Monday, December 8, 2014

THE HELMSMAN: Director's Cut Edition
Originally published in 1983, when the novel sold thousands of copies in its first printing, The Helmsman is the starting point for Bill Baldwin's epic, eight-part militaristic space opera - The Helmsman Saga. Using actual histories of World Wars I and II as template, the novel chronicles the adventures of StarSailor and extraordinary Helmsman Wilf Brim during an epoch of discord and outright war among various star-nations within our own galaxy.

This special, "Director's Cut" Edition is heavily re-written, a la George Lucas' rewrite of the Star Wars Trilogy, to bring it more in line with later novels in the series, as well as existing "Director's Cut" Editions of Galactic Convoy, The Trophy; the five other "Director's Cut" editions to come; and the continuation novel now in the works: The Turning Tide.

The novel begins as Brim—a 21-year-old SubLieutenant in the Imperial Fleet—arrives at the Eorean Starwharves, a maintenance complex within the planet-spanning Fleet base on watery Gimmas-Haefdon. On first assignment since receiving his commission, Brim is fresh from The Helmsman's Academy, where he weathered years of torment from wealthy classmates because of his impoverished background. Heretofore, the Academy had been a "private club" for the scions of Imperial wealth; however, enormous numbers of casualties during the present war with the League of Dark Stars has called for desperate measures to expedite replacement of these losses.

Brim's first ship is I.F.S. Truculent, a “T”-class destroyer, just the right kind of starship for the young Brim to cut his teeth on—with challenges galore to rapidly make a veteran of the young Helmsman. And even though his torments continue, in part because of long-held prejudices among the wealthy, the starship is populated with a crew largely made up from races and economic classes glad to help the young man with his career in any way they can.

As one might expect, the love interest for this poor-as-a-church mouse hero is none other than one of the Empire's most beautiful, most desirable royalty: Princess Margot of the Effer'wyck star kingdom. And though nothing goes easily for Brim—including Princess Margot herself—he acquits himself with bravery, aplomb, and daring as he begins carving a future for himself in the midst of a long, complex Galactic struggle.

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