Darkship Thieves, by Sarah Hoyt

Darkship Thieves - cover

Darkship Thieves
by Sarah Hoyt

Rating: 5/5

Series: Darkship Series by Sarah Hoyt

My introduction to Sarah Hoyt was through her web site “According to Hoyt”. I usually enjoy reading about her thoughts and ideas. She is an unabashed fan Robert Heinlein, and his influence shows in this book. I picked up this EPUB book as an introduction to her fiction. I’m glad I did, and enjoyed it very much.

The background story begins with an apparently biological solar energy storage system that is harvested by both Earth and a libertarian asteroid based society. The foreground story is of a young lady who escapes an apparent kidnapping. I was surprised and horrified by the ending, but it was carefully set up throughout the story.

This story is written in the first person, which normally I dislike, but about halfway through the book I ceased to notice.

The heroine of the story, primary character, chief trouble maker, and lady, is Athena Hera Sinistra, Patrician of Earth, an adult, but young, woman. The hero is Christopher “Kat” Bartolomeu Klaavil. He rescues our fair maiden, takes her back to his home under protest, and helps her to adapt to a profoundly libertarian society.

The principle antagonist and villain is the Honorable Patrician, Milton Alexander Sinistra of the ruling council of Earth, AKA, Daddy Dearest, who is Athena’s Father. He makes only infrequent minor appearances, but his handiwork appears throughout the book. A minor antagonist is Joseph Klaavil, brother to Kat’s dead wife. Yes, this is a mildly matriarchal society.

A couple interesting aspects of libertarian society are explored, those of justice and revenge, and protection. While there is no law, the society is governed by custom/tradition and contracts. I think we forget that tradition can be powerful enough to replace law. I had a history professor who explained that the leaders of the Germanic tribes didn’t make new laws, but “discovered” old law. In hindsight, I think he was describing how tradition and custom can accommodate rare or new situations. This society used duels and payments to accommodate inadvertent killings.

Another idea is that of protection. While both the hero and heroine are well able to protect and defend themselves, an additional protection comes from the threat of revenge by the family, especially from a powerful family. As an new inductee into an unfamiliar society, the heroine is extended protection by the hero by accepting responsibility for her. This also imposes responsibilities on his family. This reminds me loosely of the patronage system in the Roman Republic which extended the protection of powerful families on less powerful families.

I enjoyed reading this book, and hope to read the others in the series. However, I will probably wait until their prices drop a couple bucks before buying them. I gave it a 5/5 rating because I found it thought provoking.

© David B Snyder 2013