No, this isn't a blog entry about my Swedish campaign game in Empire Total War. Rather "Victory Conditions" is the name of the 5th and final book in Elizabeth Moon's "Vatta's War" series. This is a science fiction series that I started unexpectedly last year. You see, I was on a business trip and had run out of reading material. Now that's not a bad thing in my brain because it means I get to go to the bookstore and buy something that looks good to me right then and there. Since I have such a back load of unread books in my house, I sometimes feel like I "have" to read such and such because I've had it for so long. Many times I'll open a book that I have long anticipated only to feel like this is "old" stuff. So, there I was at the book store in...San Diego I think, and I had the chance to buy something "fresh". I spent a lot of time browsing trying to narrow down my choices. I really wanted to try a new author. I finally settled on the first book of this series, "Trading in Danger". It appealed to me because I really wasn't looking for hard science fiction but I figured a nice space opera would be fine. And it wasn't a straight military science fiction story either, more about traders and merchants.
So I read that book and loved it, forcing me to buy the rest of the series. Although I do like to mix up my reading with different genres all the time, I still like to read an entire series during the course of the year. It makes my cataloging easier when I write my "Year in Review." But to my chagrin, the final book of the series wasn't yet published! I had to wait until this year, at least for the paperback version and so there has been a bit of a gap from my reading of the first four to this one.
But you know what? That gap didn't matter. These books are so well written that I easily slipped back into the story line. Ms Moon writes with an easy, familiar style, that makes complicated situations much easier to comprehend. And the plot of this series is a wonderful progression of adventure. The characters interact delightfully and drive the action of the novels. I really enjoyed the way the protagonist, Ky Vatta, was thrust into very difficult circumstances and was able to bring a different way of thinking to the situation and resolve it. I also liked the behind the scenes action. In other words, take a different space opera universe like Star Trek. You get lots of info on the main plot, action, etc. but in Ms Moon's books we get to see how "normal" people deal with everyday situations. It ain't easy trying to get basic supplies from a trade depot when you don't have security identification.
This last volume of the series wrapped it all up in fine style. My only complaint is that the ending seemed a little rushed, as if the author was trying to wrap up too many loose ends. There was, however, a definite resolution to the main conflicts and an overall satisfying ending. I definitely plan to check out Elizabeth Moon's other books.