The Road of Danger is the ninth entry in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy series by David Drake, and continues the epic space adventures of Captain David Leary.
With peace between The Republic of Cinnabar and The Alliance of Free Stars, and most of humanity split between the two, Leary and his ship, the Princess Cecile, are sent on s secret mission to try and locate a Cinnabar citizen that is trying to reignite war. Joined by his good friend and spy Adele Mundy, Leary find themselves in a wild chase to prevent war.
The Road of Danger is less a military action story with armies facing off across a battlefield and more an intriguing spy drama involving plot twists, double crosses, and secret agendas. Whilst this would prove to be a challenge to characters in many books here David Leary and Adele Mundy prove to be more than capable of handling the challenges.
The two lead characters are the best at what they do, Adele is the cold, pragmatic intelligence officer who prefers to keep people at a distance and spend time with facts and figures rather than feelings, and Leary is the suave navy officer with a love of history, and great instincts. Whilst they are fun characters, and move the story along in good ways, if I’m being honest they at times feel a little too competent at times. Adele comes across as an infallible super-spy in the mould of James Bond. Thankfully, the two leads are a partnership of equals, with both of them getting the opportunity to shine throughout the course of the book.
I don’t want to go into too much plot detail here as I don’t want to spoil the many twists and turns that the reader will experience, but Drake manages to craft an engaging and interesting tale that spans across multiple worlds, varied factions, and includes some well written action sequences.
The book has a strong influence from the Vietnam war, which David Drake served in. The characters visit worlds that are home to rice patties, where the local population are ruled by corrupt and incompetent leaders. Whilst not enough in itself to summon images of the Vietnam War, a military leadership that is a times incompetent and other points outright corrupt it’s not hard to see where Drake may have found some of his influences.
The Road of Danger is a space opera at heart, filled with space battles, melodrama, and over the top set-pieces. It’s a solid and entertaining story that will keep you engaged throughout. A definite recommendation for fans of science fiction, action adventure, or spy intrigue.
The Road of Danger is now available from Titan Books.