Dark Star Rising

Harper Voyager. (Blackwood & Virtue, Bk. 2). Sept. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780063022690. pap. $7.99. SF
The officers and crew of HMSS Daring continue playing their double game in this second swashbucklers-in-space outing of the “Blackwood & Virtue” series (after The Winds of Marque). The story combines the details of the operations of the solar sailing ship with the dangerous hunt for a pirate lord attempting to take down an empire. The ship’s subcommander, Lord Liam Blackwood, and his partner, quartermaster and commoner Amelia Virtue, discover a liaison has come under siege as they pursue the pirate’s revolutionary followers. Amelia understands the desire to revolt against an oppressive system, and Blackwood agrees that there is a need for revolution but can’t imagine a system to replace the current one or even the logistics of a takedown—no matter how much the game of nobility has cost him personally. When it’s revealed the pirate Dark Star turns out to be a lost part of Blackwood’s past, loyalties are torn and jealousy rears its ugly head. But the mission must go on, and the empire must be preserved.
VERDICT This naval adventure in space is recommended for fans of David Weber’s character Honor Harrington and Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Vorkosigan Saga,” as all three combine adventure, espionage, tight-knit crews of adopted families, as well as a mix of governmental shenanigans, warfare, and political corruption.

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