Stars Beyond - the follow up to Stars Uncharted
Roy Hammond and the crazy crew from the Road to the Goberlings are back in a new ship, Another Road. When last we saw these probable descendants of MacGyver, Nika had just killed a corporate assassin but the Eaglehawk executive Wickmore managed to escape the bomb and was still hunting her. Now they are dodging a mercenary ship sent by Wickmore as well as agents of the Justice Department that want Nika for their own reasons. Meanwhile Nika is working to keep Roy alive as his body struggles with the integration of his immortality and returning memory. All roads lead to the dangerous planet Zell, caught between two bazaar and deadly cosmic forces, where a mining colony has encountered the first sentient aliens....and the trail of Goberling's legendary find from the first book. As usual the crew are dodging missiles and corporate politics as various members are captured, rescued, and lost in space in this future universe driven by greed and vanity.
Compared to the action packed Stars Uncharted this sequel seems a bit tame. The crew is as intrepid and insane as ever, but in a relatively new ship with redundant safety features there is less threat of immediate death. Although Roy is dying and Nika needs better equipment to correct his DNA, she never displays her amazing ability to manipulate the human body under pressure. The action initially focuses on trying to acquire Nika a needed modding machine as they discover two new parties are after them. One is a mercenary captain who's crew have signed themselves into indenture as an alternative to death on the cattle ships. Bertram Snowshoe is a former member of that crew who managed to escape and the Captain wants him back, preferably dead. The other is one of the few honest and non-bribable agents of the Justice Department who believes Nika can save an alien race dying of a plague. They need someone who can manipulate the alien DNA with the rare metals only Nika uses. They will probably also need an abundant source of those rare metals, something Roy Goberling once found. Nika thinks she has reversed the suppression of Roy's memory but doesn't know how long it will take to resurface. Roy Hammond has never been to Zell but he remembers how to get there and also remembers everything which makes him himself and thus is once again the most wanted man in the galaxy. At least this time he has friends.
The crew was smart enough to invest in a decent ship with a decent engine etc. Sensible, but not quite as much fun as holding one together with paperclips and a prayer. The addition of an alien race was unexpected but a welcome addition since they had already solved the mystery of Roy Goberling. There is also the satisfying answer to how and where Goberling found such a source of super dense metals. Its always nice to see loose ends tied up but makes it unclear if this is a duology or if there will be a third book. Another Road and her crew will be involved in helping the aliens so its possible they will be back.
Stars Beyond is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller who also did the first book and it has 5 stars on Audible.