Heris Serrano by Elizabeth Moon


A few months ago a buddy dropped off a grocery bag full of Sci-Fi books that he had no further use for and I have been slowly working my way through them, initially just selecting the ones that I might consider reading at some point and then carefully placing them on a shelve to be forgotten for an indeterminate length of time. The remainder is resting peacefully in the bag along with a growing collection of dust and dog hair.

The bookshelf in question is semi hidden in my unfinished basement. In front is an electrical conduit that in the summer hangs a selection of heavy, warm shirts and this time of year a large sampling of my Hawaiian shirt collection. Searching for an empty hanger found me looking at the books and I picked one out to sample. The book was entitled Heris Serrano by Elizabeth Moon. It was at the top of the pile and said that it was a space opera, a genre that I enjoy.

I liked the book in some ways, and it had some strong Pros and Cons. The book is about the adventures of the title character Heris Serrano after she is forced to resign from the Regular Space Service i.e the Navy.  The book is actually a collection of three Heris Serrano books, and the one I read was entitled Hunting Party, the next is Sporting Chance followed by Winning Colors.


I really enjoyed the Serrano character. A strong woman that is not perfect. I dislike using the term flawed. She is just a human that has strengths and weaknesses like everyone. She did well in the military, until her disgrace, an issue that is partially resolved in the book. She takes over command of Lady Cecelia’s space yacht, and heads off to a fox hunt on a privately owned planet. Along the way there are issues with spoiled young adults and smugglers.

On the planet a darker issue arises as an old foe of Serrano’s is involved in a deadly game and the young troublesome wards of the Lady Cecelia are endangered. The two head out, and with some help save the day, at least for the time being. One foe’s last words hint at more trouble ahead as does the presences of royalty in some of the climactic events.

One of the major drawbacks was that aside from a few of the main characters all of the rest of the characters were walking stereotypes. She is headed to a fox hunt on a planet that is solely owned by a very wealthy lord, who lives in an imitation English manor. For that matter the universe is ruled by a royal family. It appears as if the cast of characters from Thank You, Jeeves or any other Wooster and Jeeves book simply were frozen in time to be thawed a thousand years in the future. People have nicknames such as Bunny and Bubbles. All that was lacking was a Bertie. It was way too forced for me.


The comparisons to Wodehouse are inevitable but I think that it fails as an updated version gone into space. The straight storyline would be pretty good without all of the fops, layabouts and idlers and creating a manners piece as a subplot. Aside from the main characters almost everybody else in the book was one dimensional. Even their growth seems a bit forced and unrealistic. That is a pity because I really enjoyed the two leads and most of the action but the remainder seemed way too forced, and really not that interesting.

I am undecided on reading the remaining two volumes of the series. It seems pointed in an interesting direction but with a lot of fluff. I wonder if there is a Cliff Notes version?

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