In which the fate of the RosaRing is sealed.
The story carefully sticks to local dates to avoid tying itself down too tight, but there is a hint of approximately when it’s set: one of the characters mentions the disruptions caused by astronomical phenomena cutting off the traditional trade routes, which suggests it’s set within the time period of Arin’s Envidaria.
Another, less definite, thing linking it to that time period is that Verita and Kiland’s troth rings are made of triluxian, a substance whose only other appearance in the series is the mysterious ring Jethri encounters in Trade Secret.
The Fleet of which Implacable is the last surviving ship has been mentioned a few times in other stories; in Saltation, Win Ton mentions a rumour that Bechimo‘s builders incorporated Old Tech that had been used in the Fleet. I don’t think Implacable itself has been mentioned before; in I Dare, the Juntavas High Judge’s ship also bears that name, but I feel certain that if the High Judge had been travelling in a centuries-old battleship powered by Old Tech with weapons capable of smashing entire planets, somebody would have mentioned the fact.
This is not, for me, one of the more successful Liaden Universe stories. I didn’t feel like we got to know any of the characters very well, and I’m not sure I liked any of the ones we did get to know. Also, as the author’s note at the front helpfully reminds us, we know how this is going to end, so the plot depends on interesting the reader in how it gets there, in which it did not notably succeed with this reader.
Mind you, I said much the same about “Guaranteed Delivery” the first time I read it, and I ended up liking it more on re-reads, so you never know.
Another thing, which doesn’t apply to “Guaranteed Delivery”, is that some days I’m of a mind to be annoyed whenever some trouble in the Liaden universe turns out to be due to a leftover from the old universe, so there’s that, which might not have been so much of a factor on another day.