The Proud Enemy
Reviewed date: 2013 Apr 8
I couldn't finish The Proud Enemy.
Barton is back. I haven't bothered to read the first book, so I'm not clear what he's back from, but I gather he was captured by alien slavemasters and put into some kind of zoo. Now Barton is leading Earth's brand new fleet of warships to attack the Demu slavers. But first, Earth needs allies.
The fleet's first voyage is to visit the Tilarans, potential allies against the Demu. And during the trip, Barton's biggest problem is with his crew. The crew is gender-balanced--five men and five women. There are five cabins, so everyone pairs off nicely--except one meathead, who keeps wanting to switch roommates. Barton beats him up and he promises to behave himself.
Beyond that, the biggest problem occupying Barton's time is figuring out whether all the other ships in the fleet are gender-balanced too. Only some are. For those that have, say seven men and three women, Barton is puzzled about what arrangements they have made to keep the men happy.
When the fleet gets to Tilara and makes first contact with their potential ally, Barton's chief concern is the Tilaran custom of casual, open sexuality. You know, with no diseases and no accidental pregnancies--Tilaran women can voluntarily control ovulation--their race never developed sexual taboos.
And at that point, I gave up.