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Merchanter's Luck (The Company Wars, #2)
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Merchanter's Luck (The Company Wars #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,069 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
The fateful meeting between the owner of a tramp star-freighter that flies the Union planets under false papers and fake names and a proud but junior member of a powerful starship-owning family leads to a record-breaking race to Downbelow Station--and a terrifying showdown at a deadly destination off the cosmic charts.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 1st 1982 by DAW (first published January 1st 1982)
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Sarah Stegall
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Think of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon. Think of Malcolm Reynolds and Serenity. Now make them lonely and reckless and hopeless. Sandor Kreja is pretty much these guys, without the supportive crew/sidekick. All he's got left after the raid that killed his family is his ship, a battered version of the Falcon or Serenity. In the opening chapter, Sandor walks into a bar and falls in love at first sight with the raven-haired Allison Reilly, a Merchanter daughter on leave. A quick roll in the hay ...more
Sandor Kreja is a survivor. He managed to escape the massacre of his family and has run the family spaceship, first with his brother, then without, for a very long time. The ship’s control system speaks in his brother’s voice, a comforting reminder of the loving connections he used to have. He has lived at the edge of the law and at the margins of society for his entire adult life and is longing to just have a chance to achieve a normal life.

Contrast this with Allison Reilly, who comes from an e
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, sci-fi, favorites
Who knows why one book strikes a chord with someone, but this one is my all time favorite and having a degree in English Lit, I read a lot. I have three copies of this book because if I look for it and can't find it within a day or two I panic and buy another copy. I love many books over many genres but my heart loves this one best.

You will enjoy this story more if you have read Downbelow Station at the very least. I will admit that the first time I read it, the end was a bit fuzzy but the more
Peter Tillman
Review on third(?) reread, Jan 2017:

Amazingly taut and condensed novel -- at 208 pages (mmpb), it's almost in long-novella territory, but fully developed. Opens as a sort-of romance, evolves into a complex rescue/business deal between a distressed sole proprietor and a wealthy Merchanter family, then morphs into a twist-ending with a dramatic hunt for Mazianni pirates in the Hinder Stars. Very cool book, one of Cherryh's very best. May be her masterwork?

I haven't had a lot of luck rereading late
We have a hard world, we do. We have a world that necessitates a certain amount of emotional distance. There are a lot of us in this world, each of us rubbing against the others. Scraping shoulders, butting souls. We need to develop a sort of emotional chitin in order to function; we can't go around the planet with all our hurts hanging out. We've all been poked in a place we can't stand to be touched. We've all been mocked for things we can't stand to display. We hide it, all that hurt and prid ...more
Alissa King
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I think this book is a representation of Cherryh at her best.

Complex, refreshing world-building, eloquent but not overly-verbose prose that's a joy to read, and tight story-telling - but not so tight that it leaves the narrative dry and uninspired. The book takes you on a roller-coasted ride of spacer element of the Alliance-Union universe, dwelling more on the nature of FTL travel and its specifics within this universe - about the technical side through the eyes of the starship captai
This isn't really a romance, but it has those elements. I read this back in Highschool and have loved CJ Cherryh's work ever since. It's a short read (at least I remember it being a slim battered paperback), but nail biting and sweet at the same time. Politics, intrigue, quality science fiction and space pirates! One of my all time favourites. Sure wish they'd release an audio version!
aPriL does feral sometimes
For some reason this novel felt like an expanded novella to me. I also felt it would have been a better book if it had been novella size or an even longer expanded book, especially in the battle scene.

There were quite a few characters I liked and wanted to know better. Brave orphan Captain Sandor Kreja captured my heart as he did Allison Reilly's. Ambitious Allison, eager to join the bridge, any bridge, as second in command, test herself, and shed her family Princess Power image for one of subs
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The first sequel to Cherryh's award-winning 'Downbelow Station', 'Merchanter's Luck' focuses on the aftermath of the creation of the interstellar Merchant Alliance based at Pell Station. As a child, Sandor Krejas was one of three survivors of a pirate attack on his 200 year-old family ship. Followed by years of accidents and poor luck, he lost the remaining members of his family and became Le Cygne's captain and sole crewman. A scoundrel, Krejas is also lonely, poor, constantly terrified and des ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sandor Kreja is in a strange position, sole owner of a spaceship but broke and running out of ways to cheat the system, when he encounters Allison Reilly, crewman of the prosperous Dublin Again, and decides to bet everything on the Dublin's next station stop. Merchanter's Luck is predicated on an infatuation at first sight which is never quite convincing; Sandor's pursuit of Allison feels foolish, and gives the book a slow start. It's also often a novel of reactions, despite Allison's active amb ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A complete and total delight.

Superb. Confident and spare and elegant and sharp. Electric and alive!

The rhythm of Cherryh's prose is fabulous, compelling, exciting and tons of fun. If you have read Downbelow Station, you must read this. You will feel at home in the near future of that work.

******* Marvellous!

For Cherryh, the Alliance-Union universe books are (mostly) fantastic -
* In order to read:

Downbelow Station (1981) - Superb!!
Merchanter's Luck (1982) - Perhaps her best ever!
Rimrunners (1989
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this up randomly from an open bookshelf, not certain if I was ever going to actually read it. Luckily I decided to try it one afternoon and really really liked it. The characters and worldbuilding are wonderful, detailed and nuanced and wholly believable, there's tension and dangerous situations, but no over-the-top drama, everything is handled extremely realistically. Characters are complex and always have more than one reason for acting as they do. I very much appreciated the fact tha ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when it first came out in the early '80s, but I had no memory of it. I don't know why, but it just didn't resonate with me and I couldn't get into it. I'm not sure I even finished it. So I'm overjoyed that I pulled it off the shelf and gave it another read, now 30 years later--it's one of the best sci-fi books I've read.

It's the story of an impoverished, down-at-the-heels captain of a small freighter who can barely make enough to keep his ship flying and who often operates on th
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Feels like the right amount of background and character issues for a novel this size, but roughly a short story's worth of plot. (Or a novella.) Elene Quen-Konstantin makes a brief appearance as the dockmaster, and Josh Talley is now a commander in Pell's fleet. (These are both major characters from Downbelow Station.)

If I'm not mistaken there's a scene where the female lead accuses a male supporting character of having a problem with the male lead because the male supporting character is gay an
Jamie Collins
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This has a fascinating premise, and it’s exactly the kind of spaceship fiction I like. I only wish that Cherryh’s writing worked a little better for me.

Sandor Kreja’s family, who ran a merchant spaceship, were murdered by pirates when he was a child. He’s alone and desperately trying to keep his ship in business. Allison Reilly is a junior member of a large, wealthy, important merchant family. She will never have the chance to crew her own ship because with life-extending technology, the current
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is the first book by C.J. Cherryh I've ever read. As an author, I suspect she is a keeper. The science is fairly quiet in her stories (just a dull background, no geek porn here), but her characters are very believable. The protagonist in this story has been living on the margins for the last decade and a half after his entire family is wiped out by pirates and strangely enough, he has trouble trusting people. The people that surround him were also interesting (if much less developed), and ...more
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 2/5

I had hoped that this would be either great or, instead, awful. If great then I would come back to Cherryh with more enthusiasm. If awful then I would have adequate justification for abandoning The Company Wars. This title didn't satisfy my urge for decisive direction. It was Cherryh's best handling of characters and viewpoint, but it was also very slow. This adds only a tidbit to the series. The events here could easily have been accounte
Jesse Toldness
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that I've always, deep down, wanted to write, except that C.J. Cherryh beat me to it and did it better. When I was five. There's just nothing fair in this universe.

A light read that isn't light, a high adventure that never loses the grime and sweat off its brow. Its balanced in a way that few other books are, building a full universe, one that functions outside the protagonists, but without any more information than is absolutely needs to move the story along. Story and setting
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is good; really good. A very classic, tightly-written sf adventure, with plenty of character drama and a wonderfully human future. It suffers a little (of course) from a modern point of view, having been written in the early 80s, but the story shines through and I'm looking forward to reading more of Cherryh's works set in this world!

Also, I honestly don't think you need to read Downbelow Station before reading this one. There are some names and characters thrown around as references
Jun 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
I'm in the middle of re-reading the entire series, and this one pops out like a sweet little gem. It is little, in comparison to the others in this series, and it is a more lightweight story - although it does provide background for later books and continuation of previous ones.

It's a fairly fast paced book about merchanters, their families and the re-opening of the Hinder Stars stations - and the Mazianni. Signy Mallory is in it, which makes it a good book in and of itself.
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-sfrs, sfr
Loved it! It was definitely in the SF side of the SFR rainbow. But I love, love SF!

This story was incredibly detailed. I feel like I know Sandor and Allison personally now. It has action, humor, scary bits, trauma, a little sex, and a big dose of PTSD. Poor Sandor. What a damaged guy. Lots of spaceships, and space stations. Some villains and some hope.

The romance is powerful and life-changing but not in-your-face. It's subtle and a HFN.

Excellent story.

Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
4.5 stars
Krista D.
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite space operas.
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Orphan romance, a rich beggar caught between his love for a lady who wants his ship, the military who want him as bait, and all his ghost memories.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: space-opera, f-sf
Beautiful. It is possible to read this as a psychological metaphor, with the sealed chambers in the spaceship Lucy standing in for parts of his mind. He knows they are there, he knows what is in them, but he keeps the doors sealed and the temperature at freezing. Suffering from PTSD, he is afraid of future violence, but the shame of the past violence is more important to him. He withholds information from a lover and her allies rather than reveal the depth of his past hurt. When a science fictio ...more
Dave Wallace
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sequel to Downbelow Station, and it helps to have read that. Very taut, in fact stretched to the limit and often clipped, dialogue heavy storytelling that at times is a bit hard to follow. The story is worth it though as it's rather unique with it's main character balanced on the edge of sanity and dragging a crew into a messy situation trying to make a credit or two. There is complicated multi-sided politics, also thar be pirates, after a fashion. Even the pirates are complicated though, more l ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
My kind of SciFi! Space ships and FTL!!
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the second in Cherryh's Company War's series, the first being Downbelow Station. This had a different feel to it than Downbelow Station which was more space politics and intrigue. Merchanter's Luck is more personal, more focused, lighter.

(view spoiler)
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A little while ago, I read Jo Walton's What Makes This Book So Great. It's a collection of essays about books, mostly science fiction and fantasy, that are all essentially "What Makes [Insert book here] So Great" - or, in a few instances, "What Makes [Insert book here] Not So Great". It was fantastic, and I devoured it and came out with a giant reading list of science fiction/fantasy novels, and this was one of them.

I wasn't really expecting much out of it, because the way Walton says to read Ch
2017 reread.
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Currently resident in Spokane, Washington, C.J. Cherryh has won four Hugos and is one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed authors in the science fiction and fantasy field. She is the author of more than forty novels. Her hobbies include travel, photography, reef culture, Mariners baseball, and, a late passion, figure skating: she intends to compete in the adult USFSA track. She began ...more
More about C.J. Cherryh...

Other Books in the Series

The Company Wars (7 books)
  • Downbelow Station (The Company Wars #1)
  • Rimrunners (The Company Wars, #3)
  • Heavy Time (The Company Wars, #4)
  • Hellburner (The Company Wars, #5)
  • Tripoint (The Company Wars, #6)
  • Finity's End (The Company Wars, #7)