The Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

After Earth was destroyed by an alien invasion, people now live on Mars or on galactic space stations. It isn’t an easy life for most people, including twin brothers, Denver and Laramie. The men eke out their living on their small ship, salvaging space scrap along with their friend, Merit, and their AI, Opal. Things are made more complicated by the fact that Laramie has health issues caused by living in space. Getting treatment isn’t easy or cheap, and even with it, Laramie is often weak, but Denver would do anything to protect and help his brother.

When their crew finds a mysterious object floating in space, they hope that it will be the ticket to a big pay off that could help keep Laramie in the treatment he needs, along with giving them some money in the bank. But they are in no way prepared for just how big a find it truly is, something that could change their lives and the lives of many others. But figuring out how to make use of their find isn’t that easy. Martian authorities will seize it immediately if they find out what the brothers are carrying. While they may skirt the law a bit, neither is particularly familiar with the black market or how to unload the goods. However, the brothers get help from an unexpected source, an attractive man named Spence who gives Denver feelings he has never had before for a man.

Faced with little choice, and a whole lot of possibilities, the small crew decides to take a crazy chance. It is an opportunity that could change all their lives for the better — but also put them at incredible risk. Now it’s a race through space with danger at their heels, but if they make it, the world as they know it will never be the same.

I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I love a good space adventure and The Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion captured me from the very start and I could barely put it down. This book has sort of a space opera/space western feel (note the twins are Denver and Laramie), and it’s just a whole lot of fun and adventure. For any book like this, the world building is key, and authors Marie Sexton and Cari Z do a great job here. The details are revealed in a natural flow as we learn about an alien race that came to Earth and brought with it an intergalactic war that destroyed the planet. Humans now mostly live on Mars, the moon, and various space stations and it isn’t a great life for most. The authors really set up an interesting world here and there are a lot of engaging side characters that develop things nicely. We also learn about a legend of potential salvation that ends up changing all their lives (I’m not going into too much detail because learning about what the guys find and how they use it is part of the fun of the story). The world building here provides a great foundation for the rest of the book and we get a great sense of adventure as the group faces dangerous villains, risky escapes, and wild plans that could change their lives if they work — and destroy them if they don’t. I found the story creative and clever and very exciting.

For all the adventure here and the outside conflict, this book really comes down to relationships, primarily the one between Denver and Laramie. The men are identical twins and had a psychic bond. They are incredibly close; Denver describes Laramie as his other half. With Laramie sick, Denver is determined to do whatever it takes to help him. He put his life on hold for Laramie, and is willing to risk it without thought to ensure his brother is safe and healthy. For Laramie’s part, he doesn’t want Denver’s sacrifice. He wants Denver to have a life and his own happiness without being so wrapped up in worry for Laramie. The two men love each other, but it is also clear how both need to find their own center and their own life alongside the bond they have with each other, and we see that play out over the course of the book. There is also a bond between them that let’s Laramie talk into Denver’s head, so there is a lot of banter and fun here as the men interact. We get some explanation for why they have this psychic connection, and while we learn the origins, I would have loved to see this part expanded just a little. But overall, I really enjoyed the connection between the brothers and the love they have for each other is really the heart of the book.

There is also a romance here for Denver and Spence, but it develops slowly and is not really the focus of the story. Spence ends up along on their adventure, but while there is an attraction between the men from the start, this is a very slow burn. I didn’t feel like the relationship ever fully develops; the men are attracted to each other right away, but I never got a great sense of what drew them together romantically aside from circumstances and they spend very little time actually together. As I said, the bond between the brothers is the real focus here and so the romantic relationship between Spence and Denver feels much more secondary. I would have loved to see just a few more scenes here where their relationship is growing so I could more fully believe the connection that we see by the end of the story. That said, it all wraps up nicely and the epilogue pulls things together well.

Overall, I found this one a lot of fun. It is a great space adventure with nice world building and a lot of excitement. There are twists and turns, engaging side characters, and a lot of fun here. Definitely check this one out.