Del Rey, Oct 2004,24.95, 324pp
Captain Kylara Vatta works hard at getting her ancient spaceship ready so that she can make money trading and to learn what happened on planet Lastway where an assault destroyed communications. When her vessel ready, she uses her Aunt Gracie's diamond-stuffed fruitcake to hire mercenaries to protect her and other independent ships as they begin the trek to Lastway.
An offensive on planet Slotter Key destroys and kills most of Ky's family and destroys her family's Headquarters; communications are once again devastated. Ky vows to help other Vatta survivors and to learn who the enemy is and why Vatta is the target or is it something even bigger like the ISC monopoly; ultimately she plans to destroy their foes. Ky rescues two Vatta survivors, agent Stella and ship's apprentice Toby, and obtains help from handsome secret agent rogue Rafe Madeston as she confronts another Vatta vessel, but to attack when they may be family or to remain passive when they may be foe is the question; hesitation could mean death yet rashness could mean killing kin.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner