Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Orbit (6 April 2000)
And Esmay Suiza is back, again. This time, she nearly manages the trick of getting booted out of the Command Track training she's been transferred to when she gets into a screaming row with Brun Maeger, daughter of the Speaker. As it is, she ends up being persona non grata with her superiors, and a quite nasty whispering campaign starts behind her back, especially from a rival to Brain Serrano's affections.
Brun, meanwhile, goes off and falls into deep troubles with a particularly nasty offshoot of the whole Waco tendency that has given rise to the New Texas God-fearing Militia, a bunch of particularly misogynistic god-botherers who have ended up in the belief that only they hold the truth, and that the truth is that God provided women for men's usage. Given Brun (aka Bubbles)'s free loving attitude, that's not going to be particularly welcoming.
This works quite well. It would be all too tempting to show the Nutex as being unmitigatedly bad - perhaps this is how Sherri Tepper would have done it - but Moon is careful to show that the there is love within the households, no matter how twisted, and that a villain can love dogs and small children too. Even the chief villains here have light and dark shadings, which in the end brings them off more satisfyingly than the Bloodhorde of the previous book.
A nice addition to the series.