Book Review: A Dead Ship in a Deep Black by Rene Astle

Reviewed: January 24th, 2022
Released: August 16th, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction

Rule number 1: Whatever you do, don’t open the box.

Well, that’s rule number two actually. Rule number one is don’t take salvage jobs from people who’ve tried to sell you to an Antillian bug salesman.

Neara “Tink” Bell is used to a life of odd jobs and even odder crewmates, working as the engineer and all-around fixer on the cargo ship Lyra. But when the ship picks up two new crew members and a salvage job on a third-rate space station, things go sideways in a cosmic way.

Alek Wa is on the run. And he’s pretty sure he can hide amongst the motley crew of Lyra. But that’s not the only reason he’s on-board. He has a mission. If only his minders had told him what it was.

Captain Rebeka Mino just wants to retire with a whiskey and a steamy novel. She’d even let the ship’s cat sit on her lap, provided he keeps his claws to himself. Too bad the ship keeps getting shot at.

And when they arrive at the coordinates for the salvage job, they’re confronted by a dead ship in the deep black.

Can Tink keep the Lyra running despite unexplained accidents? Can Alek outrun the people hunting him? Can Rebeka prevent their pursuers from blowing them up? Most importantly, can they keep their curiosity in check and not look in the box?

Helen’s thoughts: 4/5

An enjoyable science fiction adventure following the space ship Lyra and her crew as they try and survive the shady jobs their captain finds for them. There are many factions in power, all of them stronger than the crew of the Lyra.

Add to that two new crew members and it becomes a challenge to know who is working for whom.

I loved the crew. The characters were the best bit for me. The plot not so much. Each chapter jumps to a different crew member’s view point, but I didn’t see the benefit of the story being from so many different points of view when you didn’t actually see much of their thoughts or motivation. I think it might have been stronger from a more limited POV set. Without giving spoilers, I found that at the end, I still didn’t know what one of the crew’s motivations were, which was a little frustrating.

All in all, the characters were sympathetic, the writing was good, but the factions needed to be more clearly differentiated for me.

About the author:

Rene Astle writes science fiction and dystopian tales (as well as urban fantasy under the name C. Rene Astle – she’s sneaky like that).

An avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, she eventually realized she need to pick up the virtual pen to give life to the characters rattling around in her brain pan.

When she’s not writing or reading, you can find her at her day job in tech or in the garden, unless she’s out running or hiking in supernatural British Columbia.

Available for purchse via Amazon

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook

Link to book on Amazon US: ebook

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook or paperback: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Book Three: Sentinals Justice. Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

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