The Duke of Uranium
By John Barnes
The Duke of Uranium is the first volume in the Jak Jinnaka series by the American author John Barnes.
The Duke of Uranium introduces Jak Jinnaka. Jak is Barnes try at an arse-kicking, undercover agent for the thirty-sixth century. Somebody who can compete with Miles Vorkosigan, The Stainless Steel Rat and Shaft at the same time. We are, as you've probably already guessed, in the genre of fast one-liners, fast rocketships, fast women and fast reading. And then again, not really, this being John Barnes.
Jak is your basic run of the mill, martial arts and master of all trades, involuntary hero type. He fails his final exams and then takes his girlfriend out to a dance, where she is promptly kidnapped. She turns out to be a princess and his uncle, which he has been living with, turns out to be a master spy and secret agent. Luckily the uncle has, somewhat secretly from Jak, been training him in all the things that are good to know, when you are an agent. So Jak is send of to save the princess. Of cause Jak has to go through all kinds of trails to make everything right again, giving us lots of action and lots of fun. The thing that makes The Duke of Uranium special, besides the fact that its funny and well written, is something that I've never seen in a science fiction secret-agent story before, namely that it's takes place in a universe that is shockingly close to what we hold to be the truth today! It actually follows most of the basic rules of good hard science fiction; there's no faster-than-light travel, there's entropy, there's lots of hard work connected with changing the direction of your spaceship and there is absolutely no swords fights! This is definitely not normal.
I'm looking forward to a the next installment in the adventures of Jak Jinnaka!
Written on 19th November 2002 by TC .