Ghost in the Dark Review
The first book in the new "season" of the Wings of Earth series, Ghost in the Dark is a masterful page turner and starts of this season with major changes and consequences for Captain Ethan Walker and his crew. Having gained a seat on the Commonwealth's Council of Captains (privateers and pirates) Ethan has almost complete access to a hidden Shan Takhu base, but he needs a scientist with specific skills to help unlock the Shan Takhu secrets. Now, nearly a year after going missing, Ethan and his crew are returning to the Coalition to find help. But unknown to Captain Walker there are those within the Coalition who do not think he went missing, despite the reports from Fleet Com, and who think that Walker is just too slick for his own good. They begin a determined effort to find Walker to really learn what happened, and how much he knows. The stakes cannot be higher as the terrorist anti-plusser group, Red Wall, has also set its sights on causing more trouble, and drawing Ethan and crew into a role that is generally not expected of a freighter captain, that of heroes.
Once again I loved this book. Eric Michael Craig does a fantastic job of not only weaving hard-scifi with the fantastical elements that make space opera fiction so fun to read, but he has created a dynamic cast of characters that continue to grow and expand as the series progresses. Walker's ship, the Olympus Dawn, was nearly destroyed at the end of the last season (Book 5 in the series) and has been rebuilt almost from the keel up, incorporating a lot of Shan Takhu tech that even Walker and his crew have little understanding of how it actually all works. Sure they ship can travel faster than anything else (hitting a whopping 24,000 times the speed of light at one point!) and they have created a jump door - basically a point-to-point miniature wormhole - that allows them to "teleport" into places from space. A handy trick that Craig uses masterfully in the story. The problem is that all these "black boxes" allow them to use the tech, without fully understanding how it works. Walker and crew have cut a lot of corners, and given them a bit of overconfidence that may come to bite them later. (We shall see.) At the same time, there are people within the Coalition that think Walker isn't as innocent as he claims to be. He is making enemies that he doesn't even know about that will soon make it impossible for him to ever return to a "normal" life (if he ever had one). Craig's storytelling is at its best here, weaving a complex and detailed plot, filled with wonderful scifi tech, and complex characters.
I highly recommend Ghost in the Dark. It fits perfectly within the Wings of Earth series (be sure to read books 1 to 5) and greatly expands Eric's universe. Filled with action, drama, and quite a bit of daring-do, not to mention the intrigue, Ghost in the Dark is a masterful read from start to finish.