HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Precious Cargo: Angel’s Luck #2
Author: Joe Clifford Faust
Jacket Illustrator: A. C. Farley
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1989
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Adults only
Rating: ** 2 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Science fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Faust, Joe Clifford. Precious Cargo: Angel’s Luck #2 (Published in 1989 by Del Rey Books, an imprint of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). In the first book of the “Angel’s Luck” series, trader James May and his crew successfully rescue the legendary Essence Phials, which hold the extracted minds of humanity’s greatest geniuses, but his ship is blown to space junk in the attempt, and they cannot collect their reward for retrieving the stolen Phials. So in Precious Cargo (Angel’s Luck #2) they are grateful to be rescued by the luxury liner Hergest Ridge, even if the commander is May’s ex-wife, who had made it plain that she never wanted to see him again.
Commander Margaret O’Hearn has other problems. Among her passengers is a delegation of Arcolians, aliens only recently at peace with humanity. And there are rumors of an anti-Arcolian blockade along her route and the possibility of terrorists on board her ship. So the last thing Maggie needs aboard is her ex-husband and his crazy copilot Duke, who has sampled an Essence Phial and is now possessed by a second—and extremely xenophobic—personality. What will happen to the Arcolians? Is Maggie able to prevent the outbreak of another human-alien war? And can May save his own precious cargo while helping to protect Duke from himself?
One has to have a strong stomach to tolerate much of the modern pulp science fiction. Besides instances of drinking alcohol, even to the point of getting drunk, the language is atrocious. A great deal of cursing (with the “d” and “h” words) and a lot of vulgarity (with the “s” and “f” words, along with other crudities) both occur. There is also some sexuality with references to male and female anatomy, a discussion where one man tells how he “knocked up” a woman, and a scene in which, though it is not too explicit, it is clear that May and Maggie are intimate. In addition, I found the story a little confusing at times, but it might have made more sense if I had read Book One. Book Three is entitled The Essence of Evil.