Shorter review: Vanilla sf, i.e. story matches cover image.
Longer review: Halcyon Drift (1972) is the story of Grainger, a man stranded on a distant planet after his spacecraft has crashed and his partner died. Eventually rescued, he’s not without debt: firstly in money to the group that rescued him, and secondly to the mind parasite that took up residence in his brain while he was stranded. Back among civilized systems, he must find a way to repay the people he owes. A chance encounter, however, changes his fortunes: a pilot is needed to fly a very new, highly experimental spaceship. And where to? None other than the Halycon Drift, an uncharted nebuli where a treasure awaits to be recovered.
While Stableford’s on-point prose makes this story readable, overall it has serious trouble distinguishing itself from the myriad of other space operas. If you are a fan of such works, then for sure Halcyon Drift will scratch your itch. Otherwise, nothing special here.