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on 11 August 2015
Pure brilliance
Not my genre but loved it.
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on 14 June 2015
I think that this is possibly the best book in an excellent series. Like other reviewers I am not sure what it is that makes the series so fascinating. The series is the story of Ishmael Wang (pronounced to rhyme with 'gong'). Ishmael is a decent guy and for the most part only good things ever happen to him.

Ishmael's main talent seems to be passing exams but he is a worrier. He is constantly doubting his own ability but always manages gets the right result. This is because he gets the best from other people. He puts his trust in them and with the exception of his wife, they never fail him. And that could be the secret of these books. It is an ideal world that we would like to live in, populated by decent people who respond positively to be treated with respect.

This is a good, but not exceptional, story that is set in a universe that obeys the rules of physics. The ships have an inter-stellar drive that folds space so that they move between solar systems in an instant. They do most of their in system manoeuvring using a combination of force fields that act as a solar sail and a keel. It is time consuming but all the technology feels very safe and familiar.

Dip in and have a read. Nathan Lowell's writing will draw you in and if you are not already hooked by the 'Tales from the Golden Age of the solar clippers' series then the chances are that you will be b y the end of this book.
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on 14 May 2017
I've read this series several times over the years and still find it enjoyable.
Nathan Lowell is definitely on my auto-read list.
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on 28 September 2016
There is somewhat less tedious minutiae in this book, which can only be a god thing. On the downside, Lowell's favourite word gets even more overuse.

Throughout this series I have notice that Lowell has a favourite word. The verb scamper, usually used in the past tense. This word is overused to a ridiculous degree in this book. Everyone scampers everywhere, it boggles my mind what Lowell thought he was doing. I can only assume that at some point he has heard the word and become so enamoured of it he wants to use it all the time. So we are forced to endure being told that people are running with quick, light steps through fear or excitement, EVERYWHERE! What makes it worse is that do you really think people are going to be running with quick light steps off the bridge of a ship after their watch, all the time? Of course not, it is unlikely to happen at all, ever. This is because in the universe Mr Lowell has created where people are very concerned about safety regulations and operating correctly, the chances of people taking the inherently unsafe action of running up or down ladders is very unlikely. So we are left with a word that is constantly used inappropriately and frankly, it sounds stupid.

Just as stupid as all the snickering. Another massively overused word, clearly Mr Lowell has a couple of favourite word he is determined to shoe horn into every situation no matter how inappropriate or nonsensical. The number of times that laugh, chuckle, guffaw or any other variation is used can be counted on one hand, while there are enough snickers to make a shipload of chocolate bars.

There is still a degree of fixation on describing boring trivialities in excruciating detail, which wastes a lot of time and text. But thankfully it is getting better.
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on 3 April 2014
I listened to the audio version read by the author. For once, I find an author who can read a narrative in an entertaining manner. The phrase "read by the author" is often the knell of doom as great writers bring wooden reading, or an inappropriate manner to wonderful works. Nathan Lowell reads like a professional. Well done to him.

I previously criticised Ishmael Wong's adventures as shallow. Wong's recollections of his experience as a deck hand, junior officer and captain cover minute details of housekeeping. It is almost Mrs Beaton in space. But I found myself liking his explanations to his crew about how to make sandwiches. Despite appearing as a know it all, Wong is often caught by surprises that Lowell telegraphs to the reader. I cannot believe that Wong was the first to spot the best way to take advantage of a solar wind. Space frieghtering seems to be a very practical trade after all. But never the less, Lowell pertrays and reads Wong as an amiable Captain we would all like as a boss.
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on 22 November 2015
Most emphatically five stars.
It really makes a change to read a book that is not all about people being nasty to each other. By the time I reached this book I was thoroughly caught up in Ishmael's life and I simply had to find out what happened next. I managed to lose a lot of sleep whilst reading these books because I could not put them down and I was sitting up in bed until the small hours, glued to my Kindle.
Without wishing to spoil the ending of the final book, I was left quite bereft when I finished it. I wanted to know what happened next to Ishmael - and to some of the characters he had met along the way. I hope to discover a seventh book has been added soon.
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on 27 October 2013
As with all the solar clipper tales this is really excellent.
Well written, good story telling and very three dimensional characters.

Nathan Lowell is a master story teller and the solar clipper tales are classics.
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on 26 November 2015
I like this series, the characters are interesting, this book intriduces a lot of new ones, The way the main character finds his way through his problems sounds reasonable to me, will be reading more of these.
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on 27 October 2013
The fifth book in the series continues to develop the character of Ishmael Wang and introduces us to another troubled crew for Ish to work his magic on, this time as Captain. Another great story.
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on 5 May 2015
Another great book in the series. If you are fed up with blood and guts sci-fi and what to read something more character driven, and life in the deep dark then this series is the place to look.
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