Why I Read It: Loved the author’s latest book Owl Dance.
Where I Got It: My book shelf.
Who I Recommend This To: If you are into very fast-paced space operas, you might enjoy this.
Publisher: Commonwealth Publications (1996)
Length: 328 pages
Series: Book 1 The Old Star Saga
This book opens with some privateers, Captain Firebrandt and crew, having it out in space with a military ship captained by a relative of Firebrandt, which leads to some awkward decisions. After loosing most of his crew, Privateer Firebrandt barely manages to land his ship on an uninhabited world. He has his first officer Roberts and his woman Suki for companions. Without the ability to gain space in the near future, they set to making a life on their planet, including the next generation.
This book spans 4 generations of the Firebrandts and can skip ahead decades at a time. As the planet Sufiro becomes known to the galaxy, pioneers from cramped human worlds make the trip to farm and raise a family in open air. This idyllic setting lasts until a rare and expensive metal integral to space flight is discovered on one of the large continents of the planet. This is where the true drama starts.
Over time, the mining communities become rich and technologically-advanced. However, they also become dependent on cheap labor, often ‘imported’ from the farming communities of the metal-dearth continent. Throw in the pressure of needing a beefed-up space fleet to combat a superior alien species, and you get Great Needs versus What Is Right.
This book read like a series of short stories, with the constant fast pace and the leaps in time. While this meant that the characters often lacked depth, I still found myself growing attached to the Firebrandts and their Sufiro neighbors, such as Espedie Raton. It was very interesting to me to have read David Lee Summers‘ latest book (Owl Dance) and then to have jumped back in time to his first published work. I can see how his skill as a writer has grown in the near-two decades in between these books.
What I Liked: The unexpected happens and you have to be able to roll with it, like many of the characters in this book; the women were sexually independent and free to make their own choices as equally as the men; lots of Spanish lingo.
What I Disliked: Not much character depth; for the most part, the women were wives and didn’t play a large role in the book; I sometimes found the leaps in time a bit much and would have liked the book to slow down at certain points.