“One of Our Bastards is Missing,” by Paul Cornell needs more context. I liked the opening, which zooms in across the Solar System, but then it lands in some sort of alternate history British court. And stays there. This puts me off, as I get quickly bored with court intrigue. There’s a princess betrothed to a prince, and she has some sort of fondness for our hero, Hamilton. The one interesting bit is the “folds” they can do in space.
The story reads like the second chapter in a book. It picks up in the middle of something, without explanation, Hamilton engages in Exciting Action and International Intrigue, and the story ends with the expectation of more to come, still without explanation. I never got a fix on when this was supposed to be set. There is high technology, so at first I thought the princess was destined to be Elizabeth III, but the politics are reminiscent of the 19th century, or maybe a 20th century where World War I hasn’t happened yet. Britain vies with Russia vies with Prussia vies with Fra– oh, who cares?