Merchanter's Luck by C.J. Cherryh
The Company Wars #2
Now this was a great novel. It's so short so some even consider this a novella. After the long, and sometimes a bit long-winded, introduction to the Earth Company – Alliance – Union universe, we get to go for a ride with some merchanter's who get caught up in things bigger than themselves.
The novel follows a spacer who owns his own ship but is barely scraping by. He is a thief, but one who just steals enough to survive, and tries to pay it back when he can. Of course, running a ship with one man is very difficult so he is always looking for other people to help him out. When looking for a crew member, he happens to meet a nice lady. Things escalate from there until they are both joined up with each other on a mission. The mission is not what it seems, but the crew of the ship learns a lot about themselves, and this new Alliance-Union world.
I love novels by Cherryh because she takes a big world, with huge political forces at play, and then zooms into a the lives of some people trying to survive in this world. In Heavytime, she looked at the lives of space pilots that work for the Earth company doing the mining. In this novel, she is focused on marginers. What would it be like to work as a trader in this world if you were just a little guy? Once she focuses on characters in her world, she can start delving into the details of their world – how does shipping work across stations? do you need papers? who gets cargo and why?
Come to think of it, almost all the books I've read so far have had character who have been in difficult situations. Station people who don't have the correct papers. Miners who find a dead body. Captains who don't have enough crew and money to survive. Spacers with no ship who are homeless and trying to get back on a ship. She really excels with these types of characters.
I've read many sci-fi novels which are all high level events. You never know about the little things, like where does the trash go? Do you need papers to show you own your ship? Cherryh thinks about these small details. It makes her worlds so rich, and vibrant.
Reading Downbelow Station isn't required before this one, but they do mention lots of characters and things from Downbelow Station. Your experience reading this book will be much richer if you start with Downbelow Station.
Psst...have you noticed that I'm on a Cherryh tear right now? I'm already reading Rimrunners!
Book #100 in my #ReadingChallenge2021
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