BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Athena Hera Sinistra is the daughter of one of Earth’s most powerful men. While traveling back to Earth from Circum Terra, there is a mutiny aboard her father’s spaceship. Athena manages to evade capture in an escape pod, but winds up being rescued by a Darkship Thief. These Thieves stealthily mine the power rings for power pods which provide Earth, and the thieves, their power. In her quest to return to Earth, Athena experiences many strange and exciting things and learns the dark secret behind her, and her father’s, existence.
Darkship Thieves reads like an early to mid-Heinlein novel. It has a precocious, supremely competent and intelligent female protagonist, a very libertarian leaning society which challenges Athena’s view of the way things work, lots of action and plot more interested in story, with the occasional humor, than in is in scientific rigor. Throw in some interesting and sympathetic good guys, not to mention the decidedly bad bad guys, and Darkship Thieves is one of those rare books I couldn’t put down and couldn’t wait to pick up again. I don’t want to go to in depth about the story as part of the fun of the book is discovering, along with Athena, the wonders of the asteroid home of the Thieves, Eden, and the secret history of Earth’s past that involves Athena and her Father. Along the way Athena learns a lot about herself and grows into a fully capable human as opposed to the spoiled brat she starts out as.
About the only nits I found with the book are very minor. Most of the book is paced quite nicely mixing action and slower moments well. However, I felt the middle, where Athena first enters Eden, slowed down for a bit as Athena is busy assimilating an entirely new culture (and what an interesting one it is!) The book does pick back up again however. The other thing that bothered me a bit was how easily the difficulties were overcome close to the climax. I know with this type of strong lead that happens, but it still doesn’t sit quite right. Fortunately, these nits are really just roadbumps in the story and don’t ruin what is otherwise a hugely entertaining story. If you like your science fiction with a bit of old school adventure Darkship Thieves is highly recommended.