A disappointing addition to Moon’s once-gripping military-family space saga (Rules of Engagement, 1998, etc.). This time, the assassination of Lord Thornbuckle, the Familias Regnant’s head honcho, precipitates a series of disastrous events. First, whodunit, and why? Well, Hobart Conselline didn’t arrange the murder, but he takes full advantage of it by seizing power and introducing repressive measures to cement his totalitarian grip. Elsewhere, political maneuvers (but very little action) preoccupy the Familias’s powerful women. Heroine Esmay Suiza and her beloved Barin Serrano want to marry, but their families demur because of an ancient blood feud. The space navy, weakened by the withdrawal of key personnel due to problems with a rejuvenation drug, finds that Conselline’s toadies now give the orders. A bad situation on a prison planet develops into a full-blown mutiny. Battle looms. End of story. Your move.