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The Planet Thieves    by Dan Krokos order for
Planet Thieves
by Dan Krokos
Order:  USA  Can
Starscape, 2014 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Planet Thieves is the first installment in a fast moving exciting, new middle-grade series. As it opens, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen fellow Academy cadets are aboard the SS Egypt, logging space time to meet their course requirements and (at least in Mason's case) looking for trouble.

Mason's sister Susan is Lieutenant Commander aboard the starship. As the episode opens, a private prank intended to be harmless ends up embarrassing her in front of her fellow officers during an unexpected crisis (an attack by the Tremist 'aliens bent on annihilating the human race').

Mason is in the brig when the attack escalates. He gets out with the reluctant help of fellow cadet Tom and his close friend Merrin (who has unusual looks, with very pale skin and violet eyes). The trio proceed to get caught up in action, action and more action.

There are captures and escapes and (helped by its AI) the cadets end up taking the SS Egypt (but not its officers) back from the Tremist, with Mason as leader. They try, but fail, to prevent the aliens from using a secret weapon on Earth, and learn something shocking about one of their own.

Along the way, Mason acquires powerful purple gloves used by the enemy's sorcerous Rhadgast warriors, feared by all. Surprisingly, Mason finds that he is able to control them, and uses them to defend his crew. They end up on Nori-Blue, the planet the two races fought over, where they learn of a common enemy to both humans and Tremist - the Fangborn.

The episode ends with big changes for all concerned, a temporary peace, and the promise of more secrets to be revealed in future episodes. If you enjoy teens with special abilities and unusual backgrounds involved in nonstop interstellar action, don't miss this engrossing series.

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