Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn’t just a nuisance anymore – he’s public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. But Frey knows something they don’t. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he’s going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons. It’s going to take all his criminal talents to prove he’s not the criminal they think he is …
If you are a Browncoat who is lost in lamentations over the cancellation of Firefly, this is the book for you. I’m not saying it will replace the crew of Serenity, but it will go a long way to fill the void and feed the need for a good pirate/cowboy steampunk western.
The individual crew members of the Ketty Jay are introduced to the reader one by one, with each revealing their story, apart from the Captain. To say he was a work in progress would be an understatement as his character was developed and grew and the novel progressed. Most of all the characters are loveable on the Ketty Jay, maybe not so much their motives and reasoning at some points, but they each have something about them that will have the reader wanting to learn more about them and join them on their adventures; Id’ join them if we could leave the Captain behind as I just could not warm to him and thought him to be a bit of a spineless human being. As in all the good adventure stories the villains, are well just that, villains. From the description of these characters, right down to the personalities they each have there is nothing that could have the reader mistaking them for being anything else than what they are…baddies.
Although, in my opinion, the story takes a while to get underway this is not a bad thing, as in these ‘slow’ moments is where the set-up for the adventure begins and when it starts it definitely moves along at a cracking pace and does not disappoint at all. Through great writing the Author is able to provide a perfect balance of sadness alongside humour and wraps it all up in the form of shenanigans. There is magic, gun play, sword fights and daemons; so enough of everything to appeal to most reader.
I would highly recommend this novel to all Browncoats, steampunk fans and lovers of the type of adventure novels that are so hard to come by today. I will definitely be reading the remaining ‘Tales of the Ketty Jay’ novels.