Thursday, April 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

The Gathering Edge
Author: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Series: Liaden Universe® (Book 20)
Publication: Liaden Universe® (Book 20)

Description: The luck runs rough around Theo Waitley. Not only are people trying to kill her and capture the self-aware intelligent ship Bechimo to whom Theo is bonded, they’re also trying to arrest her crew members, and throw the dignity of an important passenger, the duly-constituted norbear ambassador Hevelin, into question.

No wonder Theo and her crew felt the need of a break, and retired to what Bechimo refers to as "safe space." Unfortunately, safe space may not be so safe, anymore.  It seems that things are leaking through from another universe, and another time. In fact, whole spaceships are coming through.  One of those ships is a blasted battleship seemingly fleeing a long-lost war. What’s more, its crew may be members of Theo’s ancient ancestral line—her relatives. It’s certain that they are in dire need of help. Theo has a choice to make. It seems that Bechimo’s “safe space” is about to become deadly perilous.

My Thoughts: The 20th Liaden Universe book focuses on Theo Waitley and her sentient ship Bechimo. They are in a far distant part of the galaxy in what Bechimo says is a safe place. However, they are in a location where flotsam from the destruction of the Old World keeps appearing. It isn't so bad when it is a teacup, but when Cantra yos'Phelium's empty ship appears that is something else. Especially when the only living thing on the ship is a tree much like Korval's tree strapped into the pilot's sear. Theo is determined to bring it to the Delm of Korval who is also her brother and his lifemate.

They are just making plans to safely attach the ship when another large mass of wreckage appears. This one holds survivors including two Yxtrang on a secret mission and a ship's cat. Stost and Chernak are both surprised and dismayed to find that they have appeared in the new world hundreds of years after their expected arrival. Theo and her crew are also in a bit of a dilemma about what they should do with these two. Win Ton is all in favor of dumping them on the nearest Scout base for the Scouts to deal with. Theo wants the give them better options. It was interesting to learn what the Yxtrang were like in the old world which is very different than what the scattered remnants that came to the new world became.

This is a quieter story than many in this series. It deals more with Theo and Bechimo coming to terms with their bonding which has changed each of them greatly than it does epic battles. The closest thing to an epic battle is an incipient riot on a space station when Theo and crew try to get her old mentor out of a jam. Their encounter with Scouts who want to confiscate Bechimo for being an artifact of Old Tech could have developed more but quick thinking threw the problem onto Val Con yos'Phelium's shoulders and will probably be resolved in the next book.

It was nice catching up with Theo who we first met in Fledgling (2009), but I'll admit I miss knowing what is happening on Surebleak with those nearer to Korval. Theo thinks of herself as a Terran and a child of Delgado. In fact, I found it amusing that she thought that she might have to take care of her brother Val Con, a very competent person, but is content to leave him in the hands of his very competent mate Miri. She is having some trouble finding her place in regards to Korval. Korval has claimed her but she is finding the fit a little tight.

I enjoyed this story. It makes me want to go back and read all of Theo's story again.

Favorite Quote:
"I think," she said slowly, "that being alive isn't safe. We have to take risks; we have to make choices or we stop being alive, even if we haven't died. Once a choice is made, it's irrevocable. The only thing left is to make another choice."
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from Baen Books. You can buy your copy here.

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