Excerpt and Essay from Kris Longknife: Defender, by Mike Sheperd
Kris Longknife—Defender is the kind of book that can only be written after a thirteen book saga. It takes that long to get this many problems gnawing at Kris Longknife's ankles, knees and butt.
Kris knew she had bug-eyed monsters (that look too damn much like us) out there. She'd fought them once to save a planet full of birds on the other side of the galaxy, about as far away from human space as you can get. She's bound to have to fight them again. But said birds gave sanctuary to a bedraggled bunch of human survivors ... led by Kris's Great Grandmother Rita, thought dead these long eighty years!
But will one family reunion lead to another? How will Ray Longknife, grampa to Kris, King Raymond I to most, react to the discovery that his long lost wife is found? How will he react to her two marriages, and the some hundred kids, grandkids, great and great-great grand kids? Most Longknife family reunions are barely survivable. Will this one be better or worse?
And Kris owes debts. Ships and crews died so that the USS Wasp could get her back to human space to tell the tale of what they found. Kris has found the wreckage of most, but the USS Hornet is unaccounted for. Dare Kris leave the birds and her Gramma Rita undefended long enough to search out the wreckage of the Hornet . . . or maybe rescue any survivors? Dare she abandon the Hornet and its brave crew to their fate? She's a Longknife; the coin toss could go either way.
Then there's the matter of commanding a ship, or ships way to hell and gone on the other side of the galaxy. How do you maintain good order and discipline when there's no supporting base? No shore side facilities? How do you keep Sailors towing the mark when you can't afford to slap them in the brig and there's no shore establishment you can ship them off to? Talk about your leadership challenges.
But the challenge of commander others is nothing compared to the challenge of commanding her own heart. Kris and Jack Montoya have shared their deepest passions. Now what? And if that's not enough trouble, there's Granny Rita, hinting that she'd just love to have more great-great-grandkids.
After ten books, Kris Longknife has all her chickens coming home to roost. Literally and figuratively! You're really going to love reading this book.
For a foretaste of both Defender, coming from Ace October 27, 2013, and To Do or Die, coming from Ace in February 2014 with the continuing adventures of Ray Longknife and Trouble, Rita and Ruth as they struggle to bring peace to human space sixty years before Kris Longknife was born, you might want to buy the e-novella Kris Longknife's Bloodhound at Amazon.com, B&N.com or Kobo.com.