This is the fourth installment of the tales of Ishmael Wang and his adventures in interstellar commerce. Ish has graduated from the Academy and gets his first assignment as a junior officer on a trader. He is introduced to the dark side of shipboard life, where the top officers have absolute power and the inclination to use it to exploit those under their command. As usual, Ish works to find unexpected solutions. For a while I thought ... come on, he's young and inexperienced, how can we believe he'd be able to solve as many problems as he has in his short career. But then I realized, it does make sense. As the outsider, who did not grow up in the trader culture, he is able to see options without the blinders of expected behavior that familiarity creates. And he's just so charming that I want to believe it ... so I do.
A very enjoyable read, but it's best if you've read the preceding installments first.