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"Enigma" by C. F. Bentley

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Enigma is the second in a series of outer space adventures from C.F. Bentley. Called the “Confederated Star Systems” series, this second entry continues the story of General Jake and a high priestess named Sissy as they struggle to maintain peace talks going on between would-be allies as war rages elsewhere.

The story cannot be faulted for not achieving its ambition, because its aim is very  simple: serve up some mild action in an innocuous setting. Not much more need be said.

 We encounter space-borne intrigue (in the form of sparring diplomats), a small bouquet of non-human races, a murder mystery, and ghosts who haunt you during the jump to hyper space. General Jake does his all to save his station, the First Contact Café. Sissy helps him whenever and however she can, because they’re on the same side, and falling into a forbidden love. You can’t really say mayhem ensues because whenever it seems like an actual battle might occur, the narrative sidesteps it and focuses on a different matter.

This book consistently serves up the bewildering sensation of unresolved conflicts that end up not being conflicts at all. It lacks any attempt to get to the kind of philosophical issues that we read modern novels to get a taste of. This is a reasonably entertaining Young Adult book, which may depend on being part of a series to accrete any weight. It is not a series I will be taking up.

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