Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a ragtag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be if he can get his command ship-the derelict cruiser called Hope's Folly-functioning. Not much can rattle Philip's legendary cool-but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She's the daughter of his best friend and first commander-a man who died while under Philip's command and whose death is on Philip's conscience.
Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie
since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an
encounter with the hardened man, and newly minted rebel leader, once she
learns the truth about her father's death? Or will her passion for
revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It's an
impossible mission: A man who feels he can't love. A woman who believes
she's unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them
Comment: I'm aware many people loved this book, in particular people I know. I liked the author's books so far and despite the last book's end being a bit of a lesson on how to see a HEA not end up as perfectly as that, I was curious enough to keep reading stories about this series and which way things would go.
This is Phillip's story, he's been a recurrent character in the series and has now his chance to play a more important role.
Phillip comes from a very rich family and at 45 he's disappointed the Fleet has reached the point where things are. Phillip feels his duty is to bring peace to the galaxy again and the way he sees things, his plan is to become a rebel admiral. He takes command of the Hope's Folly but one thing after the other keeps delaying the ship's functionality and Phillip, along with his crew must solve things before the Imperial Fleet destroys the ship.
But hen there is Rya Bennton, she's the daughter of one of his friends, now deceased because of the war within the galaxy. But Phillips's reaction to Rya isn't that of an uncle and despite the sixteen years between them it's hard to avoid Rya or what she makes him feel...
This book follows the action sequences after the second book in this Dock Five series which was Shades of Dark. Now we see Phillip trying to have the command of a new ship and the difficulties of having an honest and trustworthy crew.
I guess one can say this book features two important subjects. Phillip and Rya's relationship and Philip's attempts to fight the Imperial forces.
As for the latter, the action scenes are very particular and detailed, which adds drama and seriousness to the plot, the whole story. But in reality I couldn't seem to go past the idea nothing really happens in this book in terms of action. The plot is how to bring the ship to work and to uncover a spy's actions to bring the ship's personal to prison or to to capture. I also have to give the deserved congratulations to the author because she managed to add enough credibility and emotion to the story that the fact things are pretty much static isn't almost unaware to the reader.
Still, I was entertained enough to read the story quite fast and there was always a will to carry on, to keep reading. Although I couldn't avoid the fact things were always the same, I still liked the ship's details, the little things about the ship's workings and how everyone there acted.
Now, the characters.
Phillip is an honorable person and has always done everything to his power to be respected and to work honestly. He's feeling the Fleet has done a disservice to everyone who always honored its name and goals. He plans to help restore the Fleet's honor any way he can and that means at the moment to fight against those in power. His moral and values are the key stones to his character. I liked how honest he was and how he defended the right things. He's a very likable character and in this book we see a softer side to him too, something we figured might exist but wasn't ever exploited in the other books where he was.
Of course there's his feelings about the age difference to Rya. I thought this would be a stronger point of content, or maybe the reason for a more dramatic story line but in fact Phillip seemed to act with a wise knowledge of his own honesty. He knew he was attracted and he knew he should leave her alone but he even knew more that she was important to him.
I appreciate his honest feelings although this subject could have been dealt with a different POV, I don't mean it should be more angsty or anything, but perhaps with a different take...
Then there's Rya. She obviously doesn't care about the age difference and she always liked Phillip since a child when he was with her late father. But I didn't like Rya that much, and I think some aspects of her personality and fears weren't addressed the best way. She has some self esteem issues, not about her work or her value as a person, but about her image, her take on personal relationships. All things to consider because everyone's different and worthy and flawed at their own merits, value and worth. But I thought things were talked about too subtly and with too much easiness. Like the possibilities were more intense than th resolution.
Then there was her take on sexual connections before Phillip and her developing love for him. I get it, but I don't really appreciate characters who act their fears and whatever issues through several sexual encounters without meaning and just for fun. This made me not like her as much as I think many other readers do, but as always, it's a matter of personal preference.
All in all, a good enough book, I was motivated to read and even despite the things I didn't like as much, I was still captivated by the book and the writing to want to read more in the future.