Another entry in Moon’s family saga about the powerful space-trader Vatta family (Marque and Reprisal, 2004, etc.).
Previously, space pirates disabled the ansibles (instantaneous communicators) in many systems, thus rendering interstellar commerce all but impossible. Worse, they attacked Vatta HQ on the planet Slotter Key, killing most of the family. Young ship’s captain Kylara quickly retaliates with her tiny force of three ships; soon joining her will be three flamboyant, undisciplined commanders in small, lightly armed but fast ships that Kylara can use as scouts. Another Vatta survivor, Stella, becomes CEO, while a third, tough, cunning old Grace, becomes an authority in the government. The pirates also targeted ISC, owner of the disabled ansibles (its monopoly kept it rich and influential). When the Dunbarger family’s black sheep, secret agent Rafe, returns to ISC’s HQ on Planet Nexus, he learns that his parents and sister have been kidnapped by Lewis Parmina. Once ISC’s second in command, Parmina evidently is in cahoots with the pirates, so Rafe must try to arrange for his family’s rescue while scheming to regain control of ISC. Kylara, meanwhile, needs munitions and must risk her tiny fleet to get them, following which she will run into old friends from the mercenary Mackensee Corporation, and lend a timely assist when Mackensee ships are threatened by the pirates. The pirates, however, have a huge advantage: They have shipboard ansibles. But then, so does Kylara.
Strong female leads, terrific action and complications aplenty: should grab existing fans and win new converts.