I read this book for the first time back in the early 90s, while at university. We had a fantastic book shop where you could give back books you'd read to help fund your new purchases. I introduced myself to a lot of previously unread science-fiction authors thanks to that shop, but I also read through a lot of great series that way too. Strangely, I never went any further with the stainless steel rat series, although I remembered loving the first book – and I gave it four stars based on that memory.
To rectify that, I ordered the sequel – The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge
and waited for it to arrive. Once it arrived, of course, I realised I couldn't really remember what happened in the first book, so I read that first. A very quick read, I pretty much devoured it in a single day (although taking in a couple of slightly-longer-than-commute train journeys). And it was fun. Fun with a capital 'F'!
Slippery Jim diGriz is a rogue. Moving around the League from world to world committing crime. Sometimes a little bank robbery, sometimes some smuggling, sometimes stealing government canned fruit supplies and reselling them as his own. Each time he makes his money and moves just as the police are moving in. However, this time he's attracted some unwanted attention. The mysterious Special Corps. And they want to recruit him as an agent. After all, who better to catch a criminal than a criminal? Plus it takes him out of circulation.
A criminal he may be, but we're supposed to like him. He's more your Robin Hood type (although keeping all the money himself). He's in it for relatively victimless crimes only – stealing from governments, corporations and nobody gets hurt. So when his first assignment pits him against a criminal for whom human life has no value he's torn between his respect for their skill and intelligence, but sworn to bring down a danger to the innocent. Also, nobody makes Jim diGriz look like a fool!
Already looking forward to the rest of the series...