I think it was a 1970s novel and might have been simply titled "Colony". These days it would likely be classed as young-adult, but I don't think such a category existed back then. I probably read it in the 80s and I remember the paperback having a mostly purple cover.

The overall story was similar to Anne McCaffrey's Sassinak. It started out on a colony planet in the far future with two main characters - a teenage boy and girl. Space pirates attack the planet and I think take the boy hostage. My recollection is that the majority of the plot was about him eventually fighting his way back, but there were a couple of subplots also.

  • Long-shot because the main character, Jos, is captured by pirates from a spaceship, not a planet--Karin Lowachee's Warchild.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


This reminds me a good bit of Henry Martyn by L. Neil Smith. The title character is taken by pirates, and eventually rises to lead them. It's a very far future, with "keflar" clothing, near-instant multi-material 3-D printing, gene-modified mercenary grunts, orbital tethers to land the sailing starships (complete with "cannon" that are prone to explode when fired). Memorable scenes included "needle dancers", Henry being passed around among the pirate crew for sexual abuse (mercifully off-screen), the mutiny in which Henry becomes captain, and the immense ship's baker.

  • That sounds marginal for being remembered as young adult...
    – DavidW
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 18:17
  • 1
    The abuse scene was off screen, more implied than described. Not really a YA novel, though teens often read things they "shouldn't" -- I read Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love at ages 12-14. There was no on-screen sex (as befitting SF from the 1980s), but plenty of violence (not unlike a couple of Heinlein's YA novels).
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 18:39
  • That sounds interesting -- I might have to look that up, But the book I'm trying to find was much more soft sci-fi.
    – J C
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:07
  • @ZeissIkon: Stranger in a Strange Land is from 1961, and Time Enough for Love is from 1973. Hardly the 1980s. Lots of SF from the 70s and 80s had plenty on-screen sex; check out e.g. Norman Spinrad's books. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 7:32

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