The first book in a science fiction series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Publication year: 2016
Format: ebook, kindle
Publisher: Parvus Press

Victoria Marlin is the captain of a privateer starship Condor. She and her crew of vultures (as they call themselves) has the task of capturing alien technology from starships crippled in battle (or I assume by accidents but that seems to be very rare). United Earth is the newest player in the very crowed space and it’s also one of the smallest, so they want to get every edge they can get.

Marlin hadn’t had much luck in many months when they suddenly pick up a distress call from a ship which belongs to one of the Big Three alien species: the Malagath. They head for that ship, hoping for a good catch but get more than they bargained for because the commander of the ship is still alive with a handful of his followers. The First Prince Tavram is disdainful of all the lesser races but wants to survive. Trouble is that his enemy is still in ruthless pursuit, and Marlin and her crew will have to use every trick they have to stay alive.

I enjoyed this book very much. It’s fast-paced with multiple POV characters in a very interesting setting. Earth is a definite underdog in space and it’s trying to get their hands on alien tech whenever they can. Humans have spread to many planets but apparently need friendly aliens to vouch for them. But humans have a couple of aces up their sleeves and they’re using every chance they get.

Marlin is a hard-drinking and cursing captain who still has a strong streak of honor. She’s also eager to bed any good looking human man, no matter if he’s married or not. She pushes her crew hard, but she also does everything she can to keep them alive and safe. She doesn’t get much support from United Earth itself. However, she has good relations with a few alien races who deal with the humans regularly. She’s also made one race an enemy, as well.

First Prince and his enemy Best Wishes are also POV characters and it’s very interesting to see the humans from their POV. They are part of very big and powerful empires and know it. However, the First Prince is a bit of an anomaly among his kind and so is Best Wishes, so they also have enemies among their own kind.

We also get other POV characters, as the story unfolds. One of them is a marine who has become an engineer. However, the characterization was rather light except for the First Prince and Best Wishes. Ironically, I don’t know if they’re going make another appearance.

Still, an interesting crew and a fast-paced story.