by Poul Anderson
Series: Polesotechnic League
Reviewed date: 2007 May 21
Rating: 2
216 pages
cover art

It's been at least four years since I've read anything set in Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League universe, and probably closer to six years. That's too bad, because most of the fun in Mirkheim is meeting our favorite characters once again. Except in my case, I vaguely remember them, so the charm isn't there.

The Polesotechnic League is rife with internal strife, and is basically subjugated to the Commonwealth Government it once defied. When a group of explorers stumbles across the planet Mirkheim, the League and the Commonwealth find themselves on the brink of war against the alien Babur. Mirkheim is a planet heavy in supermetals, those ultra-rare elements that make modern space travel possible. The supermetals on Mirkheim are worth an interstellar war.

Freeman Nick van Rijn hopes to manipulate the League and the Commonwealth so that they won't go charging off to war. But first he must figure out the mystery of Babur: how did they arm so quickly, why are they willing to go to war, and how do they know so much about humans when humans know so little about them? Nick van Rijn sends the crew of Muddlin' Through--Falkayn, Adzel, and Chee--to investigate.

Mirkheim isn't a bad book, but it's not particularly compelling either. The biggest strike against it is the overbearing libertarian message; I'm a libertarian myself, but Anderson lays it on too thick in Mirkheim.

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