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Kestrel Crew: Joseph Darrow

Captain of the Kestrel

When I published my first science fiction book I wrote a blog post about each of the Kestrel crew. Time has passed and there are three books and another planned. The crew have moved on, learned and grown (hopefully). So the posts have been updated, and here is the first.

Crisis of Conscience Kestrel spaceshipJoseph Darrow is the Captain of The Kestrel. In a film, he would be played by a curly-haired younger Michael Sheen.

If you met Joseph Darrow, you would not think him remarkable. You would probably pass him by in the street. British, with brown curly hair and brown eyes, average height and build, if you didn’t see his armband colour, you would think that his First Officer, who is the tall, handsome one, was the Captain. Which he has sometimes used to advantage.

Darrow is in his forties, and married to the job. And he does the job well. There was a girlfriend once, but she wasn’t prepared to be left behind for months at a time. His First Officer, Mike Holland, has served with him for 5 years, and when he is promoted, Darrow’s old friend Nathaniel Parks steps in temporarily. They are both delighted when he is able to stay on.

He has very strong ethics – fair play, honesty, duty & loyalty – to PACT and to his crew. He is a stickler for rules. Back when he was a Lieutenant, he broke a rule to help a friend, but the friend died. He vowed never to break the rules again – but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some of the situations the Kestrel crew has got into could have been pretty nasty if he hadn’t been so quick-witted and inventive. So far all his risks have paid off. He is level-headed and responsible, he knows right and wrong, and there is no question what he will do. But some of his standards are challenged. Keeping the rules is not always the best course of action. Sometimes right and wrong are not clear-cut.

Intruders coverHe has had few dealings with first contact, until Intruders, the first story. He has a keen interest in mysteries, especially on other worlds. He is the one who puts together the separate incidents which point to the Intruders, after investigating the quartz disappearance at a mining accident. Being sent on a mission to track down the Intruders breaks several rules, and causes him to struggle.

Despite his nondescript appearance, he is strong in command. Understanding, but doesn’t stand for any nonsense. When the Kestrel plays host to representatives from six different alien races, in addition to the crew, in a space designed for 11 crew, it is Darrow who keeps it all together, aided by his old friend Parks. And that’s just the start of all his adventures.

Ann Marie Thomas authorAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Intruders, Alien Secrets, and Crisis of Conscience are out now. Follow her at