One of the best, if not the best, young adult sci fi novels ever written. Witches has all the action and adventure of a Heinlein juvenile without the far right political cant, features strong young female characters, pirates, death rays, and most of the elements that make sci fi fun to read in the first place. Appropriate for reading by both sexes, girls will appreciate the young protagonists while boys will be floored by the non-stop action.
Not my favorite sci fi/fantasy, but ok, and the Witches are fun. Captain Pausert just kind of lucks into an interesting story and we watch as things happen to him.
Book two (The Wizard of Karres) gets better, but it is written by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and David Freer.
The first time I read this book, I laughed until I cried. :-) Many readings later, I still think it is great.
James Schmitz wrote The Witches of Karres in 1966. Of his work, he is best known for this novel and the use of strong female protagonists. It is a delightful tale of a captain and his ship hauling cargo around the fringes of the known Empire. He rescues three underage slaves to find that they are three witches of the fabled Karres and the story unfolds from there. I enjoyed the mild humorous antics that his characters got into and worked through.