I read this book about 13-May-2004. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1982. This note was last modified Monday, 19-May-2014 16:34:05 PDT.
This is book 7 of the "Family D'Alembert" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Seventh Family D'Alembert book, written by Stephen Goldin actually.
The emperor is about to abdicate on his 70th birthday (only the second of his dynasty to have that opportunity; the rest were killed earlier), handing over power to his daughter Edna. SOTE knows that Lady A and whoever "C" is have a plan to overthrow the empire. They were just barely thwarted at Edna's wedding some months previously. So they send out their best two teams of agents.
Lady A precedes to play them like a piano. I was, however, bothered that they didn't kill Lady A when they had to abandon the Nitrobarb (truth drug) interrogation part-way through; especially when they blasted the house shortly after, and thought it would be nice if they'd got her, but figured they hadn't. Just take a tenth of a second to break her neck, you idiots! Of course, if they'd been going to do that, she wouldn't have set up the trap where they "capture" her and interrogate her with her own supply of Nitrobarb -- which has been replaced with something harmless, so she can lie through her teeth and they'll believe her. I smell the heavy hand of an Author!
However, the preceding sequence, where Jules and Vonnie take over an entire planet for a few days and then let themselves get captured so they'll be shipped to Gaston, the prison planet, is brilliant. However, the fact that apparently nobody has thought of the fact that children will be born there, and that therefore the planet now has a native population who committed no crimes, stretches my disbelief suspenders.
Another of those damned robots turns up, and one of the agents finally actually defeats one in single combat (well, he finishes the job with the ship-based blasters, but only after he's ejected the robot from the ship manually).
And we still don't know how Lady A and company know so much of the secret internal business of SOTE.