Are you happy? Do you think life is just amazing? Think any change would be to the worse?
Tom seems an ordinary guy, for a Family merchanter. But you know when C.J. Cherryh starts out writing contentedness all over the first handful of pages that things will change, and in Tripoint, the next to last of the Company War books, it sure does.
Because this Tom, he isn’t the ordinary merchant Family cousin. Unlike many others he do know who his father is – no one will let him forget, least of all his mother; he has gotten the story of how is mother was raped fed to him since his earliest years – his mother is obsessed with it, and he strives to achieve her love. Forever in vain, and he know it. Still strives.
One such attempt ends up with him being abducted by the very ship whose Captain is his father… and bit by bit we get to see another side of the story.
That Other ship, Corinthian, is known as suspect of being a go-between for the Mazianni, the renegade Earth Company Fleet. And here the text becomes almost Marxist in its choice of tale. The core of Marxism is, whatever mythology has to say about it, that economics is the over-ruling principle of human society. When choices are made, look to where the money is – you need to keep you and yours alive in this world, and you take the deal you are offered, to make odd ends meet. Idealism only feeds so many mouths.
And if the surface story is that about a boy and his heritage, and about everyone’s need to have a place and a mode of respect, the other story is about how chance had Corinthian run the errands that they do – others may look down at them but at least they are making a living. And as Tom discovers – for many of the crew it is the only decent place in a world dominated by Families that have no place for the odd relative, or for the unconnected nobody. Pro or con the Mazianni? Not everyone can afford to make that choice.
And in the end Tom discovers something about himself, besides that of an unexpected family.
As is clear by my recent bout of Company War rereads these are books that ought to be read.
What are you waiting for?!?! :-)