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Summary

The first installment in the Far Star series, a swashbuckling space saga that introduces the daring pirate Blackhawk and the loyal crew of the Wolf's Claw, from the author of the best-selling Crimson Worlds saga.

Smuggler and mercenary Arkarin Blackhawk and the crew of the ship Wolf's Claw are freelance adventurers who live on the fringe of human society in the Far Stars. A veteran fighter as deadly with a blade as he is with a gun, Blackhawk is a man haunted by a dark past. Even his cynicism cannot banish the guilt and pain that threaten his sanity.

Sent to rescue the kidnapped daughter of his longtime friend, Marshal Augustin Lucerne, Blackhawk and his crew find themselves drawn into one deadly fight after another. When the Wolf's Claw is damaged, they are forced to land on a remote planet subsumed by civil war. Pulled unwittingly into the conflict, they uncover disturbing information about secret imperial involvement that could upset the plans of Lucerne. For the marshal is determined to forge a Far Stars Confederation powerful enough to eliminate all imperial influence and threats in the sector. He needs a skilled warrior like Blackhawk on his side, but the mercenary, plagued by dark memories from the past, refuses to join the cause. All too soon, though, he and his crew will have to take a stand.

©2015 Jay Allan Books (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, great narration

This book and narration is great, the only gripe I've got it the last of pause before switching scenes. when it switches between worlds and characters something like "chapter 3 planet, optimus prime, world 3, year 3017" would be nice just so I could work out who where and when I am in the story. it's annoying trying to work out when the story jumps area and characters.
I'm half way through book 2 now and it has the same problem but it is a great series so I will persevere and try to work it out.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A good start

A good start to this book with a great reeding to. the caricatures are interesting if not that little bit silly as all sci-fi caricatures are as plot. but I will get more of the books.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jay H.
  • 23-04-16

Clichés galore

I liked the story, and the performance is fine, but I almost drove off the road from rolling my eyes so hard. I found myself talking to my car stereo, says, "OK. I get it. He is haunted by his past. Move on."

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Copper Minehart
  • 01-02-18

Overweight & underpowered..

Hot, high, heavy, and dirty is a dangerous combination when you are trying to get an airplane off the ground with only a few thousand feet of runway... lucky for Shadow of Empire that swashbuckling Sci-fi always gets an Edwards/Rogers 24,000ft runway from me :-) Jay Allen can thank Harry Harrison, Heinlein, and Alan Dean Foster (among others) for that!

Even so, this book chewed up almost all of that runway as I forced myself to choke it down. I would not have made it past chapter four if I were actually reading it.

There was just SOOOOOOO much superfluous inflection... it felt like an attempt to wrap a Harlequin novel in a blackbeard-starwars mashup. The sentences were just, well...silly. Wading through the predictability and weak character development was "challenging"... like slogging through a Louisiana swamp in August.

In attempting to wrap up this unfortunate review on a positive note, i will say: A spark of hope remains, albeit hiding somewhere under a sagging weight of disappointment. Any ex-cubscout that can recall the excitement of their first snipe hunt (and its conclusion) will likely understand my meaning.

in it's defence, the back story and the universe are decent, so perhaps the author will improve upon his future stories. He has some good ideas, they were just not executed well here (imo). good luck in the future.

The narrator is quite good though and his solid delivery saves this one, allowing it to stall out, just above the runway, pehaps causing a few spilled drinks, nervous smiles... and more than a few cheers from the surviving passengers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • 29-01-18

Bad Plot and background story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The background information changed a couple of times in the book. Describing a planet one way and then change a couple of chapters later.

Motivation of the main character. Describing the main character one way but have him do something else.

Motivation of the crew. Not following orders when the main character tells them to leave but when it happens again, some of the crew follows his orders and leave him.

Describing the team. Are they mercenaries, smugglers, pirates, or adventures? They story starts off with them being mercenaries but ends with calling them adventures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-18

A shallow plot with an unrealistic story.

Suitable story for a comic book, not a story about human reality. Read the first chapter, and it's all the same. I was glad it was over.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • luke davison
  • 19-11-15

absolutely terrible.

this book was absolutely horrible and written at a high school level, the main protagonist combined all the worst features of Captain Kirk Conan and John Wayne and threw in a hefty dose of Twilight like love angst. I am ashamed of the fact that I paid money for this the only good thing was the narrator and even he was hard pressed to save this train wreck of a book.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 10-11-15

No a fan of uninteresting Mary-Sue type characters

Right off the bat everything is too perfect for these "underdogs" to be in as bad a situation as they end up. A ship that is superior to all others, a crew un-paralleled, the protagonist being perfect despite a "troubled past", you can stop me if any or all of this sounds very familiar, and with all that very little of it has any originality to it. Save your money and time, find something else.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • andrew
  • 08-03-16

fast fun and multifaceted!

I didn't think this would be more then a bit of fluff to pass the time. But it turned out to be a well-rounded story with fun characters a good backdrop and a lot of great action. definitely going to continue this series!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nick
  • 16-04-18

Tedious and Repetitive with robotic voice work.

I don't really know where to begin with this. I rarely actually write a review, but I feel this book's rating far exceeds its merits.

Where to begin....
I was looking for something Firefly-esque, you know, rogues and misfits in a derelict spaceship flying around being cool together and having adventures. This... was not it.

The characters are almost interesting, until you realize its like a little kid rolling his first D&D characters, and he's made sure they're all somehow max-stat in everything.

EVERY character monologues THE EXACT SAME WAY. There's really no differentiation, except for who they happen to be loyal to or who they're worried about.

Their dialogues are also... all the same. Long, overwrought, excessively verbose, needlessly namedropping, awkwardly stilted conversation.
The narrator doesn't do the dialogue and favors either, emphasizing things that just make it more tedious. Worse, the narrators voicing of every character except Blackhawk turns in oddly robotic sounding performances at times.

If you cut down the excessive repetition of monologued character traits, motivations and backstory, you could easily shave 33% or more off the length of the book.

I have no intention of finishing this series, I only made it through the book out of sheer determination not to leave a book unfinished, but its been a while since a fiction book has managed to be more irritating than my commute itself actually is.

If you have ANY taste in prose, pacing, character development, depth of story, etc, AVOID THIS BOOK. This was NOT a great listen. It was not even a good listen.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-03-18

Overly clichéd

Couldn't take all the reluctant hero cliches wrapped up in just the protagoniat. We won't even touch his Raf tag crew with skills.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • MARY K WALTER
  • 09-01-18

Tedious exposition

I wanted to like this book and hung on for about 2/3 before I decided life is too short and there are too many books to waste time. I wish the author had told ONE of the stories well and stopped with the endless and often repetitive musings of minor characters to fill space (pardon the pun).