Things didn't change on that front in this book - but I have to admit, it was used differently in this book, and wasn't so intense.
Rudnick has created a wonderful Universe to create his story in, with the Rim Navy, the Royals, and various other Rim players that make up a 'Council' as well as the usual Pirates and 'Alien' races.
In this book, Scott and his crew are being punished for how things played out at the end of the last story, and are sent to check out all the perimeter buoys. Whilst on this mission, they encounter a Sleeper Ship, a ship full of a race that has left their planet with the aim of finding a new place to claim as a home. The last Sleeper Ship found by the Rim Navy had disastrous consequences, so this time Scott is tasked with resolving things without incident.
This time however, the Sleeper Ship has a secret that will send the Rim into Meltdown (sorry No Spoilers), and between the Barony, the Rim Navy, another Council member and the Sleeper Ship themselves, things get very interesting.
This is a really intriguing and cleverly written story, with lots of different angles, political intrigue and some fascinating interpersonal play between the main Characters.
Rudnick writes some really fascinating Characters, but the best parts of these books are the interplay between Captain Scott and Lady St August. They seem to despise each other, and yet constantly keep getting thrown together for missions, resulting in some often amusing confrontations and conversations.
I was critical of the drinking in the first book as it seemed to dominate a lot of the plot and book without much purpose, but in this book, we start to get a feel that the drinking is a real escape for Scott and a coping mechanism for what he has been through, and as a functioning alcoholic, he needs it to get through his day. However, there are some really clever bits of writing in this book around his drinking that led you a better understanding of what is going on, and it is used very well in the conversations with other characters as well as the plots.
The other great thing in this book, without trying to give too much away, is the Alien Ship. Rudnick has done a wonderful job of creating a race that is unique, but still similar to the rest of the universe. The Sleepers are such a fascinating and creative people, with this amazing background and culture that Rudnick has developed and explores as a part of his story, giving his book so much more depth.
My only complaint about this story, would probably be that I felt that the ending was a little rushed, and felt like it was left with several unanswered questions. However, this is not enough to detract from the overall story.
This was a really great book, and a fantastic sequel to Pirates. If you enjoyed Pirates, you will really enjoy Sleeper Ship.Show Less