The fourth book in the Vatta’s War science fiction series.

Publication year: 2007
Format: Audio
Running time: 15 hours 3 minutes
Narrator: Cynthia Holloway

Kylara is finally on the trail of the space pirates who’re responsible for killing most of her family and the family business. She’s in command of three vessels and she’s trying to get more people, and governments, to stand up for the powerful and ruthless pirates. However, her small force needs supplies and repairs. With ansibles down, many planets don’t have a way to communicate with one another. And some are taking advantage of the lack of info. Gretna Station’s people are pretty despicable to begin with; they’re raging racists who don’t have any respect for anyone whose appearance doesn’t match they very specific criteria. Now, they’re also slavers. When Ky arrives there she fortunately gets a quick warning about what could happen.

Meanwhile, Rafe, Rafael Dunbarger, is finally returning home in the hope of patching things up with his father, who just happens to be the CEO of ISC, the company who owns that ansibles and therefore has a monopoly on interstellar communication. They had a falling out when Rafe has just a child and he has rarely seen his family after that. But when Rafe arrives, working undercover as he’s used to doing for many years, he doesn’t find his family and any attempts to contact them are blocked. Slowly, he finds out that two of his three sisters are dead, and the rest of his family have been kidnapped. He’s able to hire a competent team to rescue them, but’s that’s only the beginning of his problems: he needs to get the person who is behind this and who wants to control ICS himself.

Kylara’s cousin Stella is reeling with the news she received at the end of the previous book, Engaging the Enemy. Stella isn’t sure she has any place in the Vatta family, but Ky assures her that she wants her to continue building the business back. We also see a little of Aunt Gracie in her new position in the Slotter Key government.

This was a fast-paced continuation to the series. We finally get to see just what is wrong with ISC and why. We also get to see the (monetary) reasons behind their draconian way of dealing with anyone else who tries to repair the ansibles, despite them having been down for many months. I loved seeing Aunt Grace again and Stella is really coming in to her own. Rafe become a much more complex character in this book. Both Rafe and Grace have to deal with government/big company bureaucracy idiocy.

While Ky is still the main character of the series, we saw a little less of her in this book than in the previous book. Moon seems to have a way of giving her characters what they want and but not in the way that the characters want them. Ky gets more allies but she’s quite skeptical about them (I thought they were great). Ky wants a warship and gets a merchant ship modified into a warship, but not without problems. Stella wants to be seen as competent adult and not just the family idiot.

A great continuation to the series and a lead-up to the final book.