The other book I bought at the thrift shop. It's the tale of a couple of cargo-hauling space pilots, Fripp and Kohn, who first find themselves mixed up in a kidnapping and extortion plot being carried out by Central - the primary governing body for inhabited space (I think) - and the Union - which is some sort of major interplanetary shipping group that Fripp and Kohn aren't part of. The target, a young woman named Renate, has a father who found his own way to create a highly profitable drug that's in limited supply, and they want their cut/to restrict his distribution/something. Point being, Fripp, Kohn, and Renate find themselves chased from world to world, seeking a safe haven.
While fleeing, they have to set down on an uncolonized world, where Fripp finds the ruins of an ancient civilization, and a nifty ring that can do pretty much whatever the story requires at that moment. Rapid healing, making its wearer go blind, putting some mind whammy on other people (basically the equivalent of Ghost Rider's Penance Stare), or even absorbing and redirecting laser fire. By the end, Renate has been ferried home safely, only to have her home attacked by the forces of Central. But Central feels Fripp and Kohn are largely irrelevant, so it lets them go, recognizing it was the overly panicked decisions of some of the lower level agents that got these two involved (and thus complicated things) in the first place. And our two freight haulers seem more than happy to wash their hands of the whole thing and go hunting for ancient stuff.
It's obviously meant to be the first book in a series, since Kring lays out all these pieces, different cultures, different political situations, the nature of Warp, and this old, lost civilization, which a few other people clearly know about. But the way it's laid out, the abduction of Renate feels almost pointless, a way to force Fripp and Kohn into landing on that deserted planet. Because simple mechanical failure wouldn't have been exciting enough, I suppose. But it might have helped to develop Renate as a character a little more, so that the point where she parts with Fripp and Kohn has some impact. As it is, Kring made her a fairly irritating character by the end, so I wasn't bothered she was going.
Or maybe she'll reappear later. Her dad (not entirely accurate, we learn she's a replicate of his dead wife which, kind of creepy) is one of those people who knows about that lost civilization. Assuming he survived the attack on his home, he may trail our intrepid heroes. If you care, which I'm not sure I really do. I'm sort of curious as to what Kring's going to do, but I'm not confident it would be worth trying to find any sequels. The dialogue's not all that strong, there were certain things that happened which didn't make much sense, and the book was riddled with spelling errors.