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Merchanter's Luck
Rendezvous at Downbelow Station
By C. J. Cherryh

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Merchanter's Luck: Rendezvous at Downbelow Station

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Merchanter's Luck: Rendezvous at Downbelow Station
Large Print Edition
By C. J. Cherryh
Thorndike Press - Large Print, (2002)
ISBN: 0-7862-4137-3
Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - September 13, 2002

Sandor Kreja has had a hard life, and he was forced to grow up almost overnight when pirates murdered his parents and shipmates - right before his eyes. Sandor was lucky - sort of. Two other shipmates survived, one of whom had the foresight to program the space ship's computer with everything that the young lad would need to know if events should transpire so that he had to learn to run the ship alone. They did.

As the Merchanter's Luck: Rendezvous at Downbelow Station opens, Sandor, who is barely out of his teens, has become a savvy trader and expert ship's captain. He has also learned that to succeed in life, he must sometimes do things that are not exactly legal. Going under the name Ed Stevens, Sandor chances to meet Allison Reilly, with whom he falls unrealistically in love with. Their chance meeting is to change Sandor's life forever. When the Dublin Again sets out for the Pell System, Sandor races after the much faster ship, arriving a mere two days behind his target. His arrival was ill timed, and he quickly runs afoul of the local authorities. Were it not for the timely interference of Allison, he may well have lost his ship.

Thrown together, Sandor and Allison form an alliance that is to the benefit of both. Allison brings to the Lucy money, power, and fellow crew mates. And Sandor, in turns, offers her a chance at being second in command, albeit of a much smaller ship than she first set her eyes upon. Plus, as sole member of his crew, he is in desperate need of new crew members. For Allison's part, she is a mere cog on the great ship, Dublin Again. Although slated for command, she will be an old lady well before any slots open up for her, so she jumps at the chance of joining Sandor on the Lucy.

Their alliance is shaky, at best, and it quickly comes under increased tensions as the Lucy is drafted by the army to carry military supplies to a desolate outpost. Worse, for Sandor at least, the military commander who has effectively commandeered his ship, once belonged to the faction that turned pirate and she may have had a hand in the murder of Sandor's ship family.

This fast paced space opera by C. J. Cherryh has a little something for everyone - a love interest, space races, pirates, military battles, shading dealings, mysteries galore, and lots of adventures. Sandor is a quiet type of hero, more poignant than flamboyant and he is paired with a strong female lead in this thrilling space adventure.

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