Monday, January 3, 2022

Halfling Moon (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #16), by Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

Pinbeam Books, ISBN 9781935224242, April 2011

In the aftermath of Clan Korval's head-on clash with the Department of the Interior, and firing on Solcintra to destroy DoI's death machinery. Korval is removing to the backward world of Surebleak. Pat Rin yos'Phelium has, somewhat by coincidence, created a plausible refuge for them there. They're evacuating in great haste, under the Plan B they have trained diligently on even while hoping not to need it. DoI is chasing them, hoping to do, at the least, irreparable damage to Korval.

In these two stories, we see some of this crisis and chaos from less common viewpoints in the Liaden stories.

In "Hidden Resources," young Quin yos'Phelium is the halfling who is suddenly the senior pilot for the escape ship for the clan's children. In addition to the next-oldest pilot, Padi, he's got his grandmother, Kareen; his grandfather, Luken; and all the children. Not large numbers, but a large responsibility. When the unfamiliar ship that's been nearby for a while vanishes, and another ship arrives, with all the right codes but an unfamiliar pilot--"Inas Bhar, called Natesa," as the pilot, he has to rely on his elders, but can't completely cede responsibility to them.

In "Moon on a Hill," meanwhile, Pat Rin needs to cut a deal for the only practical place to put down the clan house, and the Tree that is in many ways the heart of the clan. That place is land owned by Yulie Shaper, who is a recluse farmer who is hesitant to deal even with people he knows, never mind newcomers from off-world. Yulie also has very well-grounded fear of strangers wanting to shoot his cats; it has happened before

It's not just money that will be needed to persuade Yulie.

In these two stories, we see first a part of the evacuation we only get glimpses of elsewhere, and also get better acquainted with Yulie, his history, and the traumas that helped to make him the cantankerous, recluse farmer that he is. We also see more of the maturing Pat Rin, embracing responsibilities after years of being a cavalier gambler, convinced from his failure to become the pilot he was literally bred to be that he wasn't worth anything more.

As always, the characters are interesting, complex, and hard not to like.


I bought this book.

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