My Review of Eclipsing Binaries

Eclipsing Binaries (Family d'Alembert, #8)

Eclipsing Binaries by E.E. “Doc” Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the eighth in a 10 novel series which was mostly written by Stephen Goldin. Doc Smith wrote a novella called Imperial Stars which Goldin expanded into the first novel, and then Goldin wrote another 9 novels in a long story arc. But Smith is the famous one, so his name appears in large letters everywhere and Goldin is barely mentioned.

The setting is a universe where a Russian Feudal system has somehow become the dominant mode of government and of the language, so we see Russian words sprinkled throughout the conversations. Humanity has spread to a number of planets with varying characteristics. One of these is DesPlaines, a high gravity planet whose inhabitants have adapted by becoming shorter and stockier, and which has developed a unique attraction, The Circus of the Galaxy. What people don’t know is that this circus is also a key part of the secret service SOTE, the Service Of The Empire. This allows for an interesting twist for space opera, a series where the heroes do not have secret weapons or super powers, merely acrobatic training.

The conspiracy against the Imperial family has taken notice of the fact that so many of their plots have been foiled by Jules and Yvette d’Alembert. So they create doubles of the two agents who go around the galaxy getting other agents killed. The idea is to make these top agents useless since no one knows if it is the real agents or the traitorous doubles. But Jules and Yvette d’Alembert, top agents of SOTE, must get to the bottom and stop this plot. And they confront Lady A.’s conspiracy on a battlestation in space that was designed to lure them to their death. The book is fast-paced and a good combination of space opera with spy thriller. But since this a 10-novel story arc, each novel builds on what went before, so do not read them out of order.

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