This is a really odd series, and it isn't getting any less odd as it goes along. The likelihood of it ending prior to the author's death seems to also be declining as major new story arcs keep getting added. I would say you wouldn't be able to make sense of this starting in the middle, except for that fact that the Human-Iteeche war that is several decades in the past of this series was, if I correctly understand things, covered in another series written by the author under another name, Mike Moscoe. I haven't read those books, so, *shrug* who knows what you really need to make sense of a trashy novel anyway?
In this outing: Kris is scouting outside of the territory of whatever they're calling what her Grampa Ray is King of. She has aboard The Wasp scientists, a judge, her bodyguard, a bunch of marines, her assistant Abby, Abby's young relation and who could forget, a Really Smart Computer named Nelly. While hopping through wormholes that they can detect now but other people can't, they run across a Peterwald (long standing feud between the Longknifes and the Peterwalds, and the Peterwald territory is experiencing a bloody not-quite-civil war of its own) shooting (unsuccessfully) at an Iteeche (opposing side in a war decades ago). The Peterwald may be missing the Iteeche, but it's hitting The Wasp and upsetting Nelly who has been showing signs of Real Sentience. Nelly is worried about that young relation of Abby's.
Anyway. Long, long story, basically, the Iteeches want to talk, but only to Grampa Ray (negotiator in the peace). Kris gets to figure out how to get a delegation of Iteeches led by one she calls Ron back to Ray without starting a war. She succeeds, message is delivered, and smacks of a Jack Campbell Lost Fleet device: unknowns are disappearing Iteeche scout ships. Ray isn't particularly interested, and instead sends Kris and The Wasp with the Iteeches to Planet Texas (not called that; called Texarkana) to figure out a way to solve a long-standing dispute between the City Folk and the Ranchers. She does, also getting bombed along the way (not her fault this time), and after Fixing the Planet, is not told not to come back! Wow! That's a first!
Actually, the body count in this book is unusually low for a Kris Longknife novel.
Kris' next assignment is to go out and try to deal with all the people bleeding out of Peterwald space in an effort to escape the chaos, and keep the pirate activity down and limit the spread of colonies outside the defined area so they won't infringe on, say, Iteeche space, and restart that war. Kris' recognizes the importance of this assignment, but is starting to ask a _lot_ of questions about just why she's always being parked out in the back of beyond and only brought in to fix major problems. She engages in a spot of treason before tackling the next assignment; she's also fuming about Ray and Trouble's failure to step up and help out the Iteeche. Ron, by contrast, does not seem so perturbed.
Will I read more? With gusto! Next one is due out late in 2010.