A high-seas pirate adventure is transformed, straight up, into space opera.
Tycho Hashoone has been vying with his twin sister, Yana, and older brother, Carlo, to be the next hereditary captain of his family’s privateer, Shadow Comet, all his life. Though he’s only 12, he’s already taking watches on the bridge and leading boarding parties of tattooed “crewers” armed with blasters and laser “musketoons” to capture prize ships. In this series opener, he also pitches in to unmask a scheme by His Majesty’s Sovereign Government of Earth and the nefarious Earth corporation GlobalRex to infiltrate the independent Jovian Union with hundreds of piratical “diplomats.” Fry plays a little fast and loose with astrophysics and gives this story set 300 years in the future a steampunk edge: Among other impossibilities, the Comet turns upside down in space, and gunnery crews “fling open the Comet’s gunports and winch the barrels of her weapons out through the hull.” He also loads up his supporting cast with colorful characters and his nonstop yarn with hot action or its imminent prospect.
As Tycho’s cyborg grandpa, a semiretired pirate who clanks about brandishing the blaster cannon that has replaced his lost forearm puts it: “Arrr.” (glossary of nautical and pirate lingo) (Steampunk. 10-12)