Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2
on November 13th 2015
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.
Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn...and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper…
After finishing Clean Sweep in nearly one sitting, I absolutely couldn’t resist pouring through the entire series ASAP. Which I did. And it was glorious.
But specifically about Sweep in Peace…this book adds depth to the world the author has created, and to the characters in the series, particularly Dina, but pretty much everyone her life touches. Or is touched by.
Dina is in kind of a pickle. As she always seems to be in one way or another. In order to remain a viable inn, the Gertrude Hunt needs guests. Her symbiotic relationship with the people who stay with her means that the more guests she has, the more powerful they are, the more she is able to do. And be.
So when an Arbitrator asks her to host an intergalactic peace conference, Dina feels that she needs to take the job. She needs the money AND she needs the guests. So even though she knows that she is literally the inn of last resort, and that keeping her warring guests from bringing the more active parts of their conflict inside her walls, she still needs the money and the guests. And hopes for an increase in the inn’s rating if she is successful, even as she knows that she has about as much chance of success as a snowball in hell.
Speaking of hell, that’s what the fight is all about. The planet Nexus is hell. Or the nearest equivalent that anyone wants to see. But the vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde and the space merchants of Baha are all fighting over it. It may be hell, but it’s a hell that contains valuable minerals that the vampires and the Horde both want. And the merchants sit on the only land stable enough to have transportation facilities to get those minerals off-planet.
And nobody wants to give an inch of ground, even though it is in their bests interests. The vampires and the horde have both spilled too much blood, and the merchants, as it turns out, have nowhere else to go. It’s a stalemate, until Dina and the Arbitrator step in.
Or rather, until the Arbitrator backs Dina into a corner and forces her to step in. Whether she will step out alive is anyone’s guess. No one gets out of hell unscathed. Not even by proxy.
Escape Rating A: I love this series. Did I say that already? Probably multiple times?
Dina reminds me quite a bit of Marley Jacobs in A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark. Both Dina and Marley wield the same kind of quiet power. And also espouse the same flavor of “neutrality” that will defend those it chooses to the death. Of the other person. Or thing. Or whatever.
The most interesting character in this story is George, the Arbitrator. His tactics in every situation are the exception that proves the rule about whether ends that unquestionably serve the greater good can possibly justify extremely questionable means. Every once in a blue moon, the ends actually do justify the means. Which doesn’t make those means any less terrible. It might just make them even more terrible. George knows that every lie he tells, every truth he omits, every action he takes, is designed to move all his pawns, especially including Dina, into the exact right position to achieve his aims, and he does not care how much he damages those pawns along the way, as long as he achieves his goal. Which is admittedly, a worthy one. And might possibly be worth the cost. Or would be if George were the one to pay it. But he isn’t.
Normally, one says that one would not want to be on someone’s bad side. In George’s case, being on his good side isn’t actually any less dangerous.
That love is all there is is all we know of love is all too true. And terrible the lengths it will drive us to. Which is a big part of what George is counting on, to Dina’s cost.
In the end, this story comes to be about the cost of war and the price of peace. Robert E. Lee was right, it is a good thing that war is so terrible. In this particular case, it isn’t just that war is hell, but this war is on hell. And for hell. Each party in this war is wallowing in their own hell. Once they understand that they are all in it together, they are finally able to break free. Together.