Standard Year 1392
In which the man who is not Terrence O’Grady shows what he can do.
It’s a sign of how the Liaden Universe has grown over the decades that it’s taken the re-read a year and change to reach this, the sentence where it all started: The man who was not Terrence O’Grady had come quietly.
One thing that strikes me about this chapter, after all those prequels full of Terrans with almost-familiar names like Ristof and Jethri, is how normal the names seem here: Terry, Sam, Pete, Russ. The Terran homeworld is even called “Earth” instead of “Terra”. On reflection, though, I don’t think it’s just a case of the authors not yet having their name generators warmed up, because it serves an artistic purpose. These are people who are proudly, even aggressively, Terran, who keep close ties with Earth and don’t mix with the other cultures of the galaxy; their names, which seem normal to a reader of the 20th or 21st century, perhaps mark them in the novel’s future setting as old-fashioned, resistant to the changes that subsequent centuries have brought.