Judge Cab Huntington is appointed to the newly formed Fifteenth Circuit, to bring law and order to the colony worlds on the moon, Mars, and beyond. When he arrives, he finds himself unwanted and distrusted by the colonists, who rightfully see this as an attempt by Earth to assert its superiority over them. When his first judgement has disastrous consequences, he has to ask himself where his loyalties really lie: with Earth, with the Colonists, or with Justice.
This was written long enough ago that it now takes place in an alternate universe, where the USSR didn't fall, and the Cold War is still very chilly. It's nevertheless pretty realistic, though: politicians are still corrupt and venal, desperately clinging to power. It's a fairly straightforward tale of brave colonists rebelling against tyrannical rulers, with the central character finding out whether he has the courage to do the right thing. The difference is the main character is a lawyer, and the legal processes are central to the plot.
Judge Cab Huntington's impeachment trial has been overturned by the new President, and he's sent off to Mars to continue his circuit, along with Jenny McBride, his ex law partner, now his clerk, and also his lover.. But there are more devious plans afoot to bring the troublesome colonists to heel, and once again Cab finds himself in the middle of revolt.
This has less legal manoeuvring (essentially only a couple of trial scenes, over very quickly), and rather more politicking along with a bit of authorial lecturing against the evils of Big Government, and the lunatic fringe of environmentalism. There are some interesting parts, like the structure of the Mormon colony on Mars. But the paternalistic sexism is more grating this time (it is claimed that it's more an Earth problem than a colonist problem, yet the main colonist women we see are the wife of a Mormon who even Cab thinks is a bit downtrodden, and a woman who uses seduction to get her way), making it feel in places as if it was written in the 1950s rather than the1980s. By the end, I definitely wanted to smack Jenny around the head to help her get a clue.
However, I'll probably still read the third one, to see the inevitable revolution.
A civil war is coming and the machinations of those who hunger for power threaten the cadets. In a time of political intrigue, class conflict, and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible…
Both young officers find themselves part of forced “assimilations” of settlers on Hidden Worlds, which lead them to doubt the intentions of the Solar League. And when Tracy witnesses an horrific event that threatens the fragile human and alien peace, Mercedes must decide where her loyalties truly lie…
At the other end of society, Princess Mercedes de Arango has her own problem—the lack of an heir. Meanwhile her philandering husband has ably proved the problem isn’t him. Amid rumors of a coup. Mercedes makes the desperate decision to undertake a military campaign. But when things go badly wrong and her future lies in the hands of the man she betrayed, Tracy has a choice to make—can he ever forgive her?
Richard Oort is an ordinary beat cop in Albuquerque until the night he rescues a young woman from muggers – muggers made of mud and sticks. All at once he finds himself embroiled in an ancient battle between good and evil. Kenntnis leads the side of light and reason, against the Old Ones who want the world to return to the darkness of fear and superstition so that they can feed. Kenntnis, sometimes known as Prometheus, sometimes as Lucifer, has to persuade Richard to join his side, against all the gods (all of them – yes, even that one).
It is interesting to watch Richard shake off the traumas of his past, and grow into the role of Paladin of the light, and how some of the others around him react to the various revelations. It’s nice to see rational people who are willing to believe the evidence of their eyes, even when that evidence contradicts everything they previously believed, but I’m surprised at how little trauma some of them felt at the shattering of their previous world view. Despite the underlying premise, there is little overt ranting against religion: it’s more in sorrow than in anger (except for the humans knowingly exploiting the system).
The book has an ending, but it’s clearly the beginning of a series.
An inter-dimensional gate has been opened between the worlds, and the Old Ones are seeping through. With the aid of sorceress Rhiana, homeless god Cross, and one-time enemy Reverend Grenier, Richard tries to convince the US government to intervene before the rising tide of religious violence reduces humanity to madness. But the Old Ones will use any human weakness, and the horrors are only just beginning.
To keep her safe Richard becomes her guardian, but an error in judgement leads to disaster and betrayal, and now the pair will need to summon all their strength to survive the coming battle. From the American southwest to a secret society in Turkey, the paladin and his ward try to stay in front of their enemies, but the world is at stake – and time is running short.