Book of the Year 2015 (see all)
Torin Kerr is back in a new series after the final book in Tanya Huff's Confederation Series ended with The Truth of Valour. An Ancient Peace is a continuation of that series though, so if you haven't read these books yet, you should do so now as it gives you the history of these characters and how they got to this point. Spoilers for these novels may be given below and the reviews can be found on the Confederation Series here.
Torin and her team have come a long way from the events in The Truth of Valour, now almost a family with Torin at the head, with her partner Craig, the former marines; Mashona, Ressk and Werst and their newest member former pirate Alamber all living on the Promise. Torin and her motley crew have still not adjusted to civilian life, but have found a new role working as independent contractors with the Justice Department but not actually working within the confines of Justices' structure, they are helping to clean up the system outside the limits placed on the wardens. To me, Torin and her team feel like The A-Team crossed with Mission Impossible.
Now Torin and Co have been drafted by the Intelligence Service to stop some grave diggers from finding the H'san's ancient weapons which might cause the onset of a new war. This is an undercover mission where they will have no backup and will be completely left to their own resources. As this is a Torin novel, of course, Presit turns up in a small cameo; it is good to see how Presit and Torin's animosity to each other is slowly growing to mutual respect, and in their own way, a friendship.
Torin and Co are on their own with no command and oversight, it is just them flying into the unknown as they head towards the core of the confederation where they are faced with a whole lot of xenophobia between the elder and younger races, as well as misunderstandings boiling just under the surface, which the younger races as a whole have not been aware of. Even though the confederation was united against a mutual foe there is still a lack of tolerance and integration on the whole.
An Ancient Peace also deals with PTSD, acknowledging that there is no quick fix and that it is something that you may have to deal with on a daily basis. Torin's team is very solid and they all look after each other. This is the diametrically opposite to the group of gravediggers that Torin has to find and stop before they unleash an ancient weapon so powerful that they could make the last war against The Primacy look like child's play. The book focuses on what happens when there is no longer a need for war, what do all of those former soldiers do? Most of the former military would have been career soldiers not knowing or wanting a civilian life. How does the Confederation handle the rehabilitation of millions who have seen too much? Will they become mercenaries for hire?
Tanya Huff does give her antagonists good reasons for becoming gravediggers, they are not looking to start a war, and their motives range from the need for money to the need for knowledge as well as the simple need for being part of a team. An Ancient Peace is structured so that we follow the gravediggers during their struggles to get to the weapon, which leads to some tense moments as Torin's team follows them as we know the pitfalls and traps they have to circumnavigate to reach their quarry. Of course, there is also the mystery of who gave the gravediggers the paid job to find these weapons?
I was so happy to find out that Torin Kerr was back, she is a conflicted protagonist just trying to find her own peace, but knows at this time she is best off helping other people. She is fully determined to keep her people safe and face the challenges thrown at her. Whether she will get her resolution or not remains to be seen, but as long as Tanya Huff decides to keep writing about Torin I will be ecstatically reading her adventures, as it seems that Torin will be facing some uphill battles in her future.
Review by Michelle Herbert
An Ancient Peace
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