Corsair

  • by James L. Cambias
  • Narrated by Victor Bevine
  • 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT, where Schwartz is sneaking into classes, and have a brief affair. David is amoral and out for himself and soon disappears. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating.
Nearly 10 years later, David is setting himself up to become a billionaire by working in the shadows under a multiplicity of names for international thieves, and Elizabeth works in intelligence, preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth's economy, shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans.
David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can't prove it. And when Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players. And both Elizabeth and David end up in a world of trouble. Space pirates and computer hackers...James L. Cambias' Corsair is a thrilling near-future adventure!

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Customer Reviews

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this story is about the many quirky characters

It is approximately fifteen years in the future and the moon is being mined for its helium to fuel the world’s fusion reactors. The payloads coming back to earth are worth billions; attracting the interest of pirates who try to intercept them. David Schwartz , AKA Captain Black, the space pirate, is a computer genius and hacker, using his skills and lack of morals to hijack these flying treasure chests. He is brilliant, elusive, charming in an annoying way, equally wanted by the police for his crimes and by the crime syndicates for his skills.

That’s the basic plot/theme, straight forward and linear. Though predictable, it doesn’t really matter, this story is about the many quirky characters, and most importantly, Captain Black, the space pirate. The author uses his full moniker over and over, “Captain Black, the space pirate; Captain Black, the space pirate,” which at first annoys the listener, then numbs him, then reveals the actual intent – humor. And if you go into this book with a sense of humor, you will be OK, if not, you will want to rip your eardrums out. There is no middle ground.

The characters are more like caricatures: Captain Black is a genius nerd, brilliant, sarcastic and supremely annoying; yet he somehow always gets the babe, whether she is the dumb blonde or the smart scientist. Elizabeth, the military scientist, is also brilliant with everything going for her, including a skyrocketing career; yet is strangely attracted to the destructive David Schwartz (Captain Black), then hates him. The corporate eunuchs, on the other hand, shrug as their billion dollar payloads disappear, far more worried about a lawsuit than the money they should be making. Equally impotent are the military and police forces of the world, unwilling or unable to do much more than watch as the world’s power supply gets hijacked over and over. In one scene, a single police officer on a bicycle (yes, plastic helmet and bike shorts) attempts to intercept a vicious assassin in a cafe shootout.

If taken as a kind of super nerd, spy satire, it’s pretty funny and will hold your interest throughout. The science is well researched and rings true. Many of the scenes are inventive and painted realistically enough for your imagination to take over. The several chase and action scenes should hold your attention too. There is some violence, but it is superficial, without gruesome details.

Victor Bevine reads the story well, moving quickly during the action and slowing down during the descriptive scenes. His voice is clear and his characters are generally easy to discern. Overall, Bevine is competent and skillful without ever getting in the way of the story.

If you know what you are going into (humorous high tech satire) you should enjoy the story. It is also recommended for young adults and older teens who like computer hacking adventures. Don’t get caught up in the obvious contradictions and unlikely character interactions and you should have a fun and light read/listen.

Audiobook provided for for review by the publisher.

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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"

5 Stars for sheer amusement

What made the experience of listening to Corsair the most enjoyable?

The quality of the writing and of the narrator's gifts are a perfect match here. Victor Bevine is always splendid, and his intelligent sense of humor subtly illuminates the exceptionally clever writing. This is one of my favorite books lately. It is a small-scale gem that exceeded my expectations by quite a bit.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Corsair?

No spoilers here- I decline the opportunity. The enjoyment is in all the details, as well as in the overall story. The writer takes what looks like an overused pulp science fiction trope and turns it into a far more enjoyable and interesting version of itself. I like this great-of-its-kind science fiction enormously, and it requires subtle skill to succeed this well.


Which scene was your favorite?

Many of us try very hard to avoid reading about the best parts of a book we purchase.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I nearly always prefer very good audiobooks to the movie versions.


Any additional comments?

James L. Cambias is the first writer since Andy Weir to cause such smiles in my mind. I heartily thank everyone involved for the first-rate escape from reality.

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- averageconsumer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-05-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios