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Slave Trade: Book One    by Susan Wright order for
Slave Trade
by Susan Wright
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Susan Wright is the author of several Star Trek books and indeed, this could be another one except that it is based on a somewhat different premise, that of a corrupt World Council trading humans as pleasure slaves in exchange for technology. It is a universe whose societies are based on something like a caste system, from the all-powerful Alphas on down through Betas and Gammas to those enslaved, like the Solians for pleasure, or like the Qin for a short life in the mines.

Rose Rico, the spoilt and frivolous daughter of a councilwoman, pokes her nose in one place too many. Immediately after signing on with the Underground in rebellion against her mother, Rose is betrayed by her lover Bolt, and packed up in a transparent cube as cargo with a host of other slaves en route to sale in the Domain. A device is inserted under her ear along with a collar that punishes any refusal of orders.

After being enslaved on a mining station and losing most of her family and her own ability to procreate, Qin S'Jen is obsessed with revenge against the Domain. After her collar was accidentally damaged, she escaped and rescued two fellow clan members. S'Jen captains the Fury, attacks Domain freighters, and has bigger plans that worry her half-human superior G'kaan. Then there is Beta-Captain Gandre Li, who does courier work under duress from the Domain and loves her Solian slave Trace.

Rikev is a vicious Alpha. He kills slaves who displease him on a regular basis, and the herme Ash has had a long run already. S/he is being escorted to the disposal unit when S'Jen attacks the station. S/he escapes to the cargo pod that holds the spirited Rose, who naturally leads a revolt that eventually takes them to refuge with the Qin. Then there is Kwort Delta, who suffers continual sabotage and abuse on the battleship Conviction. When this worm finally turns, he accidentally initiates a sequence of events that destroys his ship.

After a series of adventures that establish the roles of the various players, Rose and Ash ally with G'kaan in the cause of 'Freedom for all'. They believe that Rikev died with his ship, but of course this arch-villain must have somehow been preserved for future episodes. If you like Star Trek with a hint of sexual depravity, then you'll probably enjoy this series.

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