Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Pyr an imprint of Prometheus Books     
ISBN 978-1-59102-786-7               
270 Pages           
October 2009


She’s the Boss, by merit, by talent, by choice. She puts teams together to dive derelicts in space, a risky but sometimes profitable business. She knows lots of folk, mostly divers, but is close to none.  Diving is a loner’s profession;

The universe that makes her story possible is a long time from now, a very long time, so long that some important technology has been lost. That ancient technology is what all the divers hope to find because that’s where the money is.

The universe that makes her story possible also includes a recent war that the Empire won but the Alliance didn’t exactly lose. The balance is precarious, hanging by a thread that will be cut if the old stealth technology can be re-discovered by either side.

In three parts, we watch Boss find what she’s looking for, lose it, and then attempt to destroy it. Part 1 sets the problems, the ones she must deal with and the ones she doesn’t realize she’s dealing with. The former comes in the form of the lost stealth technology hidden on a derelict that Boss discovered. It costs two crew members’ lives, her fault. The latter comes in the form of what Boss is willing to live with in her universe.

Part II allows the problem to complicate by introducing Boss’ parents, mother and father, one deceased and one searching for the answer to how that happened. It also brings the Empire more into focus. Once again, Boss errs and, once again, she loses a crew member. Now, she’s pissed.

Part III demonstrates why it was never a good idea to get on her bad side.

The technicalities in Boss’ story are beautifully played. The rationale for what divers do, how they do it, and how that results in a code among them is superb. There isn’t a false note in the descriptions of diving.

The personalities in the story are fine. Some folk will complain at the no-good father figure, some at the conflicted medic willing to blow things up but I doubt a complaint will be made about Boss, She’s real, flawed, and interesting. Nor about Karl, who does his job the best way he knows how and dies because of it.

Boss’ universe, though, may get to purists. The Empire is big and therefore bad; the Alliance is small and therefore worth saving. Put those qualms aside and read the book. It is very good.

© 2009 Dan Bieger

Leave a comment