Friday, June 17, 2016

Scout's Progress (Liaden Universe #6) (Space Regencies #2), by Sharon Lee (author), Steve Miller (author), Bernadette Dunne (narrator)

Audible Frontiers, September 2012 (original publication April 2002)

Aelliana Caylon has a problem, and it's her brother. He's abusive, contemptuous, and heir to the Delm of Clan Meisel. He cares nothing for the fact that she's a brilliant mathematician and revisor of the Ventura tables on which all pilots depend. He feels she's worth nothing except what she'd bring in a contract marriage--and the Delm, their mother, has granted Aelliana's plea that she be allowed to make no more contract marriages.

So brother Ran Eld is looking for other ways to humiliate her. He's also in serious need of funds, as a creditor with no sense of humor is demanding immediate repayment.

Meanwhile, Daav yos'Phelium is having his own problems. He's been negotiating a contract marriage of his own; as Delm Korval, he doesn't even have the option of letting it be someone else's decision. The bride he's found is utterly suitable in every way, except that they have no particular attraction to each other, and Korval's Tree has taken her in serious dislike.

Then Aelliana throws a monkey wrench in everyone's plans, when she accompanies two of her students to a gaming house and wins ownership of a jump ship, Ride the Luck, from the spoiled heir of another house. She starts sneaking off to the port to oversee the refitting of her ship, and to get the training she needs to become a licensed jump pilot. And while spending all that time there, she meets a casual employee of the shipyard where her ship is docked, who goes by the name of Daav. He, like the others at this yard, is an ex-Scout pilot. He's good company, a good teacher, and if he's a little vague about what his House is and other details, it doesn't seem important--right?

This story is a lot of fun, and while it's part of a larger series, it stands on its own well enough to enjoy even if this is your first encounter with the series. The Liaden universe and characters have a fairly rich, textured background, the good guys have solid values, and the bad guys are at least understandable. And did I mention it's a lot of fun?

Recommended.

I bought this book.