Val Con yos’Phelium has just completed his latest covert mission when he runs into a young woman being attacked by five or six mercenaries. Against his better judgment, he enters the fray and helps her to fend off her attackers. As a result, he learns that Miri Robertson is a mercenary and ex-bodyguard who has run afoul of the Juntavas, a kind of interplanetary mafia. Both on the run, Val Con and Miri decide to team up: together they will acquire adequate money and transportation to make good their escape. Of course, their plan is complicated by several more attacks from both the Juntavas and the local police. As they fight their way to freedom and encounter various friends and foes, Val Con and Miri also begin to develop feelings for each other beyond simple partnership.
You know that saying about judging a book by its cover? Well, this is one situation where you can absolutely do it. This book is a fairly conventional (to the best of my knowledge — I haven’t read that much sci fi) space opera with a hint of romance. And yes, there are giant turtles! I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but afterward I started noticing a lot of unanswered questions. For example, we know that Val Con is a spy and that his handlers have somehow rewired his brain; he’s able to make precise calculations about his chances of survival over a given period of time. But we don’t really know anything about his employers or the nature of his work as a spy. There are several other novels in this series, and I’m guessing this is not the first one, although it’s proven hard for me to verify the order of the books. So maybe that’s why I found the story a bit confusing. I’m not curious enough to track down the rest of the books, so I suppose I’ll just have to live with those loose ends. Still, this novel is a fun read for what it is.