When he graduates from the Academy at Port Newmar, Ishmael Horatio Wang reports for duty in his first assignment as an officer. When he gets to his new ship, he finds things are not exactly the way he'd learned in school. The coffee tastes like used engine oil, the ship has no heart, and the nearest decent tailor is two quadrants away. What's a new Third Mate to do? Will he be able to trust Billy?
This is the fourth book in the series, I really loved the first one, was terribly disapointed in the second, thought the third was ok and have been once again terrifically pleased with this the fourth.
I noted in my review of the first book that, well, nothing happened, and that despite that, it was a terrific audio book. This book diverges from that and has a real plot!
I know what I've written sounds like a downer for the series, and though it's true that I've been unimpressed with one of the books, and I've said nothing happens, never the less the books are a fantastic listen. The author is reading his own work here and has such a haunting delightful voice that it brings the characters to life and makes the whole experience sparkle.
Anyway, onto the story. In this book, the hero becomes Third Mate on a trade ship that has trouble. The ship is nothing like his previous ship where everyone looked out for each other and formed one big happy family. Here, everything is dark and brooding, menace is in the air, and danger is stalking the decks. Officers aren't all you might expect and crew really are not your friends. It's almost a coming of age story, except the hero is not becoming an adult, he's an Officer instead.
It's a bit of a turn from the earlier books, and I was drawn in but the crouching danger element. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
One question that's been bothering me about this, is the idea of the hero being a "Third Mate", I would have expected "Third Lieutenant", which is more in keeping with naval tradition. Ho Hum.
Seriously, if you haven't tried this series, give it a go.
Total Score 7/9
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