The second book in the science fiction series.

Publication year: 2016
Format: ebook
Page count: Kindle doesn’t have them
Publisher: Kelt Haven Press

Full disclosure: Mr. Gallagher is a fellow member of the emailing list for fans of Lois McMaster Bujold.

This book continues the stories of Michigan “Mitchie” Long and the crew of cargo space ship Fives Full. The first book is Torchship.

The war between the Fusion worlds and the Disconnected worlds is heating up. The crew is now part of the Disconnected Worlds’ Defense Force and go where the admirals direct them. This time, they are sent to one of the Fusion worlds so that they can scan for enemy ships before a battle. This duty is quite dangerous because the enemy warships could destroy them at a moment’s notice. Fives Full isn’t a battle ship but it’s required for different kinds of operations. All very dangerous. Also, Mitchie has to deal with her in-laws…

The book is set in a future where Old Earth and the planets near it have been overrun by Artificial Intelligences and are therefore off limits to humans. The AIs are trying to destroy humanity. Meanwhile, humans have divided into two distinctive cultures: the wealthy Fusion worlds, where the government controls people tightly in order to continue the war against AIs, and the Disconnected worlds, which are less wealthy but the people live how they want to (as long as they can afford it). In fact, in this book we see some of the different cultures which make up the Disconnect.

Mitchie and her new husband are very cute together. He supports and trusts her. There are no sex scenes, though. However, Mitchie is an intelligence officer, in essence a spy. She puts duty above everything and her husband is starting to realize that.

Unlike in many other SF books or shows, the crew of Fives Full changes somewhat when needed. I was at first shocked and then delighted with it. The changes give the stories authenticity. Also, we’re introduced to a lot of new characters but not all at the same time. The new crew members are professionals in their own areas but lack expertize in others, so Mitchie gets to try teaching. The secondary characters have their own quirks and personalities, too.

Fives Full doesn’t have any weapons so action scenes don’t revolve around ships bombarding each other. In fact, time lag is a very substantial element in space battles, and in communication for that matter. No instant hits in this book, unless your ship is really close. Yet, I found the action scenes intense. Part of it could be that I haven’t read many books with such technology.

Like the first book, Torchship Pilot hasn’t got one plot line but a string of interconnected missions. It even answers some of the questions I had about the setting. The plot isn’t fast-paced, though.

This was a great sequel and I recommend reading Torchship first. If you like it, you’ll probably like this book, too.