Skirmishes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch science fiction book reviewsSkirmishes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Skirmishes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch science fiction book reviewsSkirmishes (2013) is the fourth novel in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s DIVING universe. It begins a month after the events in Boneyards which, of course, you’ll want to read first. Skirmishes has a structure similar to Boneyards – there are two main plotlines (one starring Boss and the other starring Coop) and one of them jumps around in time.

In Boss’s plotline, she’s trying to get into the Boneyard which is, presumably, a graveyard containing a vast number of Fleet spaceships which Boss discovered in the previous book. She wants to collect a bunch of these ships which her company, Lost Souls, can use to protect the Nine Planet Alliance from the empire.

Boss is having difficulties getting past the Boneyard’s force field but, fortunately, she has the help of one of Coop’s Fleet officers, a woman who has expertise in such technology. By studying the Boneyard and its protections, they get more information about what happened to the fleet after the Ivoire left, but they’re left with more questions than answers. This plotline moves slowly.

While Boss is gone, Coop and the Ivoire (as well as another fleet ship his people have recently commandeered) are patrolling the Nine Planet Alliance’s border with the empire. This is the plotline that jumps around in time and is best described as a series of skirmishes (hence the book’s title) between Coop’s crew and the empire.

Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn RuschThe skirmishes that occur in the past give us other perspectives or more details about events we’ve already seen, or fill in some details that we’ve missed. For example, we get another perspective about what happened at the Room of Lost Souls, we see the rescue of Squishy from Coop’s perspective, and we get some glimpses into how Coop’s crew handled learning they were stranded in the future. (In my review of the previous book, I mentioned that I wanted to know more about this, so I was happy to see it.) We also meet some characters that were adversely affected by some of these skirmishes and now have reason to want to destroy Boss and Coop (and who could blame them?).

Skirmishes is a slow-moving but important installment in the DIVING series. It answers several questions and, though it revisits some events we’ve seen before, it still manages to advance the plot. Boss and Coop make a good team, though sometimes it’s hard to admire their actions. Coop, especially, does some things in this book that are ruthless and, as I mentioned in my previous review, they seem out of character. Perhaps I’ve been misjudging him all along, but I liked him better in the earlier books.

I’m hoping we get to see more of the Boneyard in a future story. I feel like we barely scratched its surface.

Published in 2013. The answers Captain Jonathon “Coop” Cooper and the crew of the Ivoire seek lie in the Boneyards. But they must wait for Boss and her team to dive it, explore the wrecks, and piece together what happened in that faraway place. Boss loves the challenge. Thousands of ships, centuries of history, all play to her strengths. In her absence, she trusts Coop to defend the Nine Planets Alliance against the Enterran Empire. But an encounter from Coop’s recent past shows up to haunt him, an encounter he never told Boss about, an encounter that could threaten her future, his life, and the fragile peace between the Alliance and the Empire.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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