The one failing in this type of science fiction (Space Opera) is that there is often a significant amount of background. As in the real world, science based fiction seems to need more proof than the magic based.
I really liked this book…once it got moving. The first nine chapters were pure background music. We had to be introduced to the universe. The science. The cultural (special?) intricacies. And, of course, the relationships between the characters had to be hammered out. I still felt the first nine chapters could have been summed up in two. And the first chapter almost made me put down the book, it was so cheesy an unrealistic.
The overall plot of the novel: A young shipping company heir loses his wife around the same time a planet mysteriously loses its entire population to an unknown (but violent) adversary. During both of these events there is a galactic war against an alien species bent on murdering everyone not them.
Fast forward a few years and the shipping heir has turned himself into a privateer (barely legal space pirate) who is searching the universe for a wife he refuses to believe is dead. Along for the ride, is an assassin with secrets of her own and a mean temper. After being blackmailed by the government, the duo is forced to take on a questionable crew to aid a professor of the remaining aliens left of the dead world. The professor is determined to find out what killed his planet and bring his people home.
(And we have now reached chapter 3. The next few are about them outfitting the ship. My frustration almost had me replacing the book.)
Once they travel to the world, other team not only have to battle personality conflicts, a hostile planet, and government interference; but to top it all off, the crew is divided and none too happy about being forced to the planet that destroyed a race.
On the planet, myth becomes fact and forgotten gods have risen to take vengeance on the planet they cannot leave. The team has to fight their way to the very heart of the world in order to get home.
Once they reach the planet, the novel is a page turner of adventure. While somewhat predictable, it is never the less a worth whole read. Just, next time, a little less talk at the beginning would be appreciated.