This note was last modified Thursday, 29-Jan-2015 21:06:17 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the series.
By Nathan Lowell.
I stumbled across these in ebook form on Amazon, and have enjoyed them very much. Sounds like they have a complex and unusual publication history, starting off as a podcast series, going through some small press and self-publishing stages if I'm reading between the lines right.
Ishmael Wang signs on as a quarter-share crewman on a trading starship when his mother dies unexpectedly, leaving him the choice of the military, the traders, or deportation with a huge debt burden (company planets appear to be not very nice places; I don't really believe they'd be so common and so accepted when they dump kids like Ishmael, about to go to college, for no reason at all). He then goes on through all the possible ratings, and in the sixth book actually owns his own ship.
In most of the books, there's no actual antagonist. Ishmael goes through the world catalyzing things around him, making them cooperate better and generally behave better. After a while he starts being assigned by his bosses to ships that need fixing, even (which leads to the only book with a real antagonist). I've described the books as his going around the universe doing well by doing good.