Quarter Share is intelligent, well written, tells a familiar yet original story, and has a fully fleshed out main character whose story you’ll care about. (It was also perfect for me over the last few chaotic months when all I wanted to do was stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head while the world went to hell in a hand basket. Hello Hell!)

However, if you are not anxiety prone, and want a action packed sci fi to read, move along — this isn’t it. This is the nuts and bolts of life on a merchant space ship with all the attendant excitement of visiting ports of call and making deals on cargo. Our guy is bright, works his way up the chain of command with alacrity, and he has nice friends. However, very little happens beyond that. No wars, aliens, romance, or even disagreements between the crew — like watching spiffy paint dry on the prow of a really pretty ship. NIce, but really, there are more interesting things to read if you are so inclined.

I’ve already bought book 2! (It’s looking to be the start of a crazy 4 years, and I need my sleep.)

Younger guys might really like it since it does have a Horatio Hornblower thing going, without the whips and the scurvy.

BUT — this book was NOT helped by Jeffrey Kafer’s “Joe Friday, just the facts, mam” delivery. His monotone precision was a literal yawn, and his blank blandness added zero emotional nuance. It’s a shame really. The MC is 18 when it starts, so a younger, more enthusiastic performance could have added much, including the sense of a real young man’s life being lived.

Recommended: For young guys who like Horatio Hornblower-in-Space type books, and people who love to read about life on a merchant space ship — and don’t want to get too excited while listening to it.

Fun Fact: I was married to a guy on the Exxon Valdez in 1989 (not kidding). I traveled with him from New Orleans to Houston where we disembarked before it continued on to infamy. And like the characters in this book, getting off ship to relax in port was the ONLY thing keeping those guys sane.

But what most people don’t know about that particular ship is that Congress passed a law that allowed companies like Exxon to ship their oil in single hulled tankers, like the Valdez, instead of the safer double hulled tankers that they used to run — so when the accident occurred, a BIG spill was inevitable.

Why inevitable? The oil companies didn’t want to have to spend money for double hulling their tankers any more, because tankers with double hulls were heavier and cost more money to run — so they lobbied congress for the change and guess what happened!

Thanks Congress!