The Red Scholar's Wake - De Bodard, Aliette
Paperback. Gollancz. 2022. New Condition
Xich Si: bot maker, data analyst, mother, scavenger. But those days are over now-her ship has just been captured by the Red Banner pirate fleet, famous for their double-dealing and cruelty. Xich Si expects to be tortured to death-only for the pirates' enigmatic leader, Rice Fish, to arrive with a different and shocking proposition: an arranged marriage between Xich Si and herself.
Rice Fish: sentient ship, leader of the infamous Red Banner pirate fleet, wife of the Red Scholar. Or at least, she was the latter before her wife died under suspicious circumstances. Now isolated and alone, Rice Fish wants Xich Si's help to find out who struck against them and why. Marrying Xich Si means Rice Fish can offer Xich Si protection, in exchange for Xich Si's technical fluency: a business arrangement with nothing more to it.
But as the investigation goes on, Rice Fish and Xich Si find themselves falling for each other. As the interstellar war against piracy intensifies and the five fleets start fighting each other, they will have to make a stand-and to decide what kind of future they have together... An exciting space opera and a beautiful romance, from an exceptional SF author.