Merchanter's Luckby C. J. Cherryh
ISBN 0 413 53070 1
I do like C.J. Cherryh’s science fiction. Her writing style can be very terse, which makes action scenes very tense and exciting. Her technology seems plausible and is consistent across the stories set in the Alliance/Union “Universe”. Her technology also has a “used” feel about it, as one would expect from a living environment.
On the Alliance/Union timeline, "Merchanter’s Luck" takes place a few years after "Downbelow Station" – the Hinder Stars are being re-opened, there’s a cease fire in place between Union and Alliance, the Mazianni are being hunted down, and Mallory and Norway, Elene Quen and Josh Talley, characters from "Downbelow Station", are still around.
The main character in "Merchanter’ Luck", Sandor Kreja, shares the characteristics of many of Cherryh’s main characters; he is an outsider and is damaged in some way (only survivor of a ship family hit by Mazianni raiders). But, he is a survivor and, with the aid of members of the Reilly family from the great name ship, Dublin Again, is able to resolve many of the problems he is beset with.
A rattling good read and a very atmospheric book if one is considering a space-based game such as Traveller. There’s a full review on Wikipedia with interesting links to aspects of Cherryh’s Alliance/Union “universe”.
Other books by C.J. Cherryh: Tripoint     Finity's End