My Review of The Clockwork Traitor

The Clockwork Traitor: Family d'Alembert Book 3

The Clockwork Traitor: Family d’Alembert Book 3 by E.E. “Doc” Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the Third 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.

In this novel the threat they deal with is an android robot that looks perfectly human. It was developed specifically to appeal to the Crown Princess, who is going around the Empire to meet and assess possible consorts, and the idea is that this robot will capture her heart and be the enemy within when she ascends to the throne. Jules and Yvette d’Alembert, top agents of SOTE, must find out which of the suitors is the robot and stop this plot. 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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