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Star Risk, LTD.
Chris Bunch
Roc Books, 344 pages

Art: Steve Stone
Star Risk, LTD.
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: 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

When M'chel Riss left the Alliance Marines for the private security sector, she thought she'd be able to make ends meet. Little did she know she'd have to deal with employers who'd gladly stiff her on the bill and leave her worrying over where her next meal is coming from. Enter into this picture Friedrich von Baldur. He is impressed with her talents and wants her to become a partner in his security firm, Star Risk LTD. She agrees, even though the company is far from solvent. Soon they are joined by Jasmine King, a woman who has left Star Risk's major competitor because they think she's a robot, and Grok, an alien who's willing to put his life savings into the company. Their first assignment is self created... they've realized that the best way to steal a major contract from their competitors is to rescue their chosen employer's brother. The brother, Chas Goodnight, is a jewel thief who's been caught plying his trade on a planet where capital punishment is the preferred method of criminal control. The team need to swoop in and save him... and hope that the brother is grateful for his recovery.

The delight of Star Risk, LTD. is evident; the characters are all rogues, who all (mostly) walk a fine line between following the law and bending the rules for their own benefit. They are only really concerned with doing what it takes to get the job done and the bank account comfortably full. They're honest about it, and that honesty grants a bit of humor to the story. It also makes this characteristic acceptable, because it is hard to champion the cause of people who are, basically, mercenaries, unless they are charming about it, and willing to do the right thing when it pops up. Chris Bunch also uses this to make some pointed comments about corporations, who are much more corrupt than the Star Risk team and not nearly so honest, and about any conglomerate bent of pushing out the little guy. The members of the team are all fairly well-drawn, with interesting personalities that also make their slightly disreputable ways forgivable. As a set of serial characters they work well, which is good to know since this is the first book in the set. The next is called Star Risk LTD.: The Scoundrel Worlds.

Bunch's battles are quite exciting. Often, when I'm reading about one, I can't quite picture it all in my head to follow what's going on. When that happens, I get bored and start skimming. In his writing, I see everything clearly, as if it were on a screen in front of me... he choreographs the scenes perfectly, adding plenty of action but not muddling the scene. I also liked the ships and the settings he created, and appreciated how hard he made deep space mining sound. His reference to Jane's is an interesting little twist. Jane's, for anyone who has an interest in warships and planes, (or, as in my case, having a father with such interest) is a complete reference book describing all the planes of, say, WWI and discussing their capabilities and details. Little details like that, when I pick up on them, make the reading feel richer.

The Star Risk group make for wonderful company when you want to read a deep space adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Copyright © 2002 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

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