cod of conduct

Book Review: Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct is Kristine Smith’s debut novel. Mixing adventure and politics, Smith tells the story of Jani Killian, a former soldier who has lived incognito for nearly twenty years since shooting her commanding officer when he tried to enforce an illegal order. While many believe Jani was killed in a fiery crash shortly after that incident, portions of the Commonwealth’s government believes she may still be alive. The alien idomeni, in whose culture Jani was a specialist, also believe she may still be active.
As the novel opens, the Commonwealth Interior Minister, Evan van Richter, a former lover and comrade in arms, manages to find Jani and offer her protection if she’ll help him discover the truth behind his wife’s recent death. Skeptical at first, Jani agrees to leave her haven on the world Whalen and travel to the capital of the Commonwealth, Chicago, where she becomes involved in the intricate politics within the government as well as with the idomeni ambassador, Jani’s former mentor among the aliens.
The politics surrounding Lyssa van Richter’s death are Byzantine, made more so when Jani’s research begins to indicate that the crash which almost killed her nearly two decades earlier may have been linked to the death she’s currently examining. While doing her research, Jani must carefully guard her identity, especially when she is kidnapped by a rival minister who is intent on destroying van Richter and capturing the Jani Killian who possibly died in the crash.
Code of Conduct is clearly a first novel and shows the potential Smith has to become a major author. The plot is complex, but Smith manages to keep the various threads orderly. Most impressive of all are the ideas which are touched upon but not fully explored, leaving Smith plenty of material for future works.