Scouts: On Leave is, of course, the fourth in the continuing Scouts series.
I wanted a book that expanded the characters a bit more - especially the more minor ones. I also wanted to bring in some story arcs that had started in the first and third books, and add some new arcs and some uncertainty about things.
From my point of view, I really enjoyed this book. I think it's one of the better ones in the Scouts series. It gets inside the heads of the characters, making them more "human" (those that are) and helps explain, or set up the explanation for, some of the reasons why they are the way they are.
I settled in on the "on leave" theme because I wanted to add a character: The ship itself. This could have been done in a variety of ways. One of which I thought would be to have a major accident in the course of a mission that would fuse Lyle with the ship. But that didn't seem like a nice thing to do to Lyle, so I opted for the expedient choice of adding an AI. Of course, things are not always that simple, which is part of the new story arcs that have been added.
As a pivotal point in the series, this one is probably on par with SCOUTS: The Beginning The new arcs are deeper and longer and more mysterious. Some of the ones that started in the first book are solved in this one, but again, nothing in life is that clean, so in many ways they continue, albeit for different reasons.
The action isn't quite as earth-shaking as some of the books in the past have been, I'll admit. It's hard to get great action in what is basically a set of in-depth character profiles. But even Star Trek had episodes where no one fired a shot, no planets were destroyed, no one was killed, and poor Doctor McCoy could never say with deep regret, "He's dead, Jim."
No one dies. No one gets hurt (except a headache) and life as the SCOUTS universe knows it doesn't hinge on what they do.
Well, you know, mostly doesn't...
Book 4 of the SCOUTS series. Available at: Amazon
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