I liked this book – but not as much as the second book.
This is the story of Syn and Shahara's son Devyn and Alix.
Devyn started his career as a doctor working for the League. However, when his commanding officer orders him to abandon a severely injured child in order to tend to slightly wounded League soldiers he realises that the League is not the bastion of honour and decency that he had believed. Choosing to save the child (and killing/wounding a large number of League soldiers in order to do so) Devyn becomes a renegade. However, despite League propaganda it transpires that the contraband he is "smuggling" is actually food and medicine to innocent civilians blockaded by the League.
Alix is a slave. She was the engineer on her father's ship until he was executed for smuggling. As slaves, she, her mother and sister were taken by the government as property. Alix is offered a deal by Merjack: find or fabricate evidence of Devyn's illegal activities or her virgin sister will be raped. Alix has been the ship's whore just to save her baby sister from such a fate so she unwillingly agrees.
Alix becomes the ship's engineer on Devyn's ship, the Thalia. Alix and Devyn are immediately drawn to each other but Alix knows a man like him: cultured; educated; related to royalty; and incredibly wealthy could never have anything meaningful with a ship's whore like her. At this point I nearly stopped reading – this "woe is me, I'm not good enough" is getting old and tiresome. Luckily, only Alix suffers from these insecurities (although Devyn does suffer some anxiety as Alix looks just like a former lover of his who tried to kill him it doesn't really impact on the way he feels about Alix). I actually kept forgetting that Alix was a slave and felt that more could have been made of that aspect – it didn't ring true other than in the aftermath of when she is attacked by her father's former business partner.
This book didn't feel as detailed as the second book – it also felt shorter (368 pages vs 560 pages so definitely shorter). I also felt that this was simply a retelling of Shahara and Syn's story in some respects. I understand from reviewing comments on Amazon that this was originally the final book in the trilogy which may explain why there was a feeling of everything being wrapped up quite quickly.
We got to see Nero and Vik again as well as see how Kiara, Nykyrian, Syn and Shahara have matured. There was also a cameo from Syn's son Pedan.
Much as I am enjoying these novels I am detecting (as others have before me) a definite similarity of situation. Just once I would like the pair NOT to be instantly smitten with each other. Just once I would like them to actively dislike everything about each other and only gradually come around. What about having one or both of them involved with other people?
Also, I am struggling to understand how these guys can be renegades/criminals hunted by the League whilst being related/close to two separate Emperors of the galaxy and frequently visiting their homes/planets.