Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Change State (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #32), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Pinbeam Books, March 2021

Two Liaden stories, "Dead Men Dream," an original story providing a follow-up on two characters from Trade Secret, and "Command Decision," which originally appeared in an anthology.

Bar Jan chel'Gaiban Clan Rinork is the young Trader who challenged Jethri to a duel, for various poorly-thought-out reasons of resentment, and lost. It's a serious embarrassment for his clan, and his Delm declares him dead, and puts him off the ship at Port Chavvy Station. His servant, Khana vo'Daran Clan Baling, chooses to go with him, and is also declared dead.

Bar Jan's arm was also smashed, as further punishment, and initially on Port Chavvy, Khana has to do the foraging for food, news, and all else they need. Bar Jan can go out, but is reluctant to do so more than necessary. In the course of "Dead Men Dream," Khana and Bar Jan, permanently excluded from the Liaden culture they have spent their whole lives in, need to create new identities and lives for themselves. In the course of that struggle, they form a new relationship with each other, as equals and friends.

"Command Decision" is a story of the mercenary troop where Major Lizardi is the intel officer, but this isn't her story. They're on a planet where, every decade, "the Ripple" remakes the agriculture of the world, and there is very serious religious ceremony around this. The mercenaries are there to ensure that everything goes peacefully, that pilgrims can make their pilgrimage, and the tiny group that has to manage the Ripple is not seized by one of the rival powers. This is complicated by the fact that the language as well as the culture of the planet is unfamiliar--Bjarni, a logistics officer, is the only member of the mercenary force who has been on the planet before.

He's going to become far more involved in the Ripple and its ritual than he expects It's a fun little story, very enjoyable.


I bought this book.

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