Filled with well-defined characters who confront a variety of ethical and moral dilemmas, Rusch’s third Diving Universe novel is classic space opera, with richly detailed worldbuilding and lots of drama. Although Rusch makes some unusual narrative choices that make parts of this book difficult to follow, it’s worth sticking with it to see how everything comes together. Boss and Squishy face difficult questions about loyalty — to friends and to ideals — as the story rockets toward an unexpected conclusion.
Wreck diver Boss is in a jam when she uncovers a Sector Base filled with evidence of a long- ago battle that suggests an answer to the mystery of her friends’ past. Further exploration uncovers a boneyard — a cloaked area potentially filled with ships containing the much-sought stealth tech. Meanwhile, Boss’ old friend Squishy, determined to destroy the Enterran Empire’s stealth tech research, is in need of Boss’ help to escape the Empire. But Boss risks losing everything if she tries to help her friend. (PYR, Jan., 302 pp., $16.00)