I read this book about 15-May-2004. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1984. This note was last modified Monday, 19-May-2014 16:34:55 PDT.
This is book 9 of the "Family D'Alembert" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Ninth (and next to last) of the Family D'Alembert books, which are really written by Stephen Goldin.
Alien invasion! Planet Omicron worked over pretty badly. The only detailed word of the story comes from Lady A's agent. She goes to SOTE and proposes a joint mission to investigate. She and Jules and Yvette and Captain Fortier, plus a muscle and a brain of her own, head off to investigate.
I don't remember from previous reading. And I may just be cynical. But I can't help noticing that we, as readers, haven't actually seen the enemy at all. There's been a quiet year, without attacks from the conspiracy to overthrow the empire. Did they spend that year building robot aliens? Is Lady A along on the expedition to make sure they buy it?
Yes, as it turns out. Around page 114 there's a big in-your-face clue, and in the end that turns out to be exactly what's going on.
Interestingly, what first aroused my suspicion is the very careful way Lady A quotes her agent's report from Omicron. Except for an earlier lie ("I know it wasn't mine"), she goes to some trouble to tell the truth throughout the entire conversation. Which is out of character. I wonder what Goldin was thinking when he did that? Hmm; it's less obvious when I go back and look at it again in hindsight, though, maybe I was just in a suspicious mood.
I'm not really satisfied that they killed her this time, either. Blowing up her own flagship doesn't mean she hadn't escaped in a pod first. Or even just set herself adrift; she's not dependent on atmosphere.
Which, I guess, leaves only "C". Lady A says there's no such person, but what does she know? (Or more to the point, why would I ever trust her?) Ah, of course, "C" isn't a person, it's a computer. That fits with the rest very well. The biggest computer around, the PCC that runs the empire, thus justifying Lady A's remark that the conspiracy is the empire.