This is the second book in the Vatta's War
series; I reviewed the first here
This one starts exactly where the last left off. Someone attacks the Vattas both in space and on land and kills the ansibles again so Ky is left on her own with her crew in space. She reaches Lastway and has people try to kill her twice. Moon brings in another story -- Ky's cousins Stella and Toby and a friend of Stella's, Rafe -- and has them meet up at Lastway. Rafe turns out to be a clandestine ansible agent. Ky gets a letter of marque from her planet sent before the Vatta headquarters were destroyed (the joy of long-distance mail) and isn't even sure it's valid anymore, but sets it aside because she plans to get back at whoever it was who killed her family.
Ky has the inadvertant leader of the mercenaries in port come ask her to hire them because their money is held (no ansibles) and the crew will go on survival rations. She finds a way to benefit both the mercenaries and herself and asks for a different liaison. Then she realizes that the mercenaries can convoy more than her ship out of Lastway and gets other captains to join. Her ship undocks quickly when some rogue repair scooters head out. The dock thinks she's violating rules until the scooters chase her.
The convoy reaches a close system, unblocks the ansible, and also sees a Vatta ship that's not really Vatta anymore. Cousin Osman was bought out because of his bad behavior, but he absconded with the ship. The convoy goes on while Ky tentatively talks to Osman. Osman turns out to be a very bad guy who calls more bad guys -- maybe the group who killed her family -- and this brings the wild violent battle for the ships. Osman wants to kill their crew and take their ship; Ky wants to take their ship and kill Osman. One of the tools used is a limpet mine and Ky stops Osman from putting it on her ship and then stores it on the hull, facing outward. When one of the mercenaries comes back into that system, that captain asks why the mine is there. Ky says she didn't want to hit Osman's boat with it and "besides... a mine is a terrible thing to waste." So I've been reading all this bloody violent battle and hit that line. Read it again and shake my head slowly.
I have every expectation that the next book will be just as good, but I have to read Watchmen
for bookgroup next. This is turning out to be a really great series.