Peacemaker Van Tudor is settling into his new job and new situation just fine. He’s earning a name for himself by cracking some very interesting cases that have, good and bad, brought him to the attention of numerous bad guys. But, that comes with the territory. His team of Torina, Perry (an advanced AI in the form of a bird) and Netty (the Farfnir’s AI) are doing very well together. And with the recent addition of Icky, an exceptionally talented engineer, they all make quite a team.
They are still trying to figure out who is behind all the disgusting acts of placing sentient beings in computer chips thereby making them slaves to whatever programming the chip may have. Some of these chips have been employed in the most hideous places other have been just used to control mind-numbing repetitive tasks that could go on forever. But, since the last book in which they found and later killed one of the ring-leaders, they have run out of leads. Then they receive a Peacemaker call for all Peacemakers to report to Anvil Dark “for an emergency hostage retrieval”.
It seems that one of the Peacemaker Masters has gone missing. Yet, this strange occurrence isn’t turning out as you would expect. There isn’t a mass panic about Master Yewlo’s disappearance and it turns out that the Peacemaker Guild wants to really keep this on the quiet. The reason for that is they can find no evidence of foul play nor can they find how Master Yewlo even left the Guild HQ without a trace. If someone could kidnap a Peacemaker Master right from HQ without anyone knowing how, that wouldn’t help the Peacemaker’s image of competent law enforcers one bit.
So, Van and his team initially start working on this problem by visiting Yewlo’s home only to find it a seal warren that can’t be accessed by anyone no matter the reason. In fact, the warren hasn’t been heard from in years and there’s no indication that anyone is even alive inside the below ground habitat. And it seems that the habitat was sealed right after Yewlo’s last visit some eight years ago! So there is some strange things with this case. Then another Peacemaker Master goes missing! What is going on with the Guild?
But another problem pops up that’s directly affecting Torina. As you’re aware, Van had helped Torian and her family to restore their planet after it was illegally stolen from her parents and then stripped mined. They tore up the planet something terrible and Torina was devastated at how badly her home planet had looked. That is until they found the Synergists. These were a collection of beings that Van called space hippies and they were experts in restoring planets. So they were hired and had done a wonderful job restoring the planet back to it’s original condition. But now, Torina has just been informed something else was happening to her home planet so Van said they would go and find out what was going on. This leads to all sorts of problems, but one that will lead the Peacemakers to attack a mercenary stronghold, something that was never, ever done.
I do like this story, but it seems to get kind of boring in places. Van Tudor is not a typical human, that’s for sure. Here’s he surrounded by very intelligent, advanced AI’s yet he’s the one coming up with most of the solutions to their problems. That’s probably not the way things would work out. Additionally, Van is gone a long time from Earth, yet when he returns, there’s no one concerned with his lengthy absences. Yes, he only has an Aunt that checks on the farm periodically, but you’d think she should be wondering where he went all the time. Additionally, while Van Tudor is making big Bonds in space, he’s not making any money on Earth, so who’s paying his bills and with what? I’ll keep reading this series, but you can figure most everything bad works out in Van Tudor’s favor. He’s going to be a Peacemaker Master pretty soon, I would guess.