Rolling Thunder by John Varley
Well. That was nice.
Really. Varley tells a quick paced story, and has engaging charecterization and all that. In some ways it's a Heinlein juvenile (but with sex). Heck, the main character is even named Podkayne.
On the other hand, having just finished "Half Share" - a far more egalitarian space opera (that is - everyone is NOT rich, or beautiful, or a super-genuis (or all of the above)). I feel like this is kind of a wish-fulfillment story, pretty and with lots of neat things - but not as real as "Half Share." (even if, to be honest, Varley has been at this longer and reels off a nice yarn; he's got skills Lowell is still working on). Both authors are compared to Heinlein - not without reason.
I was a little let down by the end - the romance is a little off for me, and doesn't seem to be integrated into the whole saga. And the story's big problem seems to have just been forgotten/avoided, more than dealt with. Of course, maybe that's just Varley's way of setting up the next sequel. (I swear some series seem more like "retirement plans" than works of literature).