4 / 5 Stars
‘Third Game’ appeared as a novelette in the February 1991 issue of Analog Science Fiction / Science Fact.
In 'Third Game' Kalin Stranberg, the son of Second Game protagonist Leonard Stranberg and his Veldqan wife, travels to Veldq. Kalin is on a special mission: discover why Veldq - despite having 'won' the war against the Federation - is beset by increasing civil unrest .
To try and understand the causes of the troubles afflicting Veldq, Kalin consults Yondtl, the corpulent, but brilliant, social outcast that aided Leonard Stranberg during his clandestine mission on Veldq years before. But Yondtl offers no easy solutions, for he himself is growing resentful with Veldqan society.
It's up to Kalin to visit different areas of Veldq and discern the pathology underlying the planet's troubles. One clue may lie with the Kinsmen, a clan occupying the lowest levels of Veldqan society....but learning more about the Kinsmen may be problematic, for Kalin has been targeted for assassination by enemies of the state.....
'Third Game' is a satisfactory sequel to Second Game. The plot moves at a quick pace, and the author never tips his hand as to whether Kalin Stranberg will succeed in his mission. I do recommend reading Second Game before taking on 'Third Game', as it will make grasping the subtleties of the narrative a bit easier.
If you liked Second Game, then 'Third Game' is worth searching out.