A co-worker recommended Rachel Bach's trilogy to me since she knows I enjoy military SF. And I thank her right now for the suggestion. Fortune's Pawn introduces mercenary soldier Deviana Morris. Devi's ultimate goal is to join the elite special forces of her planetary kingdom, but to do so she can either spend years in the military slogging her way up the ranks, or go mercenary and get the needed bad-ass experience that way. A friend (sometime lover) suggests she get a job on The Glorious Fool, a ship that has seen a lot of action. A year in service with Captain Caldswell will almost guarantee her future success. Because Devi is capable and experienced she is immediately hired on as security for the Fool. Now she just has to survive her year in space.
The blurb for the book says that Devi is a cross between Ripley and Starbuck and I'd say that's fair, much to my delight. Devi is initially pretty bored in her new job and isn't sure she'll make it a whole year if all she does is make rounds. Sure, Rupert, the quiet cook, has certainly sparked interest in a personal way, but nothing else has. Until they're attacked by pirates and their stop on a planet goes awry. It soon becomes clear that the Fool is far more then a simple trading ship and Devi begins to suspect that their's far more to every one of the motley crew. The science is light in this adventure but the aliens Devi meets and works with are well drawn and believably different from humans. And the plotting is just right, building to a climactic battle that has a lasting impact on Devi. I'm ready to dive into book two, Honor's Knight, immediately, if not sooner.