We’re trained to make the most of the situation we’re in, not to wish we were somewhere else.
Set in Rusch’s wider Diving universe, after an ill-fated rescue mission the crew of the Ivoire find themselves 5,000 years in the future far from the rest of the Fleet and everyone they’ve ever known or understands who they are, with no way of getting back. The crew are coping in different ways with the loss – both productive and destructive.
Without giving too much of the plot away, the story here is tightly told and, despite dealing with an established universe and technologies, Rusch leads those unfamiliar through the intricacies and risks being handled without bogging down in exposition.
I did find some of the more tense moments didn’t quite come across as stressful as they could have – for example, the threats, despite being tricky to diffuse, never really came across as particularly likely to me. Perhaps knowing where this piece sat between the other works in the series also made me feel the characters were less at risk.
Overall, though, this was a fun, self-contained adventure sci-fi story that didn’t require awareness of the related material to enjoy.