This book is my first ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) sent to me by the author. Knowing I’m a big space opera fan, Chris sent me a copy of his first book in a series.
Captain Dash Anderton runs a cargo ship treading on the slim line between lawfulness and not. His crew, split into ops (the worker bees) and command (the captain, pilot, medtech, and loyal robot) is constantly at odds with one another and dealing with a ship gone too long without repairs or funds to pay for them.
Dash, always desperate for lucrative jobs, takes on a young medtech at the request of his mentor, the previous captain of the Stardancer, but the young man is much more than he appears. Deadly bounty hunters and potential clients are looking for Wesley, challenging Dash’s crew to protect one of their own.
The book opens with a mutiny when the lower levels decide they have had enough of Dash’s poor choices and even poorer payment schedules. Dash isn’t a bad guy. He’s really trying to make his ship a successful one, but he’s too quick to cut corners (and ignore his crew’s complaints). Like his ship, Dash is battered and tired of trying to keep his ship operational. Plus, some of his crewmembers are more interested in their own advancement than the care of Stardancerand Captain Dash.
This was an exciting read, mostly Dash jumping from one frying pan to another, but I found the numerous points of view distracting. We get mostly Dash’s viewpoint, but we also get a captain he steals a contract from, the station master, the medtech, the bounty hunters, and some of the worker bees. Many of these, such as a competing captain and a station master, could have been eliminated without affecting the story. After we’re introduced to the mutiny, we don’t come back to it until later in the book.
Things get interesting when a battlebot, having killed a laboratory’s robot and human crew, tries to take over Stardancer’s loyal AI/robot technician. Then, things get interesting.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes an underdog story in a space opera environment, and Captain Dash is an interesting character who takes a licking and keeps on ticking.