Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I have liked most of Rusch's short fiction I have read. This was her first novel I have read and it probably won't be the last.

Humanity has spread on space, but isn't alone. There are many alien races, all with their own idiosyncrasies. The interstellar agreements state that all crimes are handled in the trial system of the planet where the crime was committed. And some judicial systems are often pretty strange and the definition of the crimes are not always something humans would think. So, perhaps he must give up his first child or face ritual slaughter for something which is unintentional and from a human viewpoint minor misdemeanor. Those finding themselves in that position often use the services of one of several “disappearance service” to get a new identity. There will always be risk of getting caught.

The law enforcers in the moon are facing several crisis at the same time. Alien bounty hunters from more than one race have caught up with some disappeared at the same time. They have two kidnapped (legally “kidnapped”, their parents have been condemned for their crimes in an alien court) children at their hands, and at the same time they must investigate a spaceship containing very bloodily killed humans and one escaped possible fugitive. And some extremely irritated aliens.

A very smoothly written and entertaining book which has some well-described characters. The background was already familiar to me from shorter fiction and worked very well in longer form, too. Unfortunately, it seems to kind of hard to get the next part in the series: used copies cost 110 pounds in, and there is no ebook version. There are ebooks of some other parts of the series in the Amazon's US store, but they are not sold outside of USA. I might have to look into some grayer markets... Cluelessness seems to rule in ebook markets.

374 pp.

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