Spectra, Apr 26 2011, $16.00
In Vardia, Darian Frey is captain and solo driver of the Ketty Jay. He works closely with freebooters. However, his quasi-legal world crashes when a robbery in the air leaves someone dead. He is accused of the murder as well as piracy by law enforcement.
Frey knows he must flee before the authorities Century Knights, bounty hunters or a nasty ex Trinica Dracken catches him; the latter being the most dangerous threat. Because his crew is ruthless and sleazy with each out to take care of only number one (as does the captain), he distrusts them but needs their support. They were loyal to him only due to the fact he owns and steers the aerium-fueled aircraft they use in their heists. He needs to keep track of each of them because he believes at least one of them sold him and his team out, but who and to whom remains nebulous. Beleaguered Frey considers the daemonist accompanied by his golem, the new recruit and the alcoholic doc as the most likely suspects because the frame takes intelligence and contacts.
From the opening Russian Roulette scene until the final confrontation, this is a fun steampunk fantasy. Frey and the key secondary characters are developed over the course of the entertaining story line. Although the plot at times slows down under the weight of the vivid background, sub-genre fans will enjoy riding the Ketty Jay.