Saturday, July 2, 2011

Reviews: Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem

These are the next three books in my re-read of the Liaden Universe series. I am re-reading the series in order of internal chronology. It happens that, though these books were written first, they are about the children of the characters in the first bunch I read.

Agent of Change (1988)

Original 1988 Cover
This is the story of Val Con yos'Phelium who is the heir to Clan Korval and who was trained as a Scout and then co-opted by the sinister Department of the Interior to be an agent of change. He is on a Terran planet to assassinate the leader of the Terran Party which hates all non-Terrans. He is successful and gets away clean until he is drawn to the sound of gunfire and rescues a young woman from a group of criminals.

Miri Robertson is a former mercenary and former bodyguard from the world of Surebleak. She is definitely from the wrong side of town. She is also part Liaden though she doesn't know it.

She and Val Con band together to escape the Terran Party that is after him and the Juntavas who are after her. Along the way they are helped by the Clutch Turtle Edger and his brothers. Edger had previously met Val Con and make him a brother. He is quick to adopt Miri too when he sees that she and Val Con are lifemates.

2002 Reprint cover
Conflict of Honors (1988)

Priscilla Mendoza is an exile from her home world of Sintia and also a dramliza (wizard). She has been working as a cargo master on a Liaden ship until she was attacked and left on a frontier world because she suspected the trader and ship captain of dealing drugs.

Shan yos'Galan is the master trader and ship captain of the Dutiful Passage which is the flagship of Clan Korval. He hires Priscilla to work for him for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that he is involved in a "balancing" with the ship captain who abandoned her.

The two get to know each other, fall in love, and have many adventures - including attempted murder and piracy - while trying to balance accounts with the evil Sav Rid Olanek.

2002 Reprint Cover
Carpe Diem (1989)

This story continues the adventures of Val Con and Miri. When we left them they has made a jump in a very damaged spaceship in which they were left of to die by the Juntavas who captured them, to an interdicted world in order to escape capture and death from the Yxtrang. This story tells about their adventures on this world as they learn the language, learn the culture, and make friends. It also gives them time to get to know each other better and time for Val Con to find ways to disable the conditioning that was forced on him when he was made an agent of change.

Meanwhile, in the greater world, Clan Korval searches for Val Con and learns more about the aims of the Department of the Interior. We learn more about what Liaden wizards can do when we see Shan's sister Anthora able to feel all the members of the clan no matter how distant and Priscilla able to leave her body and journey to where Val Con and Miri are to leave messages.

At the conclusion of these three books we leave our heroes in love but in great danger. Plan B is in effect. The Clan has left Liad and are scrambling to reconnect and to learn more about their enemies. Loyal readers waited and waited. Sharon and Steve were dropped by their publisher because they didn't sell enough books which left their loyal readers hanging.

Sharon and Steve did develop a web presence as soon as there was a world wide web. Their fans quickly found them and become the Friends of Liad. Sharon and Steve fed their fans' hunger by writing and self-publishing annual chapbooks with Liaden stories.

It wasn't until 1999 that they found a new publisher and could continue the story. Next up for me are Plan B and I Dare which were the two books they wrote for their new publisher - Meisha Merlin.

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