Two linked empires share the
galaxy and the Guild of Webbers, who are the only
spaceship operators. The two emperors are in
eternal conflict, limited by how much the Guild
will cooperate in combat fought by spaceships.
an obviously competent and personable Guild
member, has had an identity-wipe which leaves him
ignorant of much of his personal history and also
makes him suspect to many spaceship crews. After
a long search for work he is hired by the
Bhattya, a patrolship in the Old Empire. Almost
immediately he starts showing that he is even
more expert at ship handling and tactics than his
current experience accounts for, and he is
haunted by scraps of memory that suggest
political complications for both himself and the
Guild. As long as the Guild itself is trustworthy
he will not take any special measures to remember
his past, as that would be against his oath as a
member of the Guild. However, there may be even
larger issues at stake, and the Bhattya's
officers eventually cannot ignore them.
colorful, easy writing makes the lead characters
and the mechanism of webbing, or spaceship
control, immediate and vivid. The charm of Rafe,
the steady intelligent loyalty of Joshim, and the
seasoned rebelliousness of Rallya are all
consistently intriguing. Sexual relationships are
treated as enjoyable, normal and important, but
not the only goal of life. The pieces of the plot
all ultimately belong in the plot, while showing
off numerous varied aspects of the Guild and the
What is bad?
The plot and story are a touch facile, many
minor characters given only exactly enough
individuality to take their places in the plot.
(I'm not sure this is bad, but it's sort of
overly efficient.) The ending is a little too
reasonable and easy about unreasonable issues,
even if it's fun and a neat wrap-up.
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