Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
The Scoundrel Worlds
Chris Bunch
Roc, 352 pages

The Scoundrel Worlds
Chris Bunch
Chris Bunch is the co-author (with Allan Cole) of the Sten series and the Anteros trilogy from Del Rey. On his own, he is the author of the Shadow Warrior, another SF series from Del Rey. Both Ranger and airborne-qualified, Chris Bunch was part of the first troop commitment into Vietnam, a patrol commander and later a combat correspondent for Stars & Stripes. Later, he edited outlaw motorcycle magazines and wrote for such magazines as Look magazine and Rolling Stone. He even wrote for prime-time television.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Risk, LTD.
SF Site Review: Corsair
SF Site Review: The Last Legion
SF Site Review: The Demon King
SF Site Review: The Seer King

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Star Risk, LTD. has been hired to do two very hard missions. The first involves the most popular and dangerous game in the solar system -- skyball. The referees have been threatened and it's up to the team to make sure things stay fair and the referees stay alive. The next is a slightly more complicated mission. Maen Sufyerd, head of the Strategic Intelligence Division has been tried and convicted for selling particularly sensitive secrets to his world's greatest enemy. Jen Reynold, former premier and friend of Sufyerd, is certain he's innocent, and needs Star Risk to find out who really sold these secrets and why, before Sufyerd is executed. All in a day's work, right? But the world's different factions all have their own idea about what should be done, forcing Star Risk not to just do some pretty tricky detective work, but to deflect these factions long enough to stay alive.

The genius of the Star Risk series is that it is unrepentant action and fun. The diverse characters that make up the team have tightened up considerably, making for a strong sense of camaraderie that works well with the humor. For instance, when the giant hairy alien Grok sells Star Risk "down the river" and goes back to tell his partners about it, he gets chided gently for neglecting to get the money up front. This sort of border line criminal behavior is not only acceptable for the characters dealing in these worlds

(The term scoundrel applies to both Star Risk and the places they find themselves nearly equally) but is done with a light-heartedness that makes you feel like you're part of the team. What's even better, you're part of a team that's always ready, always has a contingency plan.

The plot of The Scoundrel Worlds is quite fast paced. The beginning story about skyball (which they describe on the back of the book as if it's the only story, but really is just a short tale that serves to remind us about the team) is well done, and sets the table for the next story nicely. One of the main themes in these books is how easy it is to buy someone off, and how it is truly a rare creature that is not self-serving enough to take a few credits to look the other way, and how much people will squirm when they're caught doing it. The other theme is the madness of crowds, whether it's the over anxious fans who are quite willing to hurl grenades at the refs for making a play that seems to favor the wrong side, or a group of vigilantes who style themselves as patriots. These two aspects give the team a lot of things to handle, as they try and juggle the politics of the situation with the violence that always seems ready to erupt. They handle it all well, slickly maneuvering in the one world, rough and ready in the next.

Vicarious and roguish fun, The Scoundrel Worlds makes for great vacation reading.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide