In which Therny Chirs comes to Eylot.
I think I made the right call, for me, to leave this story until after the novel, even though it doesn’t directly relate to the plot. If I had read the story first, I’d have spent most of the novel trying to figure out how it connected, which would have been distracting.
The connection is Therny, who ends this story joining the teaching staff at Anlingdin and will go on to be the teacher Theo recalls in The Gathering Edge who talks about the importance of knowing the ins and outs of the regulations. Several times in this story he shows that kind of knowledge, to his own advantage. And there’s one time, with the issue that results from him showing up at the Guild Office in person instead of phoning in his request, where a lack of that kind of detailed knowledge makes things more difficult for him. At least in the short term; it worked out to his advantage in the long run, but I suspect he would have preferred to have been clear in advance and been able to make an informed decision. (And I don’t blame him that he didn’t know this detail; it sounds like his ship doesn’t give him much time to study details of new places.)
Therny Chirs instead of Therny Chibs again, which makes sense if this was written to accompany The Gathering Edge; they probably used the same set of notes on what things were called and how names were spelled.
Nice to see a bit more of Beeslady and Pilot Govans.
I like the detail of the cruise liner having a good-looking side – the one that faces the dock, and that the punters can see out the window as they embark and debark – and a more practical and less good-looking side.
The date information on this story is vague (probably deliberately, to leave room for later stories): “ten or twenty” Standard Years after Hevelin and Pilot Peltzer joined forces in Mouse and Dragon, and so ten or twenty years before Theo’s time on Eylot.
I’m beginning to get the impression that when Hevelin asked Theo, on their first meeting, whether she knew Daav and Aelliana, it wasn’t any special insight but just that he asks everybody that question on first meeting them. Which is fair enough, since Daav and Aelliana did him a good turn and it’s reasonable that he’d be happy to have news of them. Come to think of it, that’s another potentially interesting reunion to look forward to when everyone finally makes it back to Surebleak.