Volume one in the Rim World series--which first appeared 20 years ago in paperback and features the Rim Runners: merchant space-mariners who operate decrepit spaceships crewed by rejects and dropouts from the various Federation shipping lines, plying their trade at the edge of the galaxy among isolated and largely undeveloped planets. In this one, Derek Calver, second officer aboard the Lorn Lady, ships out with old captain Engels and girlfriend Jane Arlen (who's convinced she's a jinx). On planet Tharn they become embroiled in a civil war (progressive priests vs. reactionary aristocrats), with Calver rescuing Arlen from the aristocrats' dolorous castle. On Grollor, Calver is nearly abducted by a libidinous Federation spy. And in deep space, thanks to the peculiarities of the temporal drive, they sight a ghost ship--their own--before old Lorn Lady finally comes apart at the seams. Imaginative and diverting enough, with old salt Chandler's nautical know-how adding verisimilitude--but, at 127 pages, decidedly thin.