Tuesday, May 18, 2010

[Review] Captain's Share by Nathan Lowell (Age of the Solar Clipper 5)

A trader’s life in the Deep Dark is dangerous for a working stiff like Ishmael Horatio Wang as we have seen in the previous four books, now he is about to take his first independent command on the tanker Agamemnon. This is an epic down to earth story of personal growth, trading and leadership methods in the Age of the Solar Clippers.

Title: Captain’s Share

Author: Nathan Lowell
Voice: Nathan Lowell
Series: A Trader's Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper book 5
Audiobook: 16.5 hours (22 x 45 minutes episodes)
Genre: Mercantile Science Fiction
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Get it: Free Online | iTunes
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 United States License

Reviewer: Ove Jansson

Be warned that this is a really capturing story, when you begin listening to it you might not stop until you listen to all the books in the series as I did.
A shuffling of cabins puts Ishmael Horatio Wang in command of the worst ship in the fleet. He learns that being Captain doesn't make you infallible and that life in the Captain's Cabin is filled with new kinds of challenge as he tries to keep the ship moving, the crew out of trouble, and turn a profit to earn his Captain's Share. In a ship where the officers outnumber the crew, how can he manage to keep everybody happy? Welcome to the SC Agamemnon.
The Author
Nathan Lowell has been a writer for more than forty years, and first entered the literary world by podcasting his novels. His sci-fi series, The Golden Age of the Solar Clipper grew from his long time fascination with space opera and his own experiences shipboard in the United States Coast Guard.
Dr. Nathan Lowell holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technology with specializations in Distance Education and Instructional Design. He also holds an M.A. in Educational Technology and a BS in Business Administration. He grew up on the south coast of Maine and is strongly rooted in the maritime heritage of the sea-farer. He served in the USCG from 1970 to 1975, seeing duty aboard a cutter on hurricane patrol in the North Atlantic and at a communications station in Kodiak, Alaska. He currently lives in the plains east of the Rocky Mountains with his wife and two daughters.

Ishmael Wong signed up on the merchant ship Lois McKendrick when his mother died in a flier crash and found a second family there. The ‘Share’ part of the title refers to what part of the ship’s profit a crewman receives at different levels.

The first three parts could be called the Lois McKendrick Trilogy and is about Ishmael’s learning the ropes as a spacer. Reviews of Quarter Share, Half Share and Full Share.

Ishmael is assigned to a deeply dysfunctional ship directly after the Academy in Double Share. It is more of a traditional story with a protagonist and an obvious antagonist in the first mate than the other books.

World building
The whole series focus on everyday life of a spacer. World building is not very extensive outside the ship and the trade and it isn’t any problem, you feel that the important part is the enclosed ship society, mostly everything outside the ship are not really important to the story.

First Mate Ishmael Wang ships out on the SC William Tinker. They find a modern day Flying Dutchman on the approach to Backall. Ishmael leads the salvage and they get a lesson in not taking chances in the Deep Dark and always keep spares that will matter later in the book.
Back on Diurnia he passed his Captain’s exam and is assigned to the tanker Agamemnon, a ship with a bad reputation and a crew of apparent misfits. Ishmael approaches the crew with his usual charm and with determination, people skills and extensive knowledge and skills in all the aspects of being a spacer when he starts to turn the ship around. Making good coffee and knowing his way around the kitchen is also a big help.

He also uses a bet to make it interesting for two of his crew to improve the cargo they carry. Trading strategies has been an important part of all the books in the series. Here they are more a tool for personal development.

Ishmael’s leadership strategies is built on little things that helps along and in finding people where they really are and listen to what they say and building up their confidence in themselves. This is something the author is really good at describing, you’ll notice his background in the field. Ishmael gets many chances to use his people skills with the original characters in the new crew.

There is also Ishmael’s personal story about his love for the Deep Dark and the adult way he handles his unhappy marriage.

He himself will also learn a valuable lesson about being in charge and what taking risks and not taking risks really mean.

This is a very character driven story. The characters are extremely easy to love. Ishmael’s inner dialogue is detailed and realistic. I think both he and the author presume inner goodness in people.

Ishmael is a good guy and has an endearing and charming way of dealing with life and the characters he meets. Spacers usually don’t marry outside their group. Ishmael married a stationer and he feels the strain it puts on his relationship every time he leaves, but he loves the Deep Dark.

My View
The Captain’s Share is a fantastic warm and mesmerizing story about a true leader of men in everyday situations that have bearing on our life today even if they take place in the future.

I have to give Captain’s Share an even stronger recommendation than the previous books.

Rating: 9/10

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails