As the Republic's most wanted fugitive, military outlaw Wilson Cole has had to create a new life for his crew aboard the Teddy R. In Starship : Pirates, he found his sense of honor got in the way of plundering the Inner Frontier and so stumbled into the mercenary business. His new "dear" friend David Copperfield (an alien who fancies himself something out of a Dicken's novel) uses his connections from his old life as the Frontier's most successful fence to find Cole's rapidly growing force jobs for hire. One of Cole's best assets in the mercenary business is the Valkyrie, a pirate queen with a quick, and sometimes deadly, temper.
A new partnership with the owner of Singapore Station, the Platinum Duke, brings them plenty of opportunities that satisfy Cole's sense of honor. Freeing planets from warlords, or evacuating hospitals in the line of fire are just the sort of thing the crew of the Teddy R wants to do. But it isn't exactly all Val wants. Cole's sense of honor is keeping them from more profitable runs and eventually the two find themselves on opposite sides of a job.
I must admit, I was getting a bit bored with the character's in the Starship series. This is the third title (the first two are Starship : Mutiny and Starship : Pirates) and I didn't feel the characters has changed or grown all that much. The formula was pretty much the same-- Wilson Cole goes up against an enemy and despite the odds and the risks, he comes out on top. He inspires the whole crew while trying to fend off the inevitable hero worship. Even his relationship with Sharon was predictable. That's why I took a liking to this title. I felt there was a real challenge to Cole in Starship : Mercenary, one that tested his honor and his friendships.
If you've been reading the Starship series by Mike Resnick, definitely pick up Starship : Mercenary. Even if you haven't read the other books, there's enough back story to keep you informed. I think this is the best in the series so far.
Starship : Mercenary by Mike Resnick is available at Amazon.com
Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of Starship:Mercenary