Slippery Jim diGriz returns in the second of [a:Harry Harrison|16147|Harry Harrison|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1196199650p2/16147.jpg]'s light-hearted science fiction series – The Stainless Steel Rat. Having stopped Angelina's homicidal scheme in the first novel, [b:The Stainless Steel Rat|1735615|The Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #1)|Harry Harrison|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1187557105s/1735615.jpg|824589]
, our hero promptly falls in love with her. Luckily, the technology of the Special Corps means that part of Angelina's punishment is that the homicidal parts of her brain are reprogrammed. Although, still trouble with a capital 'T', she no longer wants to kill people. Which is lucky as she's pregnant with their child and married in fairly short order from the start. Having skipped out on the Special Corps, they're holidaying in secret while robbing banks to pass the time together.
Tracked down again by Special Corps diGriz is offered the opportunity to redeem himself again through a dangerous mission to investigate a secretive planet which has been invading a number of nearby planets and starting to worry the corps. We're told that invading a planet is supposed to be nigh-on impossible. Planets are too easy to defend, too hard for an attacker to maintain control of. Presumably a bit like the idea, that we in the UK have held on to, that our island status makes us harder to invade – although the long history of us successfully invading smaller islands suggests it's actually far from impossible if you choose islands that are both small enough and significantly less technologically advanced to ensure a rout. Part investigating how the Cliaandians are managing to, repeatedly, successfully invade other planets; part trying to get in on the action and somehow stop them in their attempt to take over the matriarchal planet of Burada.
As with the first novel, [b:The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge|1930368|The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge (Stainless Steel Rat, #2)|Harry Harrison|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1225860466s/1930368.jpg|1048943]
is a boy's own adventure, but invested with a much more exciting plot and more opportunities for diGriz to get into trouble, out of trouble and make use of his liking for sarcasm. There's also an Amazonianesque dalliance with gender-politics as Angelina while pregnant is far too frail to be allowed to accompany her husband on his dangerous mission, yet once she's finished giving birth she doesn't take no for an answer and immediately rushes out to check he doesn't need rescuing. At the same time, Burada is a planet that has been ruled by women and it's only when the disaffected men are helped into power that the invasion is able to begin. The now rebel forces of the previous ruling classes also prove themselves more than capable of helping diGriz fight off the Cliaandians.