Fire Ship is the fourth book in the series "The Captain's Table". It is told by Kathryn Janeway, as recorded by the author. This book, like the others in this series, stands alone and can be read without relation to the previous three. They are, however, also recommended to read.
The tale starts in the midst of a battle at the Iscoy Asteroid, where the USS Voyager was docked for repairs. The Iscoy themselves were kind enough to extend a hand, and their engineers set out to help the Voyager crew in repairs. The battle against the Iscoy and their Asteroid Spacedock, was ravaging the place apart, and crippling Voyager. At that time, Janeway was on a welcoming tour with the Iscoy captain in his small ship, and was not able to return or defend her ship. The welcoming ship is destroyed, and at the last minute Janeway makes it to an escape pod. Not knowing what was that Menace was, or who they were, and witnessing a huge explosion where Voyager was docked, Janeway's last thoughts before she looses consciousness is that she is probably the only survivor from the ship.
After several days of floating, Janeway is rescued from the escape pod. She finds herself in a new part of space, thanking a crew of a ship she's never seen the like before. She tells her story to the ships' captain, only to understand that they have no idea who the Iscoy are, and from which part of space she's come from.
A quick study, Janeway soon understands that the Omian crew that rescued her is in the middle of a war itself against other factions of its planet. After tending to her wounds, Janeway offers this alien ship a hand, and starts to work from the lower ranks of the ship.
Time goes by, and the danger of the Menace is ever looming over this alien part of space. Janeway must convince the dwellers of this part of space to prepare for the fight of their lives against the Menace.
This book was a captivating one. Janeway really has no choice but to start from the lower ranks and work her way up, until she earns the trust of the crew. Unlike similar synopsis in other novels, in this one the plot happens in Janeway's time Voyager's captain. That allows us to examine her more humane approach to the lower ranks and their roles aboard a starship.
Janeway's character stands out as a lead character. However, the other assisting cast are described and manuvered in such a way that the reader is forced to keep up, and continue reading, as the plot moves on. Though Janeway is crucial to the crew's survival, she can not do it by herself. As always, there is a task that needs complition and here Janeway will have to adjust this new crew to help her solve it.
A good story for the Voyager fans, and a great story for the Janeway fans.