PYR, Dec 2007, $25.00, 323 pp.
Three thousand years from now, man created the Republic; many alien races joined it. Now the Republic is at war with the Teroni Federation. Commander Wilson Cole of the starship Theodore Roosevelt relieved a captain of her command and in doing so saved a planet and millions of lives. As a reward, he was arrested and awaiting a court-martial, but his squad freed him and they jumped to the Inner Frontier. They became pirates but for law abiding men and women used to a command structure they found out they were not good at piracy.
They become mercenaries selling their services to the highest bidder and found that a bit more honorable. They save lives including that of freeing a client who is held on a warlike isolationist planet; get the patients out of a hospital before an enemy warlord and his armada bears down on them; stopping a warlord from exterminating an entire planet; and saving a space station that is in neutral territory and where all species are welcome. Cole uses his brains to come out the victor especially since one of his most trusted of crew joined forces with their enemy.
Filled with action, brilliant planning for the success of a mission and characters that readers really care about STARSHIP MERCENARY like its predecessors PIRATE and MUTINY is a fabulous outer space saga. The hero is an honorable man treated dishonorably by the Republic he swore to protect but he is not bitter. He spends his time on missions he chooses and caring for each member of his team; and in return they give him their undying loyalty. Val, the pirate who become Cole’s Third Officer, doesn’t comprehend how the crew of the Teddy’s R can care for one another without demanding more in return. Mike Resnick is a great galaxy-builder as he describes alien species so readers believe they will exist in the future.