitate to pay good money for if I lost my current copies. I definitely recommend this trilogy to pretty much any sci-fi reader, readers of Clancy-style thrillers, or folks who'd like to dabble in sci-fi without being subjected to Hyperdimensional Confrabulators and aliens with exceesively punctuated names.

Mike Moscoe, They Also Serve. Ace Books, 2001.

ISBN 0-441-00795-3

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