Title: Starship: Mutiny
Author: Mike Resnick
Publisher: Pyr / Audible
Format: Hardback / Audio
Pages: 286 / 7 hours, 35 minutes
Release Date: December 2005 / April 2008Buy from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Audible.co.uk, Audible.com
The date is 1966 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now, and the Republic, created by the human race - but not yet dominated by it - finds itself in an all-out war.Starship: Mutiny is the first book in Mike Resnick's Starship series from Pyr and a book I should have got around to reading a long time ago. Technically I didn't even read it this time, I got it in audio format to help speed away my commutes and dog walking. That is one thing it certainly did - I ended up driving further and walking more just to listen to that little bit more of what turned out to be a great book.
They stand against the Teroni Federation, an alliance of races that resent Man's growing military and economic power. The main battles are taking place in the Spiral Arm and toward the Core. But far out on the Rim, the Theodore Roosevelt is one of three ships charged with protecting the Phoenix Cluster - a group of 73 inhabited worlds.
Old, battered, some of its weapon systems outmoded, the Teddy R. is a ship that would have been decommissioned years ago if weren't for the war. Its crew is composed of retreads, discipline cases, and a few raw recruits. But a new officer has been transferred to the Teddy R. His name is Wilson Cole, and he comes with a reputation for heroics and disobedience. Will the galaxy ever be the same?
It's 3000 years into the future and the human Republic and the alien races that are also a part of it are locked in a war against the Teroni Federation, an equally powerful starfaring race. Wilson Cole is a hero to the Republic citizens for winning battles that seemed unwinnable. However, the Republic Navy doesn't see him in the same light, despite awarding him some of the highest medals it can, and prefers to assign him to a ship full of the worst the Navy has and sending them out to a remote cluster in the hope that he'll be out of the spotlight. Of course, this doesn't go quite to plan, but what a journey we have on the way!
Seeing as this book (actually, the whole series) follows Wilson Cole, let's have a look at the unwanted hero that the Navy has in its ranks. He's extremely intelligent, but has won battles by ignoring orders from his superiors, been demoted from Commander twice and now finds himself as the second officer on a ship of misfits. In fact, Wilson Cole is the sort of soldier that any Navy should be proud to have and his reasoning and tactics are second to none when he commands his ships, but disobeying orders doesn't earn him and friends in the higher command ranks.
We pick up Wilson's story as he joins the Theodore Roosevelt, one of the older ships in the fleet, and they are sent to an unimportant star cluster to keep them out of the way. The crew lack discipline, the captain does not care and Wilson finds himself at a loss to their attitude. His first impressions on the captain, a human, and first officer, a podok, don't do much to help his cause on the Teddy R and it isn't long before he's hauled up by the captain about following orders to the letter and at loggerheads with the first officer over his decisions while in command during his shift.
This is a fairly short novel, but covers a lot of story and plenty of action. Resnick has a great skill at storytelling and I found myself in love with the setting he's created and enjoying the characters very much indeed. I get their motivations, their personalities and their actions - even the ones I dislike because of those traits. The plot moves quickly and fluidly and the conversations between the cast helping the pace to great amounts. There is plenty of action and the setting up and world building is done remarkably well in such a short page count.
Suffice to say that not everything goes according to plan in Starship: Mutiny, but that's where the enjoyment stems from. I want to know what is going to happen at the end of every chapter and often found myself continuing with the story for this very reason alone. Starship: Mutiny is a page turner, there is no other way to describe it.
If you love your space opera and military sf then this is a novel you really need to read. If you're anything like me you'll blast through it and be left very much wanting to read the sequel, Starship: Pirate.