“Jaunts of the Mantis: Mantis Saga 1” by Jim Henderson
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When Ximon Sabo retires from the Kremniy Republic Scout Force he’s awarded a retired scout ship, the Mantis, but he has to find work to keep her flying. On missions across a dozen solar systems, Ximon and his crew make first contact with an alien species, pull off a daring rescue from a beleaguered outpost, face hostile pirates, and even face a murder mystery. The Mantis team—a female engineer with a drinking problem, a sensor operator who’s also a priest, Ximon’s sexy companion robot, and the ship’s AI computer —must work together to face challenge after challenge before they run out of money or the ship falls apart.
If you like hard sci-fi and space opera novels with a Firefly or Expanse vibe, or if you enjoy inter-galactic role-playing games such as Traveller or Starfinder, you’ll love this book. Jaunts of the Mantis will hook you with intense space action, while its rich, colorful characters, and engaging stories keep you coming back for more.