This is the sequel to the hilarious `Rats, Bats and Vats' (as if the title isn't a dead giveaway). Those who've read the first book will be well acquainted with Dave Freer's sense of humour. Well, he's done it again, and though the action is slightly less hectic than previously, this book is, if anything, even more hilariously amusing.
Returning from the war against the insectoid Magh', Private Chip Connolly and his comrades the soft-cyber uplifted bats and rats should have been feted as heroes. After all, they'd rescued the First Shareholder's daughter, Virginia Shaw, from the spines of the treacherous Korozhet, destroyed a Magh' field generator, and become the first soldiers ever to survive and return from behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, on the planet of Harmony-And-Reason, things don't quite work that way, and Chip soon finds himself in the stockade, while Virginia Shaw is a prisoner in her own house, trapped by Korozhet villainy and the corruption of members of HAR's government.
Fortunately the Korozhet never counted on noble Fenian bats, voracious Shakespearian rats, and the arcane branch of human philosophy known by the sinister name of 'Platosforms'. Cue daring deeds, heroism and social upheaval - in the cause of not one but two rescues.
And no one ever tells a lady she's undressed while she still has her chainsaw...
Seriously, this book's an excellent read. I finished it inside four hours - no, it's not short, I just couldn't put it down - and I'm still laughing every time I think about it. From characterisation to plot to humour, it has it all. I preferred the first book, though - RBU is fast-paced and side-splittingly humorous, but RBV was faster and fresher, if not quite as hilarious. Not that RBU is stale, or anything like it. Far from it. The soft-cyber uplifted (sentient) galago who thinks he's Don Quixote is a prime example.
In marks out of ten, I'd give this book ten just for style and guts. (Well, nine point nine nine, anyway. RBV deserved the full ten more. But who's going to nitpick? 9.99 rounds up to 10)
Now, when's the next one coming out?