I first encountered the space pirate Aston West in the anthology Raygun Chronicles, which I reviewed here in November of 2013. What I didn’t know at the time is that there are a number of Aston West adventures.
Like the short novel, Seeker, which we’ll look at today.
The story opens with Aston being boarded as he leaves a system. He’d come there to pick up a contract which turns out to not exist. Rather it’s a setup. He’s boarded, but the boarders don’t find anything. They’re not overly concerned. The man in charge, Oletari, has an ace up his sleeve, and her name is Naimakeeda. She’s a Seeker, which means she can read minds.
And her job at the moment is to read Aston’s mind.
Only it turns out that Naimakeeda has an agenda of her own. She’s being kept as a slave by Oletari, and she wants Aston’s help in breaking free. Aston wants no part of the scheme, but when the boarding tube from Oletari’s ship won’t unclamp from his, he has no choice but to accompany them back to the station while the ships are separated.
Now, along with an orphan named Lily, Aston finds himself being drawn into a rescue scheme he really would rather avoid.
Unfortunately for him, that’s not going to be possible.
This was an entertaining little book, one that is easily read in a couple of hours. Perfect for when you’ve got a little time to kill and are in the mood for some space opera.
Aston West is a thief and a smuggler, but he’s one with a conscience. This leads to some interesting moral conflicts, at least in his mind. He wants to do the right thing, but he knows better than to stick his neck out.
We get some interesting bits of Aston’s backstory as Naimakeeda enters his mind more than once during the story. There are some interesting hints about her abilities that I would like to see explored further.
If you like good, old fashioned space opera, then give Seeker a try. There are several Aston West novels as well as a short story collection. I’m planning on checking some of them out.