Ahoy me mateys! Grab your grog! Here be book 1 of the ninth installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase. Arrrr!!!
the cold between (Elizabeth Bonesteel)
This be an impromptu 3 Bells Showcase. I have been meaning to read the Central Corps trilogy ever since Matey Sarah brought it to me attention. So not too long ago I checked out the entire series from the library via interlibrary loan. Then it sat and waited patiently for me to get to it. Time passed and on Sunday I realized the books are due back at the end of the week. Crunch time!
I am very glad that I did not return book one unread. This book follows the crew of the CCSS Galileo. The ship is finally able to take some shore leave on the colony of Volhynia after an extra-long deployment. What is supposed to be a short pleasurable trip goes wrong when one of the crew is murdered. But it seems like someone is trying to do a cover-up. The members of the Galileo be determined to find the truth and avenge their dead comrade.
The first thing to say about this book is that it had an absolutely amazing prologue. The action takes place about 25 years before the main plot but dang was it an explosive start. It does eventually tie the plot together but the mystery of what happened is a cool subplot through the novel.
After the delightful prologue, I was surprised that the story seemed to focus on a lustful one-night stand with sex scene included. But I promise it does make sense in the long run and the relationship does not overwhelm the greater story. I did love the characters in this. I have a soft spot for well run ships and quirky crews that (mostly) get along. In this novel, there are many points of view.
The first major point of view is Elena Shaw, a pilot and mechanic. I adore her. She is intelligent, competent, and has a temper. Another point of view is Captain Greg Foster of the Galileo. He is a bit of rule breaker but is always trying to do what’s right for the ship and his crew. Then there be retired PSI Captain Treiko Zajec. PSI and Central don’t get along but the murder investigation inadvertently draws them together. Besides the main three, I also grew to love side character, Jessica. She annoyed the hell out of me at first but as the plot evolves, she begins to play a larger role and I discovered her strengths.
While the character relationships are the highlight of the book, I also enjoyed the world building of this one. Humans have been trying to settle the galaxy and Earth would like everyone to believe that it is going great. The colony of Volhynia be one of their star attractions. The reality is that many colonies are failing. Terra-forming is the key to survival but doesn’t always work. On the fringes of space supplies run out, people die, and politics are fraught. Central, PSI, and Syndicate raiders all have various ideas on how the Sectors should be run. Every colony seems to work slightly differently. I very much enjoyed the set-up.
There were some negatives. Captain Foster does seem to be a bit rogue a little too often. He and Elena are in the midst of a rather annoying fight that could have been solved by communicating and the continual angst often annoyed me. The bad guys were stereotypical and obvious as soon as they arrived on the page. The politics are only lightly explained and much of the backstory of the internal conflicts between PSI, Central, and the Syndicate aren’t adequately explained. I wanted a bit more world building and a better resolution for the two main mysteries.
But ultimately I loved the action and characters and especially the ending. I even ended up enjoying the romance and its realistic ending. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Check in tomorrow for what me thinks of book two. Arrrr!
I normally post the Goodreads blurb here but it is FULL of spoilers so here be Matey Sarah’s introduction:
Commander Elena Shaw is in dire need of shore leave and has tagged along with her firm friend Jessica to a bar that was recommended as ideal for visitors wanting a bit of fun, yet off the tourist trail. But when it comes to it – she finds she would rather be back on board and is just considering leaving, when an intriguing man starts to talk to her. A man that snags her interest, to the extent that she is able to ignore the fact that he is wearing the wrong uniform…
Take my advice and don’t read the very chatty blurb, which gives you some of the main plot points designed to draw you into the story – I just hate it when that happens! Instead, I have given just a introduction to the beginning of the first chapter, though, I hasten to add, while there is a significant love interest in this book, that’s not what is powering this vivid, intriguing mystery.
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