As a young fellow, I enjoyed reading space opera: science fiction in which the goodies defeat the baddies after many tribulations, against overwhelming odds. After awhile, though, one lot of bug-eyed monsters blended into all the rest, and as with everything, repetition palled. I chose to read this book because of its title. When I started, it seemed to be just another space opera, and while it was well done, it was more or less a "been there." However, the emotions were genuine, and I got to like two young men: Randolf and Liam. Then I got interested in the technical aspects of the back story: genetically engineered people with inbred skills I wouldn't mind having. However, the book grabbed me when we reached the justification for the title. Liam exacts horrendous revenge on the person who'd murdered both his natural and adoptive parents. Without lecturing, Kurt takes us into his reaction, and that of other important characters, to make us feel, at a gut level, why vengeance is wrong. He has a corporal say, "If an animal goes mad, you put a bullet in its head. You don't torture it." Jarek, an important character, says, "The shadow lives in us all. That we feel this way, while it pains us, is a sign of hope." Liam had done a terrible thing. His feeling of guilt and self-disgust is precisely the indication of his morality. At the end, he is able to appreciate that the chief villain "didn't understand love. His nearest reference was desire. I think Councilor Licinious was the same. I hated them before, but now, I pity them." So, my initial impression was wrong. To me, literature is distinguished from mere entertainment by having a deeper message that makes the reader think. "Price of Vengeance" is literature, and none the less entertaining for that.
Dr Bob Rich