Epic adventures spanning vast swathes of space and time are fairly rare. Adventures that do it well are even more rare. Adventures that do it both well and for free, are almost unheard of. I'll be darned if Spica doesn't seem to have pulled off a clean sweep ... Epic, Well Done and Free.
The first thing that caught my attention was the ship. I like ships and this really is a beautiful ship. A good size for adventuring. An interesting layout. Containing some rather innovative features. Alongside the ship is a crew. An interesting crew. A colorful crew. A crew whose brief descriptions have wetted my appetite to get to know them better as future adventures unfold.
The first part is more introduction than adventure, but it is an introduction to the Outer Veil universe of Spica Publishing. It seems a rich and interesting setting, with more wide open spaces and opportunity than I found in the long over-settled Third Imperium of the 'Official' Traveller Universe. This is only an opinion, but it is my opinion and I am sticking to it. [wink]
The adventures center around hiring a crew, and trouble at a starport. Fairly typical 'meet and greet' stuff and a variation on the classic 'trouble with starport administration' theme. Overall, not one of my favorite themes, but I have to give credit where it is due ... I found it handled better than almost any similar adventure. With three adventures released as of the writing of this review, I can say that the 'action' gets better as the series progresses. So I found this a fair start to a great series of adventures.
Here is where this product really shines. The narrative painting the background is well written. The characters seem real and believable without the typical stereotype personalities and with subtle shades of strength and weakness that I found refreshing. While this adventure travels territory well worn by other products, it never feels stale, predictable or like you are being railroaded. Thank you Martin for painting a fun and believable epic adventure with refreshing prose.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When fate hands you a product better than most commercial offerings, for free, grab it! Read it! Enjoy it! The only reason that I gave it 5 stars is because they don't allow 6 stars.