Publisher's Summary: One by one, Social Unity eliminates the freedom fighters until only Tanner and his ship are left. Then, they trap him on a luxury space station. From prison, Tanner makes a deal with a mysterious Earthman, Lord Acton. The Earthman is vague about a stealth mission on the galactic rim, but Tanner is desperate.
Everything seems reasonable until they sneak onto an asteroid pirate base where Acton purchases unbelievable weapons. The Earthman has a distant rendezvous on a dead world–where the dreaded cyborgs once made their last stand against the Old Federation. But the planet isn't dead, Social Unity has followed them with a fleet and an ancient threat is now revealed. Is Acton a traitor to humanity or its potential savior? Whatever the case, Tanner is in it deep, fighting to save himself and the human race.
Full Review: The story begins with a war raging between two sides, neither of which have many redeeming qualities.
The Coalition and their Social Unity ideology are similar to tyrannical communism, and just as corrupt. On the other side there's the Romanesque Remus government, with its caste system of “have” and “have nots,” based on family lineage.
In both systems, bad people at the top make the lives of those living under them miserable, which had me considering moving on to another book in the first few pages. But I chose to stick with Star Raider as I really enjoyed the author's other books, and in the end I'm glad I did.
After the after the above mentioned war, Tanner finds himself at the end of a a multi-year downward spiral. But when he finally reaches bottom, he's thankfully offered a job that gets him and his ship back into open space.
From there the story moves along at a good and interesting pace, and I came to really like Tanner and Greco, as well as some of the others they team up with.
Along the way, some of the characters keep their true intentions hidden, sometimes well past the usefulness of doing so. However, when the time comes to choose between personal safety and the fate of the galaxy, the group of travelers aboard the Dark Star make the honorable choice of putting the safety of the galaxy before their own.
And by the end of the book the crew is gelling so well that it has me looking forward to the next book in the series.
One footnote: It's not often I read a publishers summary that doesn't seem accurate, but I have to say the summary of this book just doesn't feel right to me. While it does convey the “gist” of the story, the facts are not as I perceived them when I read the book.