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It is approximately fifteen years in the future and the moon is being mined for its helium to fuel the world’s fusion reactors. The payloads coming back to earth are worth billions; attracting the interest of pirates who try to intercept them. David Schwartz , AKA Captain Black, the space pirate, is a computer genius and hacker, using his skills and lack of morals to hijack these flying treasure chests. He is brilliant, elusive, charming in an annoying way, equally wanted by the police for his crimes and by the crime syndicates for his skills.
That’s the basic plot/theme, straight forward and linear. Though predictable, it doesn’t really matter, this story is about the many quirky characters, and most importantly, Captain Black, the space pirate. The author uses his full moniker over and over, “Captain Black, the space pirate; Captain Black, the space pirate,” which at first annoys the listener, then numbs him, then reveals the actual intent – humor. And if you go into this book with a sense of humor, you will be OK, if not, you will want to rip your eardrums out. There is no middle ground.
The characters are more like caricatures: Captain Black is a genius nerd, brilliant, sarcastic and supremely annoying; yet he somehow always gets the babe, whether she is the dumb blonde or the smart scientist. Elizabeth, the military scientist, is also brilliant with everything going for her, including a skyrocketing career; yet is strangely attracted to the destructive David Schwartz (Captain Black), then hates him. The corporate eunuchs, on the other hand, shrug as their billion dollar payloads disappear, far more worried about a lawsuit than the money they should be making. Equally impotent are the military and police forces of the world, unwilling or unable to do much more than watch as the world’s power supply gets hijacked over and over. In one scene, a single police officer on a bicycle (yes, plastic helmet and bike shorts) attempts to intercept a vicious assassin in a cafe shootout.
If taken as a kind of super nerd, spy satire, it’s pretty funny and will hold your interest throughout. The science is well researched and rings true. Many of the scenes are inventive and painted realistically enough for your imagination to take over. The several chase and action scenes should hold your attention too. There is some violence, but it is superficial, without gruesome details.
Victor Bevine reads the story well, moving quickly during the action and slowing down during the descriptive scenes. His voice is clear and his characters are generally easy to discern. Overall, Bevine is competent and skillful without ever getting in the way of the story.
If you know what you are going into (humorous high tech satire) you should enjoy the story. It is also recommended for young adults and older teens who like computer hacking adventures. Don’t get caught up in the obvious contradictions and unlikely character interactions and you should have a fun and light read/listen.
Audiobook provided for for review by the publisher.