A Matter of Honor A Terran Empire novel by Ann Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Matter of Honor (A Terran Empire Novel) By Ann Wilson
This novel was a pleasant surprise and it seemed to only be available in a creative commons license format. I really enjoyed it both for entertainment value and some of the thought provoking themes.
The Irschchan are a bipedal catlike race that have developed Telepathy and Telekinesis as a form of combat and defensive discipline.
They were already in possession of rudimentary space travel technology when the Terran's came and began changing their entire sociopolitical structure.
The story begins with a group known as the White Order who are plotting to overthrow the Terrans. There's as strong belief that the Terrans are unsuited to running the Empire since they have no higher mental functions such as the Irschchan do.
But by this time the Terrans influence is so entrenched that the younger generations of Irschchan have long since been tutored under the rule of the empire, and that is how Corina was raised.
Through training Corina's mental abilities have almost equaled to her mentor and because of this she accidentally discovers her White Order High Adept, Thark, is plotting an overthrow of the Terran Empire. When she senses this she has to make a quick decision to follow the White Order or betray them to the Empire. Once she decides her loyalties are to the empire she is marked for death as the only honorable way for her to be dealt with according to Irchchan cultural beliefs.
The novel was written back in the late 1990's is almost a blend of Star Wars and Star Trek and maybe even some Babylon 5. They have a mix of technologies and the technology seems to take a back seat because the story itself is more about the people and and a matter of honor. It also seems to be a tragedy.
At the beginning it's difficult to see that Corina is the main character because we start with a lot of Thark's point of view and then we go onto the Terran Ranger James Medart's point of view. But this is Corina's story and how her decisions change not only her life but the the life of all the Irchchan.
An interesting aspect of this story is that Ann Wilson does some very interesting framing to bring in back-story and some of the world building. She even uses a framing device to show the effect of Corina and James having their minds patterned during her attempt to teach James better control of his mental abilities.(It turns out Terrans have abilities that have remained latent. )This is important because it's one of the reasons Corina finally decides to become a Ranger and that very act sets up the main plot to the story and to the true tragedy of the rebellion.
Ann Wilson writes this in a crisp and clear multi-close-third point of view that she manages to use well enough to keep the reader interest in the story. And though she crafts a potential for romance, she manages to dance around and eventually ignore the whole thing which might be annoying to anyone expecting sparks to start flying. Similarly she creates potential character conflicts that don't get developed beyond a sort of tease phase. Still the overall strength of the story is still there without those elements developed and there is plenty of real tension and conflict to keep the reader entertained.
The final resolution might be a disappointment to lovers of overt action and conflict, but I think that's because it's written more as a tragedy.
Great stuff for fans of SFF with lots of familiar elements and really interesting characters.
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