Somehow writing book reviews has turned into a chore lately. And the more I put it off the bigger and more intimidating the pile becomes...
First on the pile is Starship: Mercenary by Mike Resnick.
Continuing the saga of Wilson Cole and his ragtag band of refugees from the corrupt Republic Navy that started in Starship: Mutiny and went on to Starship: Pirate. It would probably make sense on its own, and the story stands fairly well, but it probably makes more sense if you have the full introduction to the characters from the previous books.
Really, it's pretty much of a piece with the previous volumes; the best indication of whether you would like it is what you thought of the earlier ones. It's fluffy space opera, but Resnick is too good a writer not to start sneaking in some real insights into humanity. In this one, we learn some things about the real meaning of loyalty and what it means to be a good leader. But mostly, we're just breathlessly blowing stuff up. 8 out of 10.
**** MINI PLOT SUMMARY -- SPOILERS ****
Because this is like six books ago, I don't remember the details too well. I'm not going to re-read it just to write a summary. Main things that happen: the Platinum Duke, owner of Singapore Station, becomes Teddy R's agent in finding mercenary gigs. They sneak into a Republic world to get some wounded they've taken responsibility for to a hospital, and then bluff their way out of being blatted by a Republic fleet. They recruit a Teroni captain, who's a renegade from his side the way Cole is from the Republic. A badass comes to recruit them to kill a planet; Cole won't have anything to do with it. Val defects and joins them. The badass then turns around to attack Singapore Station. Cole recruits the regular ships in dock to be his fleet and wins the battle. Val resigns as captain and goes back to being Third Officer of the Teddy R because she believes she has something to learn from serving under Cole.