Third of Drake's far-future space swashbucklers (Through the Breach, 1995, etc.) inspired by the Elizabethan Age of Discovery. Again, the heroic, libertarian Venusians battle the evil empire of the Earth Federation, this time in a plot based upon the exploits of buccaneer/explorer Sir Francis Drake (no relation, the author adds). The sole innovation here is the advent of a female starship captain, Sal Blythe, who makes a business arrangement with troubled warrior Stephen Gregg to join the Venusian raiding squadrons despite the initial disapproval of their god-fearing, inspirational captain, Piet Ricimer. So, after a mediocre string of raids and skirmishes, author Drake offers up a space version of a famous historical England vs. Spain sea showdown. By now--the only development of any lasting interest--Sal and Stephen, both suffering battle-related stress and trauma and drinking heavily, have found some solace in each other's arms. A two-dimensional shoot-'em-up, the weakest and least inventive entry so far in a fading series.