After I reviewed Sarah Hoyt’s Heart of Light, a friend of mine sent me a copy of Hoyt’s first science fiction novel, Darkship Thieves, just to show me that she really does write good stuff. He was right.
Darkship Thieves is a consciously Heinleinesque tale set in a future Solar System. Our heroine, Athena Hera Sinistra, daughter of one of the oligarchs who run the Earth, wakes from sleep in her stateroom on her father’s ship in orbit around Earth to discover a man about to give her an injection. Athena is a piece of work: spoiled, temperamental, the terror of boarding schools all over the world, and extremely accustomed to getting her own way; she’s also strong, fast, skilled in hand-to-hand combat (for reasons that make sense, in context) and lickety-split she’s made it to one of the ship’s escape pods and used to, well, escape.The pod is picked up by one of the so-called “darkship thieves”, a clandestine ship that harvests the power pods that grow in Earth orbit and takes them to a colony asteroid that’s not supposed to exist, and there begins a tale of mystery, villainy, derring do, and true love. Athena, as I said, is a piece of work…but an insistence on getting your own way is not always a bad thing, assuming you can adjust what you want a bit.
This is the kind of story where a good bit of the fun lies in learning (with the main characters) just how the world got to be the way it is, and in which the accepted public explanation and the truth are rather different. It’s good fun, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.
(Oh, and for those who know their Heinlein: this is the Heinlein of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress rather than the Heinlein of either Have Space Suit, Will Travel or Stranger in a Strange Land. Which is to say that Hoyt pushes against current social mores a bit, but doesn’t take it to absurdity. Also, I think Hoyt might be better at characterization.)