The Golden Age of The Solar Clipper series takes a turn with this fourth volume. Ishmael Horatio Wang has just graduated after four years at the academy and has applied for a position posted on the bulletin board: third mate for a small outfit called Diurnia Salvage and Transport, a company with only a dozen ships.
He’s hired and passage to Diurnia is sent by the company. He arrives and learns his assignment: the William Tinker.
From his two years aboard the Lois McKendrick and the training missions while at the academy, he knows every ship is different. Bur coming aboard the Tinker is a revelation.
The ship smells, something Ishmael knows can easily be fixed by cleaning the oxygen scrubbers. The crewman that meets him is wearing a dirty shipsuit, a big stain on one sleeve. As he moves through the ship, he notices dirt piled up in corners, smeared port windows.
And the coffee sucks.
He learns early that the Captain leaves the ship as soon as it hits port and doesn’t return until just before take-off for their next destination. He never leaves his cabin during a voyage except briefly at jump time. And the man is suspicious of Ishmael when he learns he’d been hired and sent out before there was an official opening for third mate. Ishmael, in fact, was the third third mate in a year. The Captain let him know right away that his word was law out in the Deep Dark.
The first mate was an abusive and derelict man named Burnside. He had a couple of bully boys that did whatever he told them.
The crew was mostly slovenly and undisciplined.
The only area he found up to standards was Engineering. Clean and crisp, the crew all functioned the way Ishmael assumed went on all over
Another thing he learned was the change was unwelcome and dangerous.
Ishmael was anything if not determined. He could see a good crew at heart with some disturbing glimpse of Burnside and his bullies. He’s determined, though to help the crew find it’s heart. But he has to tread lightly if he wants to make it to the next destination alice: ten weeks away. There were disturbing rumors about such as well.
DOUBLE SHARE is my favorite of the series so far. It just keeps getting better as it goes along. Here's the link.