Warrior: Riposte

This article is about the novel. For the Capellan Confederation's ill-fated operation during the Fourth Succession War, see Operation Riposte.
Warrior - Riposte (original).jpg
Warrior: Riposte
Product information
Type Novel
Author Michael A. Stackpole
Pages 306 (original)
300 (anniversary edition & reprint)
Cover artwork David English (original)
Doug Chaffee (anniversary edition & reprint)
Publication information
Publisher FASA (original)
Roc Books (anniversary edition)
FanPro (reprint)
Product code 8609
First published October 1988 (original)
June 1998 (anniversary edition)
June 2003 (reprint)
ISBN-10 1-555600689
ISBN-13 978-0451457189
MSRP 4.95 US$
Content
Era Succession Wars era
Timeline 15 July 3027 - 14 February 3029
Series The Warrior Trilogy
Preceded by Warrior: En Garde
Followed by Warrior: Coupé

Warrior: Riposte, by Michael A. Stackpole, is the second novel in The Warrior Trilogy. It describes the events leading up to and following the wedding between Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner, and the first stages of the Fourth Succession War including the Kell Hounds' ongoing feud with Yorinaga Kurita.

From the back cover (Original)[edit]

For over 250 years, war, petty hatreds, and slowly failing technology have halted all attempts to unify the Inner Sphere. Five Successor States, splintered remnants of the great Star League, now struggle for control.

But all that will soon change when Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner marry. As they cement an alliance between their powerful Houses, the balance of power among the Warlords of the Inner Sphere irrevocably changes. A new golden age of peace and prosperity may soon replace the hundreds of years of interstellar war.

A golden age is not part of Maximilian Liao's plan. He has joined with Duke Michael Hasek-Davion and Justin Xiang, a former Davion officer, to set in motion a sinister plot to rip the Federated Suns asunder.

And in Kurita space, Yorinaga Kurita has suddenly reappeared to claim his place as one of the finest warriors of all time. Though many had thought him dead, Yorinaga is very much alive as he prepares his unit for their final confrontation with the Kell Hounds.

From the back cover (Reprint)[edit]

Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner have united the two Great Houses of the Inner Sphere in a marriage that suddenly upsets the balance of power among the stars. Though some hope this may bring an end to centuries of war, Maximilian Liao of the Capellan Confederation has enlisted the aid of two highly placed Davion traitors to destroy Hanse Davion and the Federated Suns from both within and without. But in the distant star chambers of the Capellan March and Draconis Combine, the Warlords of Maximilian Liao are honoring a different and more deadly vow: to wage an unholy war that threatens to rip asunder the vulnerable worlds of the Federated Suns.

As Davion 'Mech commander Andrew Redburn and his mercenaries streak into battle, an explosive clash of metal and men signals the return of a formidable foe. Interstellar legend Yorinaga Kurita has returned to stake his claim as the most bloodthirsty warrior of all. For both men it is do-or-die combat that could ensure the triumph of a glorious new alliance—or result in its total annihilation...

Summary[edit]

Prologue[edit]

In a meeting of ComStar's First Circuit on Hilton Head Island on Terra, Precentor Myndo Waterly is admonished for leaking information about the Silver Eagle to the ISF, establishing that ComStar had a hand in precipitating the Silver Eagle affair. Primus Julian Tiepolo feels Waterly's ill-advised and clumsy action threatened ComStar's image as a neutral party, though he does not condemn the action as such. In the end, however, the First Circuit votes to absolve Waterly of any wrongdoing, accepting her reasoning that ultimately no harm was done.

Book I: Envelopment[edit]

Planning his wedding to Melissa Steiner, Hanse Davion sends a personal invitaton to his arch enemy Maximillian Liao (and implicitly, the heads of the other Successor States as well). In a political maneuver following a suggestion by Ardan Sortek, he asks Morgan Hasek-Davion to be his best man. Morgan is residing at New Avalon as essentially a hostage: Hanse Davion is fully aware that his brother-in-law, Morgan's misguided father Michael Hasek-Davion, is collaborating with House Liao but he cannot conclusively prove it without endangering his own spy network. Morgan wholeheartedly embraces the honor, and turns out loyal to House Davion as much as to House Hasek.

As a high-profile outcast from the Federated Suns and an intelligence expert, Justin Xiang has become a high-ranking intelligence analyst in the Capellan Confederation alongside his recruiter Tsen Shang, the former Capellan spymaster on Solaris VII. In the byzantine machinations of House Liao the Chancellor's younger daughter Romano Liao draws Tsen Shang into her camp while Justin Xiang finds he is growing close to the other daughter, Candace Liao.

In his monastery retreat on Zaniah III, Morgan Kell is devastated to learn of his brother Patrick's death at the hands of Yorinaga Kurita (at the conclusion of the Silver Eagle affair). As his old nemesis has resurfaced, Morgan ends his exile and reforms the Kell Hounds mercenary unit back into a full regiment, with himself in command. Yorinaga Kurita meanwhile appoints his disowned son Akira Brahe to a position of company commander in the Genyosha, the unit Yorinaga formed specifically to counter the Kell Hounds.

Book II: Recovery[edit]

Morgan Kell makes a grand entrance through a surprise appearance at the royal ball on Tharkad on 31 December 3027. He gets a warm welcome from Archon Katrina Steiner, with whom he privately reminisces about their past Red Corsair adventures together with Katrina's late husband, Morgan's cousin Arthur Luvon. Morgan also butts heads with the treacherous and ambitious Dukes Frederick Steiner and Aldo Lestrade as well as Ryan Steiner and the deposed ex-Archon, Alessandro Steiner. Traveling with Morgan Kell is Dan Allard who meets and befriends Jeana Clay at the reception. For his performance on Styk in the Silver Eagle affair where he lost his Valkyrie and became dispossessed, Dan Allard is awarded a brand-new Wolfhound and a position as company commander by the thankful Morgan Kell who is rebuilding the Kell Hounds back to regiment strength to oppose Yorinaga Kurita.

Chancellor Maximilian Liao decides to travel to the Steiner/Davion wedding with his intelligence experts in attendance. Romano Liao has picked Tsen Shang as her escort, Justin Xiang is picked by Candace Liao and Justin's aide Alexi Malenkov is assigned as an aide to Colonel Pavel Ridzik.

Book III: Doublé[edit]

High society from all over the Inner Sphere has been invited to the Steiner/Davion wedding at Hilton Head Island on Terra. The wedding reception on 17 August 3028 sees a meet and greet of ancient enemies, with many undercurrents. Morgan Kell meets Scott Bradley and accepts Bradley's Bravos as the third Kell Hounds battalion, permitting them to display the Kell Hounds crest. Yorinaga Kurita appears in Coordinator Takashi Kurita's entourage wearing the Genyosha insignia, thus piblicly revealing the existence of the as-yet unknown new unit he commands. Dan Allard begins a relationship with Jeana Clay and meets his half-brother Justin (Xiang) Allard for the first time in years, but Justin brusquely rejects him. Jaime Wolf makes a surprising appearance to deliver two ceremonial swords to Takashi Kurita, much to ComStar's dismay who are at a loss how the mercenary could smuggle the weapons in.

During a guided tour of Hilton Head on the next day, Akira Brahe encounters three Acolytes whom he recognizes are wearing cooling vests hidden under their robes, suggesting the ostensibly pacifistic ComStar order has their own MechWarriors—brutes with what he recognizes to be periphery bandit tattoos. His interest piqued, he absconds from the tour and sneaks into an underground facility where he finds a vast number of pristine BattleMechs bearing the ComStar crest. On his way out he is attacked by guards and saved by Morgan Kell, Jaime Wolf and Yorinaga Kurita. They are let in on Akira Brahe's discovery, but decide to keep it secret for the time being.

Romano Liao and Justin Xiang have a falling-out after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Quintus Allard by one of her Thugees. Alexi Malenkov reports to Xiang and Shang that Pavel Ridzik had a tryst with the Chancellor's wife, Jasmine Liao.

Following the formal wedding on 20 August, Hanse Davion announces to his wife and the assembled guests that he shall give his wife a vast prize—the Capellan Confederation. Thus begins the Fourth Succession War.

Wife, in honor of our marriage, in addition to this morsel I give you a vast prize. My love, I give you the Capellan Confederation!"
  — Hanse Davion to Melissa Steiner-Davion at their wedding reception on Terra, also sparking the Fourth Succession War, August 20, 3028

Book IV: Remise[edit]

On the very same day that Hanse Davion declared war on the Capellan Confederation during his own wedding ceremony, Davion troops are already assaulting Capellan worlds. Andrew Redburn is part of the assault force assigned to St. Andre, and his Delta Company performs admirably here and elsewhere in the highly successful Davion offensive.

Myndo Waterly is concerned that the successful war will give Hanse Davion a power base to conquer or unite the entire Inner Sphere in the end, sidelining ComStar's own plans. She vehemently lobbies the First Circuit to intercede in the war, but they refuse; in the end it is decided that ComStar will react only if Davion forces attack Sarna (a world far beyond their reach at this time).

Meanwhile in the Confederation, Justin Xiang, Tsen Shang and Alexi Malenkov try to counsel the increasingly irrational Chancellor. Based in part on intelligence delivered by Michael Hasek-Davion, they draw up defense plans including Operation Riposte, a strike at the Davion resupply depots for the next attack wave which is expected in February. Colonel Pavel Ridzik is meanwhile preparing to retake the lost worlds of his Tikonov Commonality, but his strategic planning causes fear in Maximilian Liao that he might attempt a coup and so he orders Ridzik be eliminated. The attempt on Ridzik's life is thwarted by Davion operatives, however, and only serves to alert Ridzik to Liao's paranoia. Ironically, this prompts him to create the Tikonov Free Republic and shift his allegiance from House Liao to a covert alliance with House Davion.

On Northwind, the Genyosha, together with the 5th Sword of Light and the 36th Dieron Regulars, have attacked and bloodied Bradley's Bravos (the Kell Hounds's new third battalion) based on the misconception that they were Morgan Kell's original Kell Hounds. Team Banzai came to aid the Bravos. Only the unexpected homecoming of the Northwind Highlanders, now in service to House Davion, saves the day for the Bravos and Team Banzai, who also suffered heavily; the unit's remainder is later redeployed to New Avalon for rest and refit. Adding insult to injury, Yorinaga Kurita and Akira Brahe are informed that while they were chasing ghosts on Northwind, the Kell Hounds raided and destroyed the Genyosha home base on Nashira.

Operation Riposte fails utterly. The supposed storehouses were in reality traps where Davion troops (again including Andrew Redburn and Delta Company) ambushed the Liao would-be attackers and vanquished them in what House Davion called Operation Ambush. When the Capellan ambassador on New Syrtis is expelled for espionage, Michael Hasek-Davion secretly travels with him to Sian to salvage his plans. However, an enraged Maximilian Liao is now convinced of his double-dealings. On the chancellor's orders, Duke Michael Hasek-Davion is shot by Justin Xiang.

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Notes[edit]

  • Like the other entries in the Warrior trilogy by Michael A. Stackpole, the book's first edition by FASA features a tongue-in-cheek "About the author" appendix of dubious canonicity in the end. It is written as a ComStar dossier dated 18 April 3028, in which Michael A. Stackpole, referring to his earlier writeup in the previous novels, describes himself as a delusional subject held in the "ComStar Reeducation Compound: Phoenix" who maintains despite therapy that he is a historical writer who was born in 1957. ComStar notes that his insights into ComStar's operations are troublesome; the report recommends to upgrade security and continue to study the subject.
  • The wedding scene where Hanse Davion, at his own wedding, brazenly declares war on another Successor State with the head of that state in attendance is often cited as one of the most memetic and memorable scenes in all of BattleTech fiction; it is also featured on the book cover of the first edition.
  • In another oft-quoted memetic scene that is somewhat comical, in the commotion following Hanse Davion's declaration of war on the Capellan Confederation Chancellor Maximilian Liao directs his entourage to grab the plates as "strategic intelligence" as he suddenly realizes the sublime significance of the plates their food was served on: each plate names a star system that Davion is implicitly planning to attack. (Other plates, too, named systems that were somehow significant to individual guests who got served these plates.)
  • Jaime Wolf approaching Draconis Combine Coordinator Takashi Kurita during the wedding reception and throwing the late Minobu Tetsuhara's ceremonial swords at the Coordinator's feet with a scathing address in fluent Japanese is somewhat mysterious and unexplained in this novel. It would turn out to be a foreshadowing of the climactic final scene of another BattleTech novel, Wolves on the Border, that was published shortly after Warrior: Riposte.

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