If you are extremely interested in political intrigue, ethnic identity and a general mass confusion about everything, then this is the book for you! We’re in an advanced age where politics seems to have taken over everyone and every thing.
Our book starts out with one of the semi-main characters spacing herself in order to avoid capture by League of Sol Marines. Her ship (the Kensington Star), which was nothing more than a freighter carrying various sundry goods between planets is attacked and totally disabled by a League military starship. Miri Gaon is not a normal spacer. She has previous experience with the League and it was very imperative that she not get to experience them again. So, she manages to escape the Kensington Star with an EVA suite and an extra bottle of oxygen. She has no expectation of being rescued alive!
The League is for some reason yet unknown is capturing all kinds of ship in what is supposed to be neutral or independent space and bringing them back to the Solar System. This in itself would be an act of war but since the League and the Terran Coalition are already at war, it’s not going to make much difference if they are caught. Except, there are a large number of independent planets that want nothing to do with the League or the Coalition. To find the League actively attacking independent freighters would definitely put them on the side of the Coalition in this war. So, it is very important that the League not allow anyone to know about their activities. Yet, Miri Gaon is now floating in space quite aware of what the League has done, but hoping not die before she can spread the word about the League’s actions.
Then we get to go aboard the independent freighter call Shadow Wolf captained by James Henry, a disgraced former Coalition military Officer. He and his crew, who you’ll soon meet, are trying to make a living in independent space by transferring goods from one planet to another. He has a good connection with the Minister of Culture and Trade for the independent planet Lusitania. His current cargo is for that planet, but it just so happens that his cargo is normally restricted from export by the League authorities. His ability to quietly reason and “bribe” the Customs Inspector allows them to be on their way. They successfully reach Lusitania and are attempting to find out if they have other cargo jobs available.
Meanwhile, and to all unimaginable luck, Miri Gaon has been rescued by pirates! They took her aboard their ship just as she was about to take her last breath. And her luck was even better in that these particular pirates had an agreement to not attack ships of the company she worked for since they had made generous “protection” payments.
So, they had no problem with treating her as a passenger and took her to their next destination which was the planet Harron. Unfortunately word did get out that Ms. Gaon was the sole surviver of the Kensington Star. Now everyone wanted her to testify to what she experienced which would definitely not be good for the League of Sol.
Miri Gaon turned into be the next mission for the Shadow Wolf and one that they probably should have declined. Yes, they had cargo destined for Harron, but Minister Vitorino wanted Captain Henry to bring Ms Gaon back to him so she could then testify as to the Leagues actions. At the same time, Minster Cristian Caetano, Minster of Defense and Home, which gave her control of the military, the police and the Republic Security Service (RSS), wanted Captain Henry to deliver the same Miri Gaon to her for further questioning. Both Ministers were enemies of each other with Caetano the more dangerous of the two.
Minister Caetano was paranoid in the extreme. She felt that too many of her country men were betraying the state and therefore the state much do whatever necessary to stop them. She had no problem turning her head away from attacks against her political foes and was often times thought to have supplied the thugs that caused extensive damages to people and things she did not approve of. Captain Jame Henry knew that to not fulfill a contract with her might find his ship impounded and he and his crew imprisoned. That wasn’t much of a stretch since most of his crew were already wanted for one thing or another anyway.
So the rest of the book is about the Shadow Wolf’s mission to bring Miri Gaon back to Lusitania. It is not going to be an easy mission by no means, but initially Captain Henry and his crew have no idea of the lengths certain parties will go to to kill or capture Miri Gaon. They will soon find out.
I found this book interesting, but there was a lot politics involved. Every member of Jim Henry’s crew is from a different faction or political group. They seem to constantly argue about which is worse or better all the while working together quite effectively. There are also a lot of explanation about the various politics of the League of Sol and the Terran Confederation. I couldn’t really tell which was better, both seemed pretty bad. The there’s the names of the characters. Seems like the author wanted to introduce a lot of foreign names to try and match the political differences. Not sure that worked, but it did make the story somewhat tedious to read.
My bottom-line is that I might not continue to read this series. It’s just not that appealing to me. Even what happened at the very end of the book kind of seemed to elicit a “so what” reaction from me. If I stumble upon the second book, I might put it on my reading list, but probably not.