Monday, December 16, 2019

Accepting the Lance (Liaden Universe #22) (Arc of the Covenants #5), by Sharon Llee (author), Steve Miller (author), Eileen Stevens (narrator)

Audible Studios, December 2019

The team sent off to take down the Department of the Interior are running into some interesting challenges--and an unexpected development.

Someone calling themself "Boss Surebleak" has demanded that Boss Conrad and the Road Boss be "retired," in the Surebleak sense, all their property stripped from their families, and those families deported from Surebleak, and Surebleak returned to its "native" laws and customs.

Theo, Bechimo, and crew are working off two serious demerits Theo and Bechimo earned while entering the Surebleak system in their previous adventure. The Portmaster is being hardnosed about it, which she admits is not really fair, but...

There's a Terra Trade survey team on planet, evaluating the port for the upgrade to "regional port, all services" status that it clearly needs for Surebleak to continue to grow. The presence of Clan Korval, and the bad reputation the Department of the Interior has managed to saddle them with, is of course one of the biggest obstacles to this. The fact that Theo, while being the Delm's sister, isn't really Clan Korval, is a detail that the Portmaster can't really expect to sell to the Terra Trade team. While doing their public service work, they find a gathering of Old Tech ships and devices, some of them from the old universe. Currently, the Old Tech intelligences are discussing whether or not the orders they have to destroy Surebleak are valid. Obviously, hot-headed Theo is the right one to convince them they're not, right?

Meanwhile, the Bedel have received an automated message from the Ship. When they reply, the Captain will notify them of when to be ready for their very late pickup. But do they want to go? A couple of generations at least have been born and have grown up on Surebleak. Some of them have strong local ties.

And if that's not enough excitement, a Turtle has arrived, not one of Edger's clan, but she does know Edger. Her name is Emissary Twelve, and she's been sent with some really bad news. If repair work on the damage done, apparently by the Gilmour Agency's mining operations, doesn't start soon, Surebleak will come apart in just twelve thousand years.

So, yes, okay, that particular disaster is on a timescale that makes it seem more urgent to Turtles than to humans, but still, why wait?

There's a lot going on here, and it's a lot of fun, if also pretty high stress to everyone involved. The Liaden universe, the Surebleak culture, and the new and old characters continue to grow and develop. It's an enjoyable and satisfying story.


I received this audiobook as a gift from a kind friend.

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