counter create hit Merchanter's Luck - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Merchanter's Luck

Availability: Ready to download

The fateful meeting between the owner of a tramp star-freighter that flies the Union planets under false papers and fake names and a proud but junior member of a powerful starship-owning family leads to a record-breaking race to Downbelow Station--and a terrifying showdown at a deadly destination off the cosmic charts.


Compare

The fateful meeting between the owner of a tramp star-freighter that flies the Union planets under false papers and fake names and a proud but junior member of a powerful starship-owning family leads to a record-breaking race to Downbelow Station--and a terrifying showdown at a deadly destination off the cosmic charts.

30 review for Merchanter's Luck

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Stegall

    Think of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon. Think of Malcolm Reynolds and Serenity. Now make them lonely and reckless and hopeless. Sandor Kreja is pretty much these guys, without the supportive crew/sidekick. All he's got left after the raid that killed his family is his ship, a battered version of the Falcon or Serenity. In the opening chapter, Sandor walks into a bar and falls in love at first sight with the raven-haired Allison Reilly, a Merchanter daughter on leave. A quick roll in the hay Think of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon. Think of Malcolm Reynolds and Serenity. Now make them lonely and reckless and hopeless. Sandor Kreja is pretty much these guys, without the supportive crew/sidekick. All he's got left after the raid that killed his family is his ship, a battered version of the Falcon or Serenity. In the opening chapter, Sandor walks into a bar and falls in love at first sight with the raven-haired Allison Reilly, a Merchanter daughter on leave. A quick roll in the hay only throws fuel on his fire, and he vows to see her at her next port, which is (for his little ship) impossibly far away. For reasons he can't or won't examine, he actually follows through with this, and arrives after staying awake on drugs and nerve through three jumps, to find that he has made himself the center of a lot of unwelcome attention. The rest of the novel is about the lingering echoes of Sandor's family catastrophe, about how something resembling post-traumatic stress disorder can screw with a man's head the rest of his life, and about how hard it is to look past all of these things to find love and trust. It's a book about desperate love. In a few of Cherryh's trademark clipped, condensed paragraphs in the first pages, she paints a picture of a young man on the edge of life, scarred by a horrific tragedy in his youth, eking out a living in the shadow of the big players of Downbelow Station. That novel made a big splash in the early 80s, and I read it, but this story is the one that stuck in my mind for thirty years. I come back to it over and over because of the tone Cherryh puts into it, because of the way she expertly balances the yearning in Sandor against his fear of betrayal, his pride, his survivor's guilt, the secrets and ghosts (metaphorical) that are all he has left. Sandor is a victim who doesn't realize he's a victim, so he behaves like a hero and then is surprised when people say nice things about him. Cherryh's typically compact and evocative prose supports a story which is perhaps too long on Merchanter/Alliance/Union politics and too short on the romance that fuels the story. Even though I was familiar with the referents, I didn't care. They were only window dressing for the real story, the love story. Cherryh set up a good one and didn't quite pull it off; the romance is lower-key than it needs to be to hold up a whole novel. While the ending felt rushed, it still managed to leave me with a feeling that matters had been resolved -- patched together, leaking, limping -- but resolved. It's a very human, realistic ending, not the neat, happily-ever-after ending of the conventional romance. The taut, allusory prose, the simple and straightforward story structure, and the outstanding delineation of a very sympathetic main character make this a standout book, one of Cherryh's best. In the grand tradition of space opera, it swept me off my feet and kept me enthralled over three decades.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    Yup, still my favorite book. Umpty umpteenth reread. 08/13/2020 Who knows why one book strikes a chord with someone, but this one is my all time favorite and having a degree in English Lit, I read a lot. I have three copies of this book because if I look for it and can't find it within a day or two I panic and buy another copy. I love many books over many genres but my heart loves this one best. You will enjoy this story more if you have read Downbelow Station at the very least. I will admit that Yup, still my favorite book. Umpty umpteenth reread. 08/13/2020 Who knows why one book strikes a chord with someone, but this one is my all time favorite and having a degree in English Lit, I read a lot. I have three copies of this book because if I look for it and can't find it within a day or two I panic and buy another copy. I love many books over many genres but my heart loves this one best. You will enjoy this story more if you have read Downbelow Station at the very least. I will admit that the first time I read it, the end was a bit fuzzy but the more often I read it the clearer the situation becomes. The more you read in Ms. Cherryh's Union/Alliance universe the easier this book is to understand. It's a space ship story built around family merchant ships travelling between star systems and it is certainly enjoyable from that aspect. What makes the story for me is the character of the protagonist, Sandor Kreja. He is the very last of his family, running a haunted (not literally) ship all alone. When he meets Allison Reilly from a large powerful ship, he begins to dream of having a family again. He is a total underdog but the Reillys find out that when push comes to shove, he has a core of steel and all the right answers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Review on fourth(?) reread, Jan 2017: Amazingly taut and condensed novel -- at 208 pages (mmpb), it's almost in long-novella territory, but fully developed. Opens as a sort-of romance, evolves into a complex rescue/business deal between a distressed sole proprietor and a wealthy Merchanter family, then morphs into a twist-ending with a dramatic hunt for Mazianni pirates in the Hinder Stars. Very cool book, one of Cherryh's very best. May be her masterwork? I haven't had a lot of luck rereading lat Review on fourth(?) reread, Jan 2017: Amazingly taut and condensed novel -- at 208 pages (mmpb), it's almost in long-novella territory, but fully developed. Opens as a sort-of romance, evolves into a complex rescue/business deal between a distressed sole proprietor and a wealthy Merchanter family, then morphs into a twist-ending with a dramatic hunt for Mazianni pirates in the Hinder Stars. Very cool book, one of Cherryh's very best. May be her masterwork? I haven't had a lot of luck rereading later Cherryh, but this might inspire me to reread another early Cherryh or two. Chanur series, maybe The Kif Strike Back?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    While it doesn’t reach the highest heights of the other Cherryh books I’ve read, this is still a wonderfully rich portrait of a traumatized captain doing his best to survive, and of the crew he finds himself working with. I remain deeply impressed by Cherryh’s ability to immerse me fully in the world she’s created, and I always believe everything her characters do and say. She allows them to live and breathe and earn their moments, and again she never lets her reader get one inch ahead of where While it doesn’t reach the highest heights of the other Cherryh books I’ve read, this is still a wonderfully rich portrait of a traumatized captain doing his best to survive, and of the crew he finds himself working with. I remain deeply impressed by Cherryh’s ability to immerse me fully in the world she’s created, and I always believe everything her characters do and say. She allows them to live and breathe and earn their moments, and again she never lets her reader get one inch ahead of where she’s taking the story. I have tremendous respect for the serious ideas and themes with which she infuses her stories, and I’m so happy there are many more books of hers to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    William

    A complete and total delight. Superb. Confident and spare and elegant and sharp. Electric and alive! The rhythm of Cherryh's prose is fabulous, compelling, exciting and tons of fun. If you have read Downbelow Station, you must read this. You will feel at home in the near future of that work. ******* Marvellous! For Cherryh, the Alliance-Union universe books are (mostly) fantastic - * In order to read: Downbelow Station (1981) - Superb!! Merchanter's Luck (1982) - Perhaps her best ever! Rimrunners (1989 A complete and total delight. Superb. Confident and spare and elegant and sharp. Electric and alive! The rhythm of Cherryh's prose is fabulous, compelling, exciting and tons of fun. If you have read Downbelow Station, you must read this. You will feel at home in the near future of that work. ******* Marvellous! For Cherryh, the Alliance-Union universe books are (mostly) fantastic - * In order to read: Downbelow Station (1981) - Superb!! Merchanter's Luck (1982) - Perhaps her best ever! Rimrunners (1989) – Very good! Heavy Time (1991) - good, but long winded Hellburner (1992) - good, but long winded Tripoint (1994) - very good Finity's End (1997) – Superb Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983) - good but uneven, important for Cyteen and Regenesis Cyteen (1988) – Superb Regenesis (2009) - Superb

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    Sandor Kreja is a survivor. He managed to escape the massacre of his family and has run the family spaceship, first with his brother, then without, for a very long time. The ship’s control system speaks in his brother’s voice, a comforting reminder of the loving connections he used to have. He has lived at the edge of the law and at the margins of society for his entire adult life and is longing to just have a chance to achieve a normal life. Contrast this with Allison Reilly, who comes from an e Sandor Kreja is a survivor. He managed to escape the massacre of his family and has run the family spaceship, first with his brother, then without, for a very long time. The ship’s control system speaks in his brother’s voice, a comforting reminder of the loving connections he used to have. He has lived at the edge of the law and at the margins of society for his entire adult life and is longing to just have a chance to achieve a normal life. Contrast this with Allison Reilly, who comes from an enormous family who run the ship Dublin Again. Allison knows that her family always has her back—the downside of this is that everyone knows each other’s business and feels no compunctions about expressing opinions about it. Add to that the limited number of meaningful positions available to the young merchanters on the ship—just like Generation Xers who follow the Baby Boom generation, they are ready to move on to bigger and better things, but the previous generation isn’t going anywhere. Opposites attract, they say. It’s inevitable that when these two meet, there are fireworks. A casual hook-up becomes much more when Sandor recklessly follows Dublin Again to their next port of call, despite his lack of legal paperwork. Although not a traditional romance, there is a thread of their relationship running through the work, drawing the reader along to see if it will all work out. Can the lonely captain accept people back into his life again? Can the crew members of Dublin Again exorcise the ghosts of Sandor’s family from his ship? Can people from such divergent backgrounds trust each other? I was struck by the hungry loneliness of the young man, alone in space on a ship built for a family. As part of a university project, my sister once attended a substance abuse support group. I remember how appalled she was when she realized that each of these people had absolutely no loving connection in the world. Their families had either given up on them or were part of their problems. Their only friends were other addicts. They had no one to encourage them, help them, or give them any kind of boost. It’s amazing, really, that any of them ever manage to escape those circumstances, and yet some do. I felt like Sandor was up against the same kinds of obstacles—no family, no friends, no trust, no papers, yet he was clawing his way towards respectability. I’ve never known real loneliness, for which I am thankful. I hope that books like this one are as close as I ever get.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    We have a hard world, we do. We have a world that necessitates a certain amount of emotional distance. There are a lot of us in this world, each of us rubbing against the others. Scraping shoulders, butting souls. We need to develop a sort of emotional chitin in order to function; we can't go around the planet with all our hurts hanging out. We've all been poked in a place we can't stand to be touched. We've all been mocked for things we can't stand to display. We hide it, all that hurt and prid We have a hard world, we do. We have a world that necessitates a certain amount of emotional distance. There are a lot of us in this world, each of us rubbing against the others. Scraping shoulders, butting souls. We need to develop a sort of emotional chitin in order to function; we can't go around the planet with all our hurts hanging out. We've all been poked in a place we can't stand to be touched. We've all been mocked for things we can't stand to display. We hide it, all that hurt and pride and attachment; we stick it in tins somewhere in the meat of us, and for the most part we can keep on without all that festering unease interfering with our work, leisure and relationships. And then a book like this happens, and it pokes you right in the soul. This isn't an easy book. It takes place smack in the middle of Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe, and her narrative style freely bandies about terms which will be unfamiliar to people who haven't read her older fiction, names and places whose only description is contextual. What makes it hard isn't the science, isn't the narrative, but the sheer emotional investment. It's a hard read because it hurts, because the boiling mistrust and bottled pain and unrecognized pride are things both uncomfortably familiar and easily recognizable. The story focuses primarily on the hard-luck merchanter Sandor Kreja and his lonely long-haul space trucker, Lucy. Due to his lowly position in the interstellar economy, he has been scraping by on bare legalities, unnoticed fraud and excessive, self-destructive effort - until by a stroke of luck, an act of reckless and stupid courage, and the interference of one Allison Reilly, an ambitious and capable woman whose dreams exceed her circumstances - he manages to pull off a deal which could single-handedly save his business and himself from the lurking debt that tracks his every step. And y'now, that could be a story in and of itself. Stress, stakes, and a beautiful woman - I've known pulp that aimed lower. But the true meat of the story, the real conflict here isn't Sandor and Allison vs. The Universe, it's interpersonal, inside. It's how this broken man kept animate by ghosts and scars reacts when finally given the chance to relax, provided he submits his trust and his ship. The conflict isn't about external violence - hell, when people start shooting at our heroes, it comes almost as a relief - but about interpersonal pain, the invisible chains of past trauma, the incalculable weight of pride, the grinding agony of personal change. I love this author, but I went into this story not expecting much; I got it in an omnibus with 40,000 in Gehenna, which had piqued my interest more intently. I put it down and just... stared, for a time. Wondering why I wanted to cry, and how long it would take before that decades-built shell around my soul would start growing back. Trust. It's well worth it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gabi

    3.5 stars rounded up, cause a) it's not the book's fault that space opera is not my fav subgenre, and b) my mind tends to go into stand-by mode with all the technical and space politics explanations, so I'm sure I missed some details. What I liked about this book was the restriction to two POVs so it was a lot easier to get into it than I was used with others of Cherryh's works. One of them, the lonely starship captain, was very well fleshed out with his traumatic past and his relatable struggle 3.5 stars rounded up, cause a) it's not the book's fault that space opera is not my fav subgenre, and b) my mind tends to go into stand-by mode with all the technical and space politics explanations, so I'm sure I missed some details. What I liked about this book was the restriction to two POVs so it was a lot easier to get into it than I was used with others of Cherryh's works. One of them, the lonely starship captain, was very well fleshed out with his traumatic past and his relatable struggle between mistrust and wanting to belong. The scenes between him and his new crew were the highlights for me. The other characters more or less stayed two-dimensional. Same with the 'romance'. I didn't buy it, and fortunately it was mainly there to kick off the story. As with my last encounters with the author's work I appreciate her complex worldbuilding but am left wanting on the emotional side of her writing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    4.5 rounding up cos it was a very nuanced book but a bit confusing at first. Some action but, per usual for Cherryh, much of it is psychological. I think it could be a read-alone despite being part of a larger series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (AK)

    After the fascinating (but ponderous) station politics of Downbelow Station, Merchanter’s Luck was a brisk adventure story; I devoured it within hours. It’s been ages since I did that for anything longer than a novella, and while Luck is short, it’s not that short (I’d place the wordcount somewhere around 75-80k). It was exactly what I was hoping to read, and worth the 2-week library wait. Sandor Kreja, last of his name, has been skating by on small jobs, luck, and a touch of fraud for most of hi After the fascinating (but ponderous) station politics of Downbelow Station, Merchanter’s Luck was a brisk adventure story; I devoured it within hours. It’s been ages since I did that for anything longer than a novella, and while Luck is short, it’s not that short (I’d place the wordcount somewhere around 75-80k). It was exactly what I was hoping to read, and worth the 2-week library wait. Sandor Kreja, last of his name, has been skating by on small jobs, luck, and a touch of fraud for most of his life. As the sole surviving owner of a Merchanter vessel, he’s traded across Union space under false name and registration for years, swapping identities when the debts piled too high or the profit margin too low for him to slip beneath notice. But it’s a hard life; Merchanter crews are all family, suspicious of lone operators. Alone on a ship full of ghosts, Sandor’s time is limited. Allison Reilly was born into the 1,082-soul crew of the jumpship Dublin Again. The Reilly name means a lot among Merchanters, but Allison knows, despite her ambitions, that the odds of a ‘posted’ crew position coming open in her lifetime are slim. A chance meeting between her and Sandor in a dockside bar opens up the possibility of new opportunities… if she can trust him. Bear with me a moment. I’ll admit, given that premise, I was prepared to slog through some kind of torrid cross-class romance subplot. Instead, I found myself treated to a tightly-paced and psychologically-astute tale of adventure, ambition, and loss. Perspective is split evenly between the disintegrating Sandor and the ambitious Allison, who each learn something about family and teamwork. There’s a race through jumpspace, pressure from the authorities, and a handful of cameos from the Downbelow cast. (That said, I promise this book can be read standalone, and I might recommend that, depending on your reading preferences). Sandor has a lot of issues, and with good reason. He’s been without trustworthy human contact for a decade, and the decade before that was limited to two other people. Early on in the book he makes some really dumb decisions, which was frustrating even though I understood why he was making them. It was a very impulsive-human moment, and I think that’s what I like about Cherryh so far: she has an exceptionally good grasp of what makes people tick in illogical ways. Allison is young, and ambitious, but not stupid. She spends most of the book as the one with all the power; even before they’re on the same ship, the class divide between her and Sandor is clear in the difference between how they handle money, trade deals, and unexpected situations. Cherryh’s Union/Alliance books are hardly post-scarcity, and it shows. I won’t say there’s no love story here, because there is one, but it sits at a low simmer, and the ending is very quiet and very human. Satisfying, without promising a perfect future. It’s not without flaws, of course. There were a couple of rushed moments in the middle, and one rather dated conversation on gender roles between Allison and her cousin Curran, but overall it was a wonderfully engaging book, and one I can see myself rereading more than once.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    This is a space opera, set in the Union-Alliance Universe. This book can be read as a stand alone. This is a story of love and trade, family and allegiances. The story is told by two main protagonists: Sandor Kreja and Allison Reilly. Sandor is the sole survivor of an attack by a Company’s ship, which pirated their supplies during lean times. He runs the ship alone, in clear violation of rules and works ‘on edge’: he is under false papers for both himself and the ship. Seeking for an assistant on This is a space opera, set in the Union-Alliance Universe. This book can be read as a stand alone. This is a story of love and trade, family and allegiances. The story is told by two main protagonists: Sandor Kreja and Allison Reilly. Sandor is the sole survivor of an attack by a Company’s ship, which pirated their supplies during lean times. He runs the ship alone, in clear violation of rules and works ‘on edge’: he is under false papers for both himself and the ship. Seeking for an assistant on a station he meets Allison and instantly falls in love with her. Allison is from a giant family ship, with over 1000 strong crew, who are the family. She wants to work on helm but rejuv plus large family means she has almost zero chance to ever get her hands on ship’s command. They have a sleepover, an old practice of family ships to get some gene diversity from outside. Finding out that her ship, Dublin Again goes to Pell, he does a crazy stunt and rides his empty ship the same route without external help or even necessary recovery periods after jumps. A new view on the same universe. Earlier, I read Downbelow Station and Cyteen and both of them are more ‘grand’, showing grandiose changes. Here is a small life story of small people, who just go with the flow just trying to survive. The Author’s style is quite sterile and detached and her love story is quite unusual.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alissa King

    Honestly, I think this book is a representation of Cherryh at her best. Complex, refreshing world-building, eloquent but not overly-verbose prose that's a joy to read, and tight story-telling - but not so tight that it leaves the narrative dry and uninspired. The book takes you on a roller-coasted ride of spacer element of the Alliance-Union universe, dwelling more on the nature of FTL travel and its specifics within this universe - about the technical side through the eyes of the starship captai Honestly, I think this book is a representation of Cherryh at her best. Complex, refreshing world-building, eloquent but not overly-verbose prose that's a joy to read, and tight story-telling - but not so tight that it leaves the narrative dry and uninspired. The book takes you on a roller-coasted ride of spacer element of the Alliance-Union universe, dwelling more on the nature of FTL travel and its specifics within this universe - about the technical side through the eyes of the starship captain Sandor Kreja, and about the realities of living as a perpetual ship-confined traveler through the eyes of the ambitious young woman from the well-to-do Merchanter family. The characters - just two PoV's this time - are also somewhat younger and less experienced than Cherryh's usual fare, which made the book a "lighter" read in the sense that it was much more restrained in its application of the heavy emotional burden of galactic political scheming and back-stabbing that's found in a lot of her other works. Oh, it had its fair share of scheming and plotting and emotionally-damaged people, but the book did well with evenly interspersing the moments of despair with hope and some human connection that I walked away feeling more like a reader and less like a tenderized pork chop. All in all, this was a worthy successor to Downbelow Station. TWO points I want to clarify: 1. This is not a book about romance. This is a book about PTSD, emotional trauma, trust issues, and ambition in a world that doesn't care. Yes, there is a connection between a male and a female character, and yes, they have sexual relations that are afforded maybe three sentences out of the entire book. But the story itself is not about their blossoming relationship, nor is any part of the main plot heavily related to said relationship past its use as an inciting incident. So, romance-phobes like me, fear not and read on. This won't be a case of a plot derailed for the sake of romance. 2. A lot of people seem to have taken to using "Han Solo" as a descriptor for the main character. That is the furthest thing from what the character actually is and the only thing similar between them is that they're two individuals of the male persuasion who sort of own the star ship they operate. Han Solo is an archetypal "bad boy" - arrogant and criminal. The main lead for Merchanter's Luck - Sandor Kreja - is lonely, emotionally damaged and prone to giving in to anxiety, trying to make an honest living and save his ship in a harsh world where he and his ship are pretty much obsolete. So... I'm not sure where the two became associated, and to be honest the main reason I held off from reading this book was because it was described as having a Han Solo-esque character for a main male lead. Again, that is simply not the case.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Quartzen

    It's been a while since I read one of Cherryh's Alliance/Union novels, but I still find it one of SF's most well-fleshed-out settings, and I love that Cherryh tells both large scale and smaller scale ones within it. This is decidedly a smaller scale story, about Sandor Kreja, a young man who is the last remaining survivor of a small merchant ship after an attack by pirates when he was a child and the death of the few other survivors after that, and about Allison Reilly, a young woman from the muc It's been a while since I read one of Cherryh's Alliance/Union novels, but I still find it one of SF's most well-fleshed-out settings, and I love that Cherryh tells both large scale and smaller scale ones within it. This is decidedly a smaller scale story, about Sandor Kreja, a young man who is the last remaining survivor of a small merchant ship after an attack by pirates when he was a child and the death of the few other survivors after that, and about Allison Reilly, a young woman from the much larger family ship Dublin Again, a Name familiar on every station, who has ambitions to a high place in the crew by finds herself way down in the chain of command and unlikely to move up it for decades because of the rejuv technology that keeps her elders and seniors healthy and working into their hundreds. Sandor's reckless decision to push himself and his ship to their limits to meet Dublin at its next port of call after he and Allison spend a pleasant night together (sleeping off-ship being a necessity in the setting, and sleeping with company being a norm) brings him the unwanted attention of both Pell station authorities and the enigmatic and dangerous Captain Signy Mallory, bent on hunting down pirates- her former Mazianni compatriots in the war detailed in Downbelow Station. One thing leads to another, and Allison Reilly ends up bailing Sandor out with Dublin's money and pull, stepping into a position of command on his ship with a few of her junior officers, and together, if uneasily, they set out to deliver a military cargo direct from Mallory through dangerous, possibly pirate-infested space. The story is small scale, but it also feels... slight, in a way that doesn't entirely have to do with its short length (roughly 200 pages in mass market paperback; I read it digitally as part of the omnibus Alliance Space). Sandor is a pretty typical Cherryh male protagonist beset by trauma and guilt and anxiety, Allison felt like a cipher at times despite the sections in her POV, and overall things were just a bit too straightforward plot-wise, lacking the elaborate complications I'm used to in Cherryh's work. Things also go fairly smoothly and without too much dire cost- overall, despite the darkness of the past, it feels like one of Cherryh's more upbeat and optimistic stories. Ultimately, I think it might have felt fresher if I hadn't read other books in the setting before, or other Cherryh works generally- everything that's done here, the psychological study of Sandor, Allison's ambition, the depiction of life in space and the unique shipboard cultures, is all done better in other books of hers. This was an enjoyable story, but it won't be one of my favorites.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anissa

    Man meets woman. Woman is way above man's station. Man falls head over heels & risks the only thing he actually has to see woman again. Trouble for man ensues. Timeless kind of story & made even more fun that this takes us back to Pell. This is a terrifically short book but a very good installment in the Alliance Space series. I loved the first Downbelow Station & have some sort of obsession with life aboard a spacestation apparently. Sandor & Allison were well done characters but that's not sur Man meets woman. Woman is way above man's station. Man falls head over heels & risks the only thing he actually has to see woman again. Trouble for man ensues. Timeless kind of story & made even more fun that this takes us back to Pell. This is a terrifically short book but a very good installment in the Alliance Space series. I loved the first Downbelow Station & have some sort of obsession with life aboard a spacestation apparently. Sandor & Allison were well done characters but that's not surprising to me given that it's Cherryh. I really felt for Sandor being all alone with only his ship & trying to make his way along. I understood why he was tired of it all at the age of twenty-seven. He really was put through the ringer on station & that made me sad for him all the more. Tally & Mallory are enough to undo the most relaxed sorts, so Sandor didn't stand a chance. Allison, took a little longer to grow on me but I understood that her hyper-vigilance was not just necessary given the situation but also, sound. Space is a dangerous place & people on both sides of the line can be prickly. I was most excited to read what was going on on Pell & the peek in at the Konstantins. The action was well paced & of course, everything came together in quite a nice end. The thread of having no family & having one that played out between Sandor & Allison (& the other Reillys) was excellent. Sandor's yearning for that sense of community balanced so well with Allison's yearning to break free of hers in order for a true chance to let her ambition soar. While I didn't love this as much as Downbelow Station, it's a very solid installment & I liked all the characters. As this was one of the only installments in the series that I lacked, I can now get on to the rest of the series in earnest.

  15. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    For some reason this novel felt like an expanded novella to me. I also felt it would have been a better book if it had been novella size or an even longer expanded book, especially in the battle scene. There were quite a few characters I liked and wanted to know better. Brave orphan Captain Sandor Kreja captured my heart as he did Allison Reilly's. Ambitious Allison, eager to join the bridge, any bridge, as second in command, test herself, and shed her family Princess Power image for one of subs For some reason this novel felt like an expanded novella to me. I also felt it would have been a better book if it had been novella size or an even longer expanded book, especially in the battle scene. There were quite a few characters I liked and wanted to know better. Brave orphan Captain Sandor Kreja captured my heart as he did Allison Reilly's. Ambitious Allison, eager to join the bridge, any bridge, as second in command, test herself, and shed her family Princess Power image for one of substance surprised me with her charm. Tough Curran, loyal and true -once you earned his respect and trust, seemed quite dangerous and romantic. Pell, the Alliance and Union politics have made space dangerous for Merchanters, who now have to deal with the excessive caution engendered by the uneasy Cold War introduced in Cherryh's previous book, Downbelow Station. Merchanters must dock to pick up cargo, the only way they earn a living, and the stationer fees, as well as payoffs and illegal cargoes make life a dance of suspicion and small profit margins. Pirates called Mazianni's, which until recently included some now responsible military ships such as Mallory's Norway , use murder as well as theft to live, stealing from the Merchanters without mercy. The Kreja Merchanter family was destroyed by pirates, leaving only two frightened teenager brothers alive hidden in a compartment in the family ship. A further accident leaves Sandor on his own, lonely and desperately keeping a threadbare family Merchanter ship, Le Cigne running by himself, a near impossibility, but he proudly continues his family's tradition as Merchanter, however marginal, even while deep despair is rotting his heart away. Normally cautious, he becomes enamoured by the powerful Merchanter Dublin Again 's rich daughter Allison in a one-night stand, and follows her to Pell. Unbeknownst to him, she wants out of the safe cocoon of her famly ship where a thousand cousins are competing for the Captain's chair. She sees crewing with Sandor as a way to realize her personal ambition for eventual command. She maneuvers to put herself on Sandor's ship, but other plots are being hatched, and soon the dangerous Mallory is arranging for Sandor to deliver a mysterious cargo to a distant Station. The ulterior motives make trust between all of the parties nonexistent. Sandor has hidden his real identity in false paperwork, unwilling to expose his family tragedy while coming-of-age; inexperienced Allison can barely keep her high class status from interfering with her professionalism as an officer of a low-class Merchanter, and Mallory plays a Machiavellian game of cops and robbers while never sweating the small stuff like the possible deaths of Merchanter crews being used as bait. As expected, the bait is taken.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cheesecake

    This isn't really a romance, but it has those elements. I read this back in Highschool and have loved CJ Cherryh's work ever since. It's a short read (at least I remember it being a slim battered paperback), but nail biting and sweet at the same time. Politics, intrigue, quality science fiction and space pirates! One of my all time favourites. Sure wish they'd release an audio version! This isn't really a romance, but it has those elements. I read this back in Highschool and have loved CJ Cherryh's work ever since. It's a short read (at least I remember it being a slim battered paperback), but nail biting and sweet at the same time. Politics, intrigue, quality science fiction and space pirates! One of my all time favourites. Sure wish they'd release an audio version!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Not as good as its great epic predecessor, Downbelow Station, but it does know its place in a serviceable way. I find Cherryh to be something of a genius, but her prose can often be excruciating. It's not that it's bad, it's just that's it's often larded with hard sci-fi jargon specific to whatever universe she's writing about, coupled to a modernist's murky sense of character. For the uninitiated this can be, at times, quite a challenge. A 200 page book can seem like a 400 page one. Still, ther Not as good as its great epic predecessor, Downbelow Station, but it does know its place in a serviceable way. I find Cherryh to be something of a genius, but her prose can often be excruciating. It's not that it's bad, it's just that's it's often larded with hard sci-fi jargon specific to whatever universe she's writing about, coupled to a modernist's murky sense of character. For the uninitiated this can be, at times, quite a challenge. A 200 page book can seem like a 400 page one. Still, there are some wonderful moments, such as when hard-luck rogue merchanter captain of the Lucy, Sandor Kreja, sees Alison Reilly, the maybe-beautiful crew member of the powerful merchant ship Dubliner Again, in a smoky space bar. It's kind of like True Love or Neil Young's "Hurricane" except you're never sure what emotional investment each has since character motivation is often hidden from the reader. It's wheels within wheels, both of them eventually trying to use the other. The story itself is on the slender side, with a lot of internal navel-gazing taking you well past half-way point of the book. In a nutshell, Sandor desperately needs another crew person; Alison, along with others, is blocked from advancing in rank on the crowded Dublin Again, needs an opportunity -- and a ship, but without losing the lucrative financial shield and connections of the Dublin Again . Sounds dry, I know, but now enter the fascinating character of Signy Mallory, captain of the warship Norway. She has plans for Sandor's small ship, a potential pawn in larger events involving the Company Wars. I liked the way Cherryh ended this, and I'm just simply a fan of Captain Mallory. Merchanter's Luck tells a good, smaller story of two somewhat likable, resilient characters, the ambitious Allison, and the guarded, decent (but damaged) Sandor, while informing the careful-eyed reader of the larger history of the Company Wars since the events of Downbelow Station.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    3.5 stars. A very slow beginning that bored me a bit, but the second half was a page turner. I struggle with really *loving* the Company Wars/Alliance-Union books. I want to, but there seems to be what I'd call a lack of compassion, or empathy, in the world and in the characters. The stories (like this and Cyteen) feature a lot of emotional, mental, and even physical trauma, but people's reactions to obviously broken and hurting characters are callous or cold or uninterested. No one is ever outri 3.5 stars. A very slow beginning that bored me a bit, but the second half was a page turner. I struggle with really *loving* the Company Wars/Alliance-Union books. I want to, but there seems to be what I'd call a lack of compassion, or empathy, in the world and in the characters. The stories (like this and Cyteen) feature a lot of emotional, mental, and even physical trauma, but people's reactions to obviously broken and hurting characters are callous or cold or uninterested. No one is ever outright kind or gentle or understanding. Even the medical professionals are cold and brusk. Basically, what I'm saying is Merchanter's Luck and other books in the world have a lot of mental illness and trauma but ZERO mental health providers and it really upsets me at times. This type of scenario features heavily in this book because the main character Sandor has very severe PTSD from an atrocity that killed his family when he was young, and his isolated life has been very warped due to this. He's so broken. And no one offers him help to deal with that. Giving him a crew and friends and a girlfriend and fixing his ship is NOT going to treat the trauma that's actually causing his instability (and health problems)! Anyway, despite this it was an interesting story by the end and made me want to continue on with the other books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian

    Another gripping Cherryh novel set in the Alliance-Union universe. It is quite different to the ones I've read by the author so far - not only is it relatively short, it also doesn't focus on a whole planet or station over a longer period of time but on a small ship on one trading voyage, insignificant in the grand scheme of planets, wars and alliances. It feels more personal in that way. Having read Downbelow Station quite a while ago, i was a bit lost in the goings-on in the beginning, because Another gripping Cherryh novel set in the Alliance-Union universe. It is quite different to the ones I've read by the author so far - not only is it relatively short, it also doesn't focus on a whole planet or station over a longer period of time but on a small ship on one trading voyage, insignificant in the grand scheme of planets, wars and alliances. It feels more personal in that way. Having read Downbelow Station quite a while ago, i was a bit lost in the goings-on in the beginning, because in true Cherryh style, she just throws you right in the middle of everything and you get filled in on the details along the way. Cherryh has a unique style that I don't think is for everybody but I find it highly immersive. I'm already looking forward to my next Cherryh read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wesley

    The first sequel to Cherryh's award-winning 'Downbelow Station', 'Merchanter's Luck' focuses on the aftermath of the creation of the interstellar Merchant Alliance based at Pell Station. As a child, Sandor Krejas was one of three survivors of a pirate attack on his 200 year-old family ship. Followed by years of accidents and poor luck, he lost the remaining members of his family and became Le Cygne's captain and sole crewman. A scoundrel, Krejas is also lonely, poor, constantly terrified and des The first sequel to Cherryh's award-winning 'Downbelow Station', 'Merchanter's Luck' focuses on the aftermath of the creation of the interstellar Merchant Alliance based at Pell Station. As a child, Sandor Krejas was one of three survivors of a pirate attack on his 200 year-old family ship. Followed by years of accidents and poor luck, he lost the remaining members of his family and became Le Cygne's captain and sole crewman. A scoundrel, Krejas is also lonely, poor, constantly terrified and desperate. Meanwhile, Allison Reilly is a young crewman aboard Dublin Again, a massive family-run merchant vessel of 1000 crewed by her blood relations. While she wants for nothing and is a member of a powerful Named association, she's frustrated that she will never be able to follow her dream, to actually pilot a vessel, as she is 25th in the chain of succession. On a chance meeting Krejas and Reilly meet in a space station bar and have a one-night stand. However, enamored of Reilly, Krejas makes a crazed decision to follow her and, after a reckless stunt, becomes something of a minor celebrity at Pell station. When Krejas' shady past and the unintended political consequences for Dublin Again's association with him threaten to become public, former Earth Company captain turned Merchant Alliance military leader Signy Mallory seizes the opportunity to push her own agenda. 'Merchanter's Luck' is filled with CJ Cherry's crisp and minimalist hard science-fiction prose and makes for a quick yet very enjoyable read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Juushika

    Sandor Kreja is in a strange position, sole owner of a spaceship but broke and running out of ways to cheat the system, when he encounters Allison Reilly, crewman of the prosperous Dublin Again, and decides to bet everything on the Dublin's next station stop. Merchanter's Luck is predicated on an infatuation at first sight which is never quite convincing; Sandor's pursuit of Allison feels foolish, and gives the book a slow start. It's also often a novel of reactions, despite Allison's active amb Sandor Kreja is in a strange position, sole owner of a spaceship but broke and running out of ways to cheat the system, when he encounters Allison Reilly, crewman of the prosperous Dublin Again, and decides to bet everything on the Dublin's next station stop. Merchanter's Luck is predicated on an infatuation at first sight which is never quite convincing; Sandor's pursuit of Allison feels foolish, and gives the book a slow start. It's also often a novel of reactions, despite Allison's active ambition, due to the timing of point of view switches and the machinations of the plot. But by the end, none of this matters: Cherryh's spaceships are convincing, intimidating places, her technology and politics both thought-provoking, but the story always comes back to the characters and, here, to themes of loss, uneasy new relationships, and defining, creating, and retaining identity. As the book picks up pace, it grows increasingly compelling; I don't love it as much as I love Downbelow Station, but it's entirely satisfying to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Fasching-Gray

    Beautiful. It is possible to read this as a psychological metaphor, with the sealed chambers in the spaceship Lucy standing in for parts of his mind. He knows they are there, he knows what is in them, but he keeps the doors sealed and the temperature at freezing. Suffering from PTSD, he is afraid of future violence, but the shame of the past violence is more important to him. He withholds information from a lover and her allies rather than reveal the depth of his past hurt. When a science fictio Beautiful. It is possible to read this as a psychological metaphor, with the sealed chambers in the spaceship Lucy standing in for parts of his mind. He knows they are there, he knows what is in them, but he keeps the doors sealed and the temperature at freezing. Suffering from PTSD, he is afraid of future violence, but the shame of the past violence is more important to him. He withholds information from a lover and her allies rather than reveal the depth of his past hurt. When a science fiction novel works well on those kind of levels, then I think it is important to ask why science fiction? Why not some other setting or time? By putting it all in outer space instead of the ocean or the Scottish Highlands or wherever, the loneliness, the desperation, the romanticism of this youth struggling to come out of his own shadows is made stronger and brighter and sharper. There's some expired bits. Far in the future and light years from Earth, men still say to women, "can I buy you a drink?" Customs agents look at papers instead of biometry. Entertainment is stored on "tapes." Whatever. This book was so awesome, I am kind of mad at myself for not reading Cherryh back when these came out. Now I'm so hooked I might add an "h" on the end of my name just to be more s-f.

  23. 4 out of 5

    AnnaM

    Loved it! It was definitely in the SF side of the SFR rainbow. But I love, love SF! This story was incredibly detailed. I feel like I know Sandor and Allison personally now. It has action, humor, scary bits, trauma, a little sex, and a big dose of PTSD. Poor Sandor. What a damaged guy. Lots of spaceships, and space stations. Some villains and some hope. The romance is powerful and life-changing but not in-your-face. It's subtle and a HFN. Excellent story. Loved it! It was definitely in the SF side of the SFR rainbow. But I love, love SF! This story was incredibly detailed. I feel like I know Sandor and Allison personally now. It has action, humor, scary bits, trauma, a little sex, and a big dose of PTSD. Poor Sandor. What a damaged guy. Lots of spaceships, and space stations. Some villains and some hope. The romance is powerful and life-changing but not in-your-face. It's subtle and a HFN. Excellent story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I picked this up randomly from an open bookshelf, not certain if I was ever going to actually read it. Luckily I decided to try it one afternoon and really really liked it. The characters and worldbuilding are wonderful, detailed and nuanced and wholly believable, there's tension and dangerous situations, but no over-the-top drama, everything is handled extremely realistically. Characters are complex and always have more than one reason for acting as they do. I very much appreciated the fact tha I picked this up randomly from an open bookshelf, not certain if I was ever going to actually read it. Luckily I decided to try it one afternoon and really really liked it. The characters and worldbuilding are wonderful, detailed and nuanced and wholly believable, there's tension and dangerous situations, but no over-the-top drama, everything is handled extremely realistically. Characters are complex and always have more than one reason for acting as they do. I very much appreciated the fact that men and women were absolutely equal and the absence of morality/bigotry regarding conventions about sex. People simply have sleepovers, as they call it, and then they continue being civil to each other and not all their interactions are about their sexual encounter or their mutual attraction - there are other (more) important things. Have to admit I didn't get a good bit of the more technical language, and there was lots of it. Both main characters were great. The only gripe I have with this too-short novel is that it is a standalone, which is a damn shame as I would love to read more about Sandor Kreja and Allison Reilly's space travels with their small crew on their ancient ship Lucy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark Schiffer

    Man, Cherryh loves a found family. I'm not mad at it, the power of human connection as a motif is really powerful in her work. Super claustrophobic, and nice to see more of the dreaded Mallory. I might have to take a bit of a break from Cherryh so I don't burn out on her, this is the fifth book in the past two months I've read by her. Man, Cherryh loves a found family. I'm not mad at it, the power of human connection as a motif is really powerful in her work. Super claustrophobic, and nice to see more of the dreaded Mallory. I might have to take a bit of a break from Cherryh so I don't burn out on her, this is the fifth book in the past two months I've read by her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leif

    I took a very, very long time to read this, because for some reason it just didn't *click*. Spoiler: it never did. Cherryh's claustrophobic narratives are skillful and undoubtedly influential but, I would contend, the enjoyment they seek to produce is of a very particular kind. I took a very, very long time to read this, because for some reason it just didn't *click*. Spoiler: it never did. Cherryh's claustrophobic narratives are skillful and undoubtedly influential but, I would contend, the enjoyment they seek to produce is of a very particular kind.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I read this book when it first came out in the early '80s, but I had no memory of it. I don't know why, but it just didn't resonate with me and I couldn't get into it. I'm not sure I even finished it. So I'm overjoyed that I pulled it off the shelf and gave it another read, now 30 years later--it's one of the best sci-fi books I've read. It's the story of an impoverished, down-at-the-heels captain of a small freighter who can barely make enough to keep his ship flying and who often operates on th I read this book when it first came out in the early '80s, but I had no memory of it. I don't know why, but it just didn't resonate with me and I couldn't get into it. I'm not sure I even finished it. So I'm overjoyed that I pulled it off the shelf and gave it another read, now 30 years later--it's one of the best sci-fi books I've read. It's the story of an impoverished, down-at-the-heels captain of a small freighter who can barely make enough to keep his ship flying and who often operates on the wrong side of the law (fake names, forged ship's papers, illegal cargo) just to get to the next port, and to stay one step ahead of the cops. Although his 200-year-old ship is large enough to carry a complement of crew of 60 (and thereby hangs a significant sub-plot), he usually makes jumps all alone, breaking many laws (and his own health) in the process. In a port one day, he sees a beautiful young woman in a bar. He sees from her uniform that she is a crewmember on one of the huge, family-run freighters that make small-time operators like him almost obsolete. They have a brief fling, and he becomes intertwined with the business of her family to the point where they loan him money, as well as the girl and some of her cousins as crew, in return for helping the family open up a new trade route. They end up, however, getting caught up in the machinations of the military and tense drama ensues, both personal and in the larger politics of the day. That's a deliberately vague and horribly oversimplified synopsis. What struck me as I started (re)reading was that the book read like the screenplay of an episode of Firefly. The grittiness of the protagonist's ship, the sleek beauty of the giant freighter, the chaos of the orbital port complex, are some of the most realistically described in all sci-fi. All the major characters have their strengths and weaknesses which drive the story, and weave well with the larger political and historical backdrop (about which you can read more on the Web--Wikipedia has a pretty good summary of the history behind this book and dozens of others that Cherryh has written in the same universe). It's been a while since I read a book I just couldn't put down, but this is definitely one. If you like gritty, realistic hard sci-fi with complex, likable but frustratingly human and beautifully described characters who speak believable dialog, this book is for you.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

    Feels like the right amount of background and character issues for a novel this size, but roughly a short story's worth of plot. (Or a novella.) Elene Quen-Konstantin makes a brief appearance as the dockmaster, and Josh Talley is now a commander in Pell's fleet. (These are both major characters from Downbelow Station.) If I'm not mistaken there's a scene where the female lead accuses a male supporting character of having a problem with the male lead because the male supporting character is gay an Feels like the right amount of background and character issues for a novel this size, but roughly a short story's worth of plot. (Or a novella.) Elene Quen-Konstantin makes a brief appearance as the dockmaster, and Josh Talley is now a commander in Pell's fleet. (These are both major characters from Downbelow Station.) If I'm not mistaken there's a scene where the female lead accuses a male supporting character of having a problem with the male lead because the male supporting character is gay and wants to sleep with the male lead, whereas the female lead already has. Wince-inducing. I admit I've wondered about that in ship culture — there seems to be a lot of assumed heterosexuality. Possibly because heterosexual fooling around is forbidden, because everyone on board is a relative of yours, a cousin of some degree at least, and no one wants to open that door? Also because the merchant vessels are essentially generation ships, and there is some pressure to produce the next generation. Homosexuality is known in this setting but seems rather rare. This is kind of the flip side of Finity's End, which shows the post-war life of a military merchanter. Dublin Again, the home ship of many of the characters here, has been largely unaffected by war casualties, and there is more demand than supply for many on-board specialties.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    This has a fascinating premise, and it’s exactly the kind of spaceship fiction I like. I only wish that Cherryh’s writing worked a little better for me. Sandor Kreja’s family, who ran a merchant spaceship, were murdered by pirates when he was a child. He’s alone and desperately trying to keep his ship in business. Allison Reilly is a junior member of a large, wealthy, important merchant family. She will never have the chance to crew her own ship because with life-extending technology, the current This has a fascinating premise, and it’s exactly the kind of spaceship fiction I like. I only wish that Cherryh’s writing worked a little better for me. Sandor Kreja’s family, who ran a merchant spaceship, were murdered by pirates when he was a child. He’s alone and desperately trying to keep his ship in business. Allison Reilly is a junior member of a large, wealthy, important merchant family. She will never have the chance to crew her own ship because with life-extending technology, the current senior crew will live and work for many decades. A one-night stand between the two of them leads to adventure and danger. I love the universe Cherryh has created, and I really like her characters, but I cannot unreservedly love her prose. It’s well written, but it seems somehow... incomplete. I always feels as if I’m missing something; as if an editor has removed every third sentence. I can follow what is going on, but it’s hard for me to become completely engaged by her narrative. Despite this frustration I enjoy her books enough to read more of them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This is the first book by C.J. Cherryh I've ever read. As an author, I suspect she is a keeper. The science is fairly quiet in her stories (just a dull background, no geek porn here), but her characters are very believable. The protagonist in this story has been living on the margins for the last decade and a half after his entire family is wiped out by pirates and strangely enough, he has trouble trusting people. The people that surround him were also interesting (if much less developed), and This is the first book by C.J. Cherryh I've ever read. As an author, I suspect she is a keeper. The science is fairly quiet in her stories (just a dull background, no geek porn here), but her characters are very believable. The protagonist in this story has been living on the margins for the last decade and a half after his entire family is wiped out by pirates and strangely enough, he has trouble trusting people. The people that surround him were also interesting (if much less developed), and left me wanting to know more about the milieu. The background is fairly gritty with two governments that are clearly not trustworthy and people scraping to get by. I find it difficult to believe that an economy could sustain itself in these conditions (same problem as Firefly), but that is hardly relevant to the story.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.