After a decade on the William Tinker, where he has progressed from third mate to first mate, Ishmael finally sits for Captain and shortly thereafter receives command of the Agamemnon, a small cargo ship with only eight crew. The Aganemnon has a bad reputation. It is crewed by troublemakers and misfits, and profits have been abysmal.
Unlike Double Share, this book goes back to the adventures in normality model. The problems with the crew are swiftly and painlessly resolved through the application of some good old fashioned leadership. It is still an enjoyable read because the characters are richly realized, and the pithy dialogue is excellent.
On a side note, it seems rather unrealistic to be shipping things like gases and clay from planetary system to planetary system, unless shipping is ridiculously cheap of course. Having said that, the books aren’t really about the items that are being traded, but rather about shipboard life, so I’m willing to forgive Lowell on this point.