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Reviews by Contributor: Scott, Melissa (15)

Pennies from Heaven

Fair’s Point  (Astreiant, book 4)

By Melissa Scott  

18 Apr, 2020

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Melissa Scott’s 2014 Fair’s Point is the fourth volume in her on-going Astreiant series. 

When aristocrat Dandin de Calior went bankrupt, the debacle extended to his creditors. Protagonist Philip Eslingen lost a goodly sum and ended up with … a dog (his share of de Calior’s assets). 

Rather than sell the basket-terrier, Eslingen decides to enter it in the dog races. He hires a well-regarded dog trainer, Besetje Quentier, and hopes to recoup his losses. 


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Detective De Tu Amor

Point of Knives

By Melissa Scott  

4 Jul, 2019

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Melissa Scott’s Point of Knives is set at a time between that of Point of Hopes and that of Point of Dreams, the first and second instalments of the Astreiant series. Since my site does not do fractions or decimals, numbering Point of Knives is a bit tricky. So I will not even try. 

Adjunct Point Nicolas Rathe is called from his bed to attend to a murder. Rathe soon discovers that there were two murders: both Grandad Steen and his son Old Steen were mortally injured, although by someone inept enough that dying Old Steen tried to run to safety. 

The motive for some murders is obscure. In Grandad Steen’s case, the motive seems clear: treasure. 


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Whisperer in Darkness

Finders  (Firstborn, Lastborn, book 1)

By Melissa Scott  

22 Dec, 2018

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2018’s Finders is the first volume in Melissa Scott’s Firstborn, Lastborn series. 

The Ancestors disappeared millennia ago, leaving behind some garbled myths and the scattered relics of their nigh-godlike technology. Cassilde Sam and her partner Dai Winter make their meagre living tracking down and salvaging Ancestor relics. It’s a hard life, but not one that Cassilde will have to endure much longer. Third-stage Lightman’s will soon end her life. There is no treatment for Lightman’s.

Cassilde is desperate to secure financial security for Dai before she dies. An opportunity presents itself, but it comes at a high price: accepting scholar Summerlad Ashe as a partner once more. 

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Here in My Garden of Shadows

Point of Hopes  (Astreiant, book 1)

By Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett  

17 Jun, 2017

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1995’s Point of Hopes  is the first novel in Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett’s Astreiant series.

The great and powerful of Chenedolle are distracted by matters of state: the childless queen has yet to settle on a designated heir. The people of the great city of Astreiant have a far more down-to-Earth concern.

Someone is stealing their children.

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Shadow War

Oath Bound  (Order of the Air, book 5)

By Melissa Scott & Jo Graham  

10 Aug, 2016

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2016’s OathBound isthe fifth installment in Melissa Scott and Jo Graham’s ongoingseries, Orderof the Air .

Historybooks may later claim World War Two did not properly begin until1939, but the opening shots are already being exchanged in 1935.Germany is busy re-arming. Italy has revealed the essentialmeaninglessness of League of Nation ideas as its invasion of Ethiopiacontinues, unopposed by any save the Ethiopians and a handful ofvolunteers.

Somevolunteers join the struggle of their own choice. Others, like JerryBallard and his friends, are recruited.

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No attorneys/To plead my case 

Trouble and Her Friends

By Melissa Scott  

9 Apr, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Melissa Scott’s 1994 Lambda-winning cyberpunk novel, Trouble and Her Friends, lives in the intersection of Black-Mask-style mystery and science fiction. It also has echoes of the end of America’s fabled Old West, perhaps in ways that were not intended twenty-two years ago.

Convinced that the age of cracking has been ended by the badly thought-out Evans-Tinsdale Bill, Trouble abandons her old online life and her hacker lover, and vanishes into the world of respectability. There she plans to spend the rest of her life living below the law’s radar. Cerise joins the forces of sanctioned anti-cracker security, a Henry Newton Brown of the future.

For three years, those plans work.

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The final Silence

The Empress of Earth  (The Roads of Heaven, book 3)

By Melissa Scott  

28 Apr, 2015

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Continuing yesterday’s theme of third books in trilogies that are also the final books in trilogies, today’s review is of the third and final volume in Melissa Scott’s Roads of Heaven trilogy, 2012’s The Empress of Earth.

Empress of Earth is a revision of 1987’s The Empress of Earth. Despite owning both editions, I didn’t reread the first version, so I cannot say how significant the differences are. 

When we last saw our heroine, star-pilot-turned-magus Silence Leigh, she had played a vital role in toppling the old Hegemon of the Hegemony. As a result, she was owed a great boon by the new Hegemon, Adeban. As usual, there was a problem. Because the Hegemony is egregiously sexist, Adeban couldn’t publicly acknowledge his debt without risking being toppled from power by outraged Hegemonic aristocrats. Still, there’s every reason to expect Adeban to act as an indulgent patron for Leigh, her husbands Denis Balthazar and Julian Chase Mago, her mentor Magus Isambard, and their effort to reach long lost Earth.

Adeban is indeed willing, but, as is so often true with patronage from heads of state, there’s a catch.


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Side-quest!

Silence in Solitude  (The Roads of Heaven, book 2)

By Melissa Scott  

21 Apr, 2015

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1986’s Silence in Solitude is the second volume in the Roads of Heaven trilogy (and Scott’s fourth novel overall, if the ISFDB is to be trusted [1]).

The story begins six months after Silence arrives on Solitudo Hermae to begin her training as a magus. She is working under the supervision of Magus Isambard, an old ally.

As a female pilot in a fanatically patriarchal society, Silence was already unusual; her new career as a female magus makes her virtually sui generis [2].

This is not such a good thing, as the Hegemon has put a price on Silence’s head. Hard to be an inconspicuous fugitive when you are notably unique. 

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