Ann E Haynes, September 09, 2013
(view all comments by Ann E Haynes)
Susan R. Matthews had created a future culture where "The rule of law" operates to further a corrupt, tyrannical interstellar culture which uses torture and mind control, to name two of its methods, to control the populace galaxy-wide. Hiding behind "the law," the Judiciary structure gets away with obscene forms of murder and oppression. The protagonist, Andrej Kosciusko, a man forced by his wealthy family(which, of course, supports the Judiciaries)to become a torturer , lives in agony as he performs his required tasks. An Exchange of Hostages is the first in a series, still in progress, in which Andrej's conscious grows along with the levels of civil unrest in the galaxy, which the Judiciaries can no longer control. I haven't gotten to the end because Matthews hasn't yet written it. I'm rooting for the resistance!
I love this series!! Matthews is an exquisite writer, very character-driven, and would be excellent no matter which genre she chose. I believed her characters, and believed the situations, because she wrote them as human beings would live them, not as flashy excuses for violence or even soap boxing. She lets the situation do the talking and doesn't preach, yet in the end I got the message--respect human dignity--clearly.