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Black Sheep

A Space Opera Adventure (Flight of the Javelin, Book 1)
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: Flight of the Javelin, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An alien ship. Stolen colonists. All Throttle wanted was a vacation....

Fifteen years into a 20-year voyage, war veteran Captain Throttle Reyne is looking forward to taking a break from dealing with malfunctions, glitches, and the hassles of monitoring 1,000 colonists in cryo-sleep.  

But when her colony ship breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Throttle and her crew must leave the colonists behind to search for help. They find a ship that's not only missing a crew...it's clearly not from their star system.  

It's the discovery of a lifetime. All they need to do is tow the mysterious vessel back to their colony ship for further study and Throttle won't ever have to work again. One problem. While they're away, the colony ship is stolen - with the colonists still on board.  

Throttle gives chase to a lawless star system on the outer rim. To get their colonists back, they must take on the pirates and ganglords who will do anything - and sell anyone - to make a buck.  

They play dirty. But Throttle and her crew play dirtier. 

Strap on your restraints and experience the start of this new space-opera thrill ride. It's perfect for fans of Jay Allan, Jennifer Foehner Wells, and Star Wars.

©2020 Aethon Books (P)2020 Aethon Audio

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Profile Image for Jas P
  • Jas P
  • 20-06-2020

Exceptional and Engaging Sci-Fi Thriller with Extr

Black Sheep follows the crew of the Gabriela, a Colony ship that has set forth from ‘The Trappist’ System. Originally, Earth sent colonists to The Trappist system, and they weathered the initial conditions, expecting more equipment and colonists, but this was not the case. Since then they have established their own, rather robust, and distrustful Colony, and now, they are sending out their own Colonists, aboard the Gabriela, to go and find a new place to colonise.
On board the Gabriela are the 6 crew, they don’t stay in stasis like the colonists, they are awake, checking on the running of the ship, and making sure that everything runs all right.
Captain Halit “Throttle” Reyne, is the leader of the Gabriela’s crew, she is disabled, having no feeling in her legs, due to an accident when she was a child. She has a special pair of leg bracers though that allow her to simulate movement in her legs, so she can walk, and run. Throttle is a no-nonsense type of woman, she gives it to you straight, generally straight between the eyes if you have really annoyed her. But she is also a very dedicated Captain, very loyal, she will do anything to look after her crew, including those under her protection, going to the ends of the galaxy and even giving her own life to save them.
With her are Brik, her long-time partner, as well as her offsider in all her adventures. Sylvian is the pilot of the ship, then there is Eddy, who although seems a bit on the eccentric side, is a brilliant mechanic. Aubree is the Doctor, and is very caring as well as someone who doesn’t believe in violence. Rounding out the crew is Nolin, who is a bit of jack-of-all-trades, able to help with the mechanics, with the operations with Birk, or help the Captain with anything else she needs.
It is a very eclectic crew, but one that comes together nicely for working together in the confines of space, over long periods of time. Aukes has done a masterful job of creating these outstanding characters that are totally believable and realistic, and yet fit so well together in this scenario, making for a brilliant story. You are immediately drawn to these characters, wanting to learn more about them, and compelled to read on in the story as you become totally engaged in their lives.
The story starts with a bit of an intro to life aboard the Gabriela, before the ship is struck with a catastrophic failure, leaving the stuck in space. The Captain makes the only decision possible (there is a real ‘Firefly’ moment here when the crew abandon the ship and take the shuttle to look for help, knowing that it is their only chance), leaving the ship and the colonists, and taking their small shuttle to search for help.
It is whilst looking for help, two things happen that both impact the crew and change their lives forever.
The first is that they discover a mysterious vessel, unlike anything that they have ever seen before, different design, hull material and most interesting of all, no crew.
The second, and most devastating, is that whilst trying to find help, Pirates come and steal the Gabriela, along with all her sleeping Colonists.
Stuck in space, her ship and the colonists stolen, Throttle boards the other ship, and with Eddy’s help, they follow the Gabriela, and it is here that the real story starts, as Throttle and her crew find that they are in a lawless part of the galaxy, full of Ganglords and those that live by a very different code. Throttle has to decide between her crew, the colonists, and what is wrong and right, otherwise no one is coming out of this alive.
This is just a full on action/adventure, but it also has a lot of mystery, political intrigue, as well as just being a remarkable Sci-fi story, with some exceptional character work (The crew are brilliant, but so are the criminal element they meet), and the story is just brilliant. The world (or Galaxy in this case) building is just outstanding, with so much depth and detail, spanning not just planets, and systems, but timelines as well. Aukes has put an immense amount of thought into this series, and it makes it an amazing read that once you start, you will have a really hard time stopping.
This is the first in what is going to be an extraordinary series, and it is well-worth hoping on-board now so you don’t miss out on what is going to be one of the best Sci-Fi series of the year. This is a must read, with elements to engage those of basically all genres.
As always, Emily Woo Zeller is just brilliant with her Narration, providing an excellent range of voices, both male and female, and you can clearly distinguish between the genders, and for the most part, the characters as well, Zeller also puts a lot of emotion and passion into her characters, providing powerful narration of the story, and make it that much more enjoyable. Zeller is an exceptional Narrator, and I am happy to say that this is one of those that it is better to listen than read as her Narration is just so good. Great work again Emily :-)

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  • Paul Augustus
  • 20-06-2020

Great Female Protagonist and Lead Character

I was glad to discover this title which features a strong female protagonist who is as tough as nails and led by her sense of duty and responsibility to her crew and cargo. I'm already looking forward to the next book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lomeraniel
  • 01-07-2020

Action, adventure, spaceships, and pirates!

Throttle Reyne is the captain of the Gabriela, a large and old vessel transporting about a thousand colonists in cryosleep in search for a new world. One day the Gabriela breaks down in deep space, and the only chance the crew has is leaving the Gabriela and the colonists temporarily behind and try to seek for help. What they did not expect was to find an abandoned ship in perfect working condition. They also did not expect the Gabriela to be stolen and the colonists kidnapped while they were away.

Throttle and some of the main characters in this book were already presented in the Fringe series. I quite enjoyed Fringe, but Black Sheep was superior in my opinion. Reading Fringe beforehand gives the reader a deeper knowledge about the world and the characters’ background but it is not a requisite. This story happens at least fifteen years later, and the characters have evolved since then.

This is an action-packed story, with likable characters, adventure, and great world-building; it has all the necessary ingredients to make an enjoyable space opera. The characters are distinctive, although not very developed. We know who is who and why they are important, but this is not a character-driven story. There are twists, mystery, and the pace is steady, making for a very entertaining story. I liked how they found the Javeline, and I am genuinely intrigued by the secrets it hides. It does make me look forward to the next books in the series!

Emily Woo Zeller’s narration was exquisite. She does not only have a very pleasant voice but her characters’ interpretations were spot-on, and the subtle variations in tone and style made dialogs easy to follow. One small remark I have is that on a couple of occasions, there was a mishap with character’s voices, having Throttle sounding like Birk. The audio production was top-notch, and I would definitely listen to more audiobooks narrated by Emily.

I think this was an awesome listen, and I am impatient for the next book in the series to be released!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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  • Wm Cruz Carroll Sr.
  • 23-07-2020

The stage is set for the conductor to wave.

Know that my review of this book was held back until the second book was in my hands. The first book in the series is often the most difficult. You have to introduce your characters, fill in the background for each. Then there is the development of the Universe around the story arc where each act will be played. Rachel Aukes has done this well with a gripping storyline to keep the reader involved. In addition, Emily Woo Zeller has through her narrations has given the story breath and life. She has fast become one of my favorites to listen to. This book is really good.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Janeleadfoot
  • 01-09-2020

So good🖤

So good, brilliantly written, suspenseful imaginative & vividly descriptive.
Narration was excellent.
I was given a copy of this book at my request and am voluntary leaving a review

1 person found this helpful

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  • S.R.
  • 28-06-2020

Action Packed

Rachel Aukes has created an exciting spinoff of the Fringe Series (which I thoroughly enjoyed). The characters are believable, relatable, engaging and like family. The world building is exceptionally executed. There is plenty of action and suspense. The plot speeds along with exciting twists and turns. I look forward to the next book in the series. Emily Woo Zeller's performance was quite enjoyable. I was provided a free review copy of this audio book and am voluntarily leaving this review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shawne Seignious
  • 25-06-2020

My take on black sheep.

I've enjoyed this book with the following "excepts". First I liked the readers natural voice but not some of her impressions of male voices. Usually I have a problem putting putting down a book and can't wait to pick it back up, this book once I set it down I wasn't in a hurry to pick it back up, who knows why. I do recommend people read this as it is a good read just off little. Last the character Throttle to be so strong in most ways was very easily duped into believing a known liar and just going on with what they say.

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  • Jon Byrom
  • 24-06-2020

Good story

good storyline, builds characters well up front, with suspenseful components up to about halfway, then kind of bogs down with overly-long character interaction, then eventually warms back up for the climax. the ending sets up nicely for follow-on books. Narration is very good. I think more action would have been nice, but that's just me - it might not be the author's style. a good book to keep you entertained.

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  • Harry
  • 21-06-2020

Action packed from start to finish.

I really liked this audiobook. I spent a Saturday listening to it and I had a difficult time pausing it when real life issues interferred.

I was given this audiobook for free and have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore
  • 20-06-2020

Really fun adrenaline-charged romp!

This was a really fun Space Opera, and a perfect, adrenaline-charged romp! It's got fast pacing, and a ship captained by a kickass protagonist (Throttle). Throttle's ship breaks down in the middle of the "Dark". Nowhere really... and no hope of rescue. Right away we realize how special Throttle is when she's doing laps around the deck. She falls and tweaks one of her leg braces, only noticing that she's cut her leg when she sees the blood... yeah, an old spinal injury...
And then there's the Pirates, a ghost ship with an AI, and a Space Station where lots of shady deals go down! If that's not enough to titillate you, I really don't know what will! The book reminds me a little of the works of Nathan Lowell, Jennifer Foehner Wells or Rebecca Chambers 1st book... the way they write about the crew, and the camaraderie. But there's also a space battle too!
To top it off you have Emily Woo Zeller doing a Bang-up job of narration!

1 person found this helpful

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  • ray l.
  • 26-08-2020

good deep space sci-fi.

Really enjoyed the feeling deep space and of being far from home or help. Beautifully narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, her range is excellent and her intensity is palpable.

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  • dunpony
  • 21-06-2020

Great start to a new series

Loved it from start to finish. Good story with a proper ending but setting up well to go forwards.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 20-06-2020

Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat

When system failure of the colony ship, Gabriella, 15 years into her 20 year voyage forces Captain 'Throttle' Reynes and her crew to abandon the 862 colonist cryopods on board to search for help, she discovers the unexpected: a huge, new looking ship floating where no ship should ever have gone. And it was empty. And functional. And at least 200 years old. They named her, Javelin, after making friends with the lonely A.I.

Action packed science fiction of the almost goodies versus the evil ones, this was an interesting start to a new series by Rachel Aukes, which delivers on personalities as well as good world building. A bit too heavy on the close proximity action for this reader: the mysteries earlier in the book were, however, fascinating, and overall, the series holds promise. Emily Woo Zeller was the excellent narrator.

A good read for space pirate saga fans, especially those who enjoy feisty woman leading the action. I will definitely be looking out for book two.

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  • Jennifer Deeley
  • 19-06-2020

Enjoyably story and good performance

Loved the story as its very original and the story with the narrators performance has left me wanting more.