Title: Starship: Pirate
Author: Mike Resnick
Publisher: Pyr / Audible
Format: Hardback / Audio
Pages: 344 / 8 hours, 41 minutes
Release Date: December 2006 / April 2008
Buy from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Audible.co.uk, Audible.com
The date is 1967 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now. The Republic, created by the human race but not yet dominated by it, is in the midst of an all-out war with the Teroni Federation. After his latest exploit saved millions of lives but embarrassed his superiors, Captain Wilson Cole, a man with a reputation for exceeding orders but getting results, found himself the victim of the media feeding frenzy, a political scapegoat despite years of dedicated military service. Faced with a court martial, he was rescued by the loyal crew of his ship, the Theodore Roosevelt. Now branded mutineers, the crew of the Teddy R. has quit the Republic, never to return.After enjoying myself immensely with Starship: Mutiny I had to go straight on to Starship: Pirate. The ending of the first book was great and it opened a whole lot of interesting situations up to the crew of the Teddy R. Starship: Pirate was never going to be the same sort of book as Mutiny, but I jumped into it in the hope that the essence of what I enjoyed was still present. Suffice to say that I had as much fun here as I did in the first, but this time with some excellent new characters thrown into the mix!
Seeking to find a new life for themselves, Wilson Cole and comrades remake the Teddy R. as a pirate ship and set sail for the lawless Inner Frontier. Here, powerful warlords, cut-throat pirates, and struggling colonies compete for survival in a game where you rarely get a second chance to learn the rules.
But military discipline is poor preparation for a life of pillaging and plundering, and Cole’s principles naturally limit his targets. Seeking an education on the nature of piracy, Cole hunts more knowledgeable players. Enter the beautiful but deadly Valkyrie, Val for short, and the enigmatic alien fence known as David Copperfield. But hanging over everything is the fearsome alien pirate — the Hammerhead Shark.
With Starship: Pirate, five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick continues the story begun in his very first military SF. Will the galaxy ever be the same?
It's the aftermath of the mutiny trail, during which the crew of the Teddy R busted Wilson Cole out of jail, and now the former Navy ship finds itself on the run. The only place it can go where they will be relatively safe is the Inner Frontier, a place devoid of Republic influence and with more than its fair share of opportunities. With few choices at their disposal and the need to run a ship while paying and feeding the crew, the only real option the find themselves faced with is Piracy. With Cole having such a strong moral code the targets he's willing to let them face becomes very small indeed, but with his cunning they soon find themselves bringing in the hard cash.
I was a little sceptical about how Resnick would pull off a Navy crew converting to the life of crime as pirates on the Inner Frontier, but I shouldn't have worried. Once again he manages to write with style and flair, delivering a mighty novel in such a short page count. There are no prolonged passages where Resnick is having to explain anything, instead letting the story tell itself through the characters, all of which are great to see again, plus the new additions to the cast help spice things up a bit.
Cole is still his usual self, leading the crew of the Teddy R and making the right choices. But what we also get are great supporting characters: Forrice, Cole's best friend and 1st officer; Sharron, security chief on the Teddy R and also Cole's lover; Val, a seven foot tall pirate queen that Cole encounters on an excursion; David Copperfield, an alien fence that has taken to the works of Charles Dickens. These are all characters that bring life to the pages of Starship: Pirate and can easily deliver the action and conversation required to enjoy the book. Mike Resnick sure has an expert way with characters!
I must admit that I particularly liked the introduction of Val to the crew of the Teddy R. She's vicious and deadly, but has other qualities lurking behind those that make her the sort of character that you just enjoy being with. Her interactions are mostly with Cole, but given her background she still manages to fit in easily on a Navy ship. The friendship between Cole and Forrice is also a highlight and allows the reader to really get into the characters, letting us see more than just the day to day life on board a military ship.
I can safely say that after this book I am hooked on Mike Resnick. Roll on Starship: Mercenary!