I found this to be a VERY fast-paced book that never let up from beginning to end. The story of the second voyage of the Alliance Star Ship "Vorpal Blade" was, if anything, even more exciting and danger-filled than the first one, and that was superb.
If you've read the earlier books, you'll already know the characters and basic background, but if not, there's enough in this to catch up in a hurry. I call it "space opera", which Wikipedia defines as "a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale."
I couldn't describe this book better if I tried. I liked the action, I liked the people, I liked the science, and I found the last third of the book utterly impossible to put down. I can't wait for the sequel, "Claws That Catch", which is due out in November 2008.
Given all that, though, this one gets only four stars for two reasons:
1. Two major characters from Vorpal Blade (Looking Glass) who are so important that the survival of the UNIVERSE depends on them are completely missing in action.
2. There's a new character you get to meet, know, and like a heckuva lot in the first half of the book who completely disappears from the story for about the last hundred pages. Where'd he go?
I still recommend this book highly, even with the above. It was fun.