Searching for the Fleet by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Searching for the Fleet (2018) is the seventh full-length novel in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s DIVING series. It focuses on Coop, commander of the Ivoire, and Yash, one of his officers (chief engineer) who has expertise in anaconda drives. We don’t see Boss in this installment.
As has been common for the last few novels, Searching for the Fleet jumps around in time. The first long section shows us an event we’ve known about (and have been wondering about) for a while now – the suicide of Dix, Coop’s second-in-command.
Next we come back to the present time, just a few weeks after the events of the previous two companion novels, The Runabout and The Falls. Yash is excited because she thinks that what happened in the Boneyard means that the Fleet still exists and that maybe they can find it and return to their own civilization. Obsessed with this idea, she retreats to her lab to analyze the data. Coop worries a little about her sanity and doesn’t know whether to share her hope, but as he begins helping her with the data, he gets a little obsessed, too.
While we wait for the results of their analysis, Rusch sends us back in time where we witness some of the formative events of Coop’s officer training and Yash’s engineering education. These are entertaining episodes. In one of them we meet a woman who Coop thinks must be one of the worst captains in the fleet. But, by the end, he realizes how valuable this experience was and we can see how it prepared him for what he’s faced since his own ship was lost in fold space. Similarly, Yash’s experiences in school give her expertise that is very useful right now.
Back in the present, Coop and Yash’s analysis of the data finally leads them to the sector base on the beautiful waterfall planet where the novel The Falls was set. Here they hope to find information that will reunite them with the Fleet, but they’ve got to get through all the booby traps first (there are a lot of booby traps in this book). Their discoveries will give them new insights into their situation and a new vision for the future.
Fans of the DIVING series are likely to be pleased with Searching for the Fleet, an installment which gives us more background on some of our favorite characters, answers a few questions, suggests that there will be answers to more questions soon, and offers a new hope for Coop and Yash.
As usual, Jennifer Van Dyck does a nice job with the narration of Audible Studio’s audiobook edition.