Helton Strom isn’t having a good day. Or week for that matter.

A teacher who can’t get the job he wants as pilot (even managing to break the simulator while testing), he decides to take a break to help out his sister, he then has his citizenship and job stripped from him, and is left adrift with nothing to do. To make matters worse, the ship has been hijacked by pirates, and he, and the passengers, have been stranded on a desert planet, to be used as slaves.

Little did he know things were already looking up.

First things first, the format. There are two editions of this book. The first is in a semi-screenplay format, the second is a standard prose style retelling that covers the first half called “Back From the Dead: The Stars Came Back” which covers the first half of the original, the second half is in process. It takes a while to get into the flow of things, but gives the story a very cinematic style, with internal thoughts, feelings, and dialog telegraphed by visual cues, what people do, what they say, and what the author, as “director”, choses to focus on.

Which brings us back to the story.

After saving the prisoners with the help of another passenger, Strom stumbles into what looks like the chance of a lifetime. Free and clear ownership of an old, small transport that’s desperately in need of repairs. And someone’s already living on board. And hints build up that it has a mind of it’s own – and we’re not entirely certain it’s sane.

It does appear… protective.

And things keep rolling from there.

It’s been said that if you liked the freewheeling “western” feel of Firefly with an oddball crew, you’d probably like this. Except this has less corporate conspiracies, just as many nasty bureaucracies and power-hungry predators, and more explosions.

Lots more. That’s what you expect when you add in mercenary companies, battle fleets, tanks, infantry action, and a rogue, abandoned battlestation.

Full of action and adventure, with a side dash of philosophy, it’s an interesting tale of a man molding a new future, alliances, and a new, rag-tag “family,” out of the people and materials at hand, and indeed, at the end, working to return the stars to mankind, instead of to the tyrants.