Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater [Book Review]
Excellent space opera, great feel and a thrilling read. The whole story takes place in a very short space and yet so much is conveyed about the main character and the universe that she inhabits. There’s a very real feel to it, and at the same time a weirdness from the setting. But weird in a good way.
Lost Solace refers to the ship that Opal, the protagonist, is looking for. Sometimes spaceships just disappear. Sometimes they come back. When they come back they’re full of secrets and treasure that can make you rich. But they aren’t safe.
Opal has hacked an AI driven spaceship. She’s using it to help her board and explore a Lost Ship, in the hope that it is the Solace, or that it can give Opal clues on how to find the lost Solace.
Slowly the backstory is leaked out to us like air from a damaged spacesuit. As Opal ponders the situation and tries to work out what is weird about the apparently abandoned hulk she’s exploring. She’s not alone. Her ship is sentient, and there are other intelligences on the hulk too. She also has human hunters, chasing her down to recover their stolen ship with its experimental AI.
Every obstacle and challenge builds the suspense. It also explores both the strange hulk and Opal’s life story. We find out how she developed the skills that keep her alive and why she’s here looking for lost ships. None of it seems contrived, there are no info dumps. It’s just really well written and immaculately edited story.