Tag Archives: Boss Conrad’s house

Accepting the Lance – Chapter 35

Blair Road
Boss Conrad’s House

In which Mrs kaz’Ineo has an idea.

The mention of the Gilmour Agency’s human resources manual as a recent acquisition places this chapter not long after the opening scene of “Block Party”, in which Luzeal had just made the discovery, although perhaps not after the entire story, which covers a period of several weeks.
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Accepting the Lance – Chapter 34

Blair Road
Boss Conrad’s House

In which Boss Conrad has breakfast.

Pat Rin’s conversation with Cheever reminds me of the old days when they were still getting used to each other. Apparently Pat Rin is still capable of surprising him.
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Accepting the Lance – Chapter 31

Blair Road

In which the entire Council of Bosses meets to discuss the situation.

Most of the bosses we’ve already met get at least a word in at this meeting. Bosses Marriott, Engles and Torin make their first appearances here, though all have been mentioned before.
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Accepting the Lance – Chapter 28

Blair Road
Boss Conrad’s House

In which Boss Conrad receives a letter.

The cinnamon toast is a small detail that shows how things have improved since Boss Conrad got the Council of Bosses set up. I’d bet cinnamon was hard to come by in the old days.
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Dragon in Exile – Chapter 38

Boss Conrad’s House
Blair Road

In which Penn Kalhoon has something to say.

I was wrong about the meeting Pat Rin sent Quin to, which I might have known if I’d thought; on further consideration, if it had been something other than an ordinary sort of meeting Pat Rin would have said so. This is not the first time I’ve been wrong in this novel about an upcoming meeting going to be the occasion for excitement; my persistent mistake has been to misunderstand what kind of story this is. I kept assuming that if a meeting got mentioned it was probably going to be important to the plot, and that if trouble was brewing it would come to a head quickly, but this is a more slow-burn story than that, and meetings of the Council of Bosses are important to the plot even if nothing dramatic happens at them simply because it matters to the characters that there is a Council of Bosses and that it’s holding regular meetings.

And that brings us around to what Pat Rin tells Penn, which is another thread of the ongoing thing about how the new ways are going to survive: if Pat Rin and Val Con and Miri get killed, that isn’t the end of the new Surebleak. Korval might have shown the way, but they couldn’t have made it happen without Surebleakeans, and now the way has been shown the Surebleakeans can make it happen without Korval if they have to.

I suspect it speaks to how much Surebleak has improved already that Pat Rin is able to compare its port to Solcintra’s Mid Port instead of its Low Port. For that matter, the state Surebleak Port was in when Pat Rin arrived was so run-down and uninhabited it might not even have stood a comparison to the Low Port, which whatever it may not be at least has an active population.

It hadn’t occurred to me how useful a scholar of the history of education might be in a city trying to develop a proper education system. I wonder how long the authors have been planning that one.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 33

Jelaza Kazone

In which the Tree reaches out to a visitor, and Quin decides to go for a walk.

kin’Joyt professes to be offended that Korval is (supposedly) charging money for viewing the house, instead of having a free open day like properly civilised people, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to her to protest by, say, refusing to buy a ticket. Then again, I get the impression kin’Joyt is willing to embrace an opportunity to be offended by Korval’s behaviour.

The mode of captain-to-passenger is an interesting choice; technically, that’s no longer an option that lies within Korval’s melant’i, since the Contract that made Korval the Liadens’ captain was concluded. It efficiently announces the delm’s identity, though; everybody still remembers, and if it’s no longer within Korval’s melant’i, there is yet nobody else who can lay claim to it.

“Lefty” pen’Erit’s new name follows the existing Surebleak pattern of This Is What Your Name Sounds Like To Me, though I had to go and look his personal name up to be sure because it’s been mentioned less often than the other examples we’ve seen.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 27

Office of the Road Boss
Surebleak Port

In which it’s time to be gone.

I expect we’ll get Tolly’s story in a chapter or two, but what’s the fun of reading a book for the first time if one can’t speculate? I had wondered, when it was established that Tolly’s former employer was a Liaden, if this was another aspect of the Department of the Interior, and the mental-control business with the whistles also points in that direction. (If so, I notice that Liaden servants of the Department get names, but Terrans, even if they’re valuable specialists, are tools with serial numbers.) On the other hand, indications so far have been that the Department doesn’t think enough of Terrans to use them even as anonymous tools. Maybe this is some kind of splinter operation; maybe it’s a completely unrelated bunch of unscrupulous Liadens. It might not even be a Liaden group entirely; the woman with the other whistle isn’t said to be Liaden, and although she is said to be small in stature, it’s Hazenthull’s viewpoint saying so, and there are maybe three people on Surebleak who don’t look small to Hazenthull.

I was worried that, with Hazenthull having to take off with Tolly, there’d be nobody left to explain matters to Commander Liz, but Tocohl will be in contact with the port tower during lift, and maybe she’ll get a chance to pass a message then. Or she probably has some way of communicating directly with Jeeves, and can dump the whole thing in his metaphorical lap. (There’s another thing to look forward to: Hazenthull’s reaction to Tocohl.)

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 25

Boss Conrad’s House
Blair Road

In which the Juntavas make Korval an offer he can refuse.

I’m not sure I understand the motivation behind the Juntavas’ offer to bring Korval into the family. If even an ordinary alliance would be risky, why go so much further? The only thing I can think of is that someone hopes to be able to envelop and gain control of Korval, in which case it’s only polite of Val Con to have given warning. Korval doesn’t really do “enveloped and controlled”.

I’m impressed by the Juntavas’ information-gathering if they’ve learned that Aelliana is still around. Maybe it’s explained by the fact that they’ve obtained detailed information about Daav’s visit to Nev’lorn, since Daav did mention to a few people then that Aelliana was with him. Perhaps more impressive is that the High Judge seems pretty casual about it, Aelliana being still around so long after she was declared to be really most sincerely dead. Could be that this time it’s a case of not having learned everything; if he doesn’t know how definitely dead Aelliana was, he might fall back on assuming reports of her death had been exaggerated, which I expect is something a High Judge of the Juntavas would be familiar with.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 23

Boss Conrad’s House
Blair Road

In which the Road Boss makes plans for the day.

Miri’s bruised cheek is one of those things that have extra resonance from details mentioned in other stories. Pat Rin is especially upset about it because the culture of Liad puts a big value on presenting a clean and unblemished face to the world: no dirt, no smudges, no injuries. (No concealing make-up, either.) That’s also part of why everyone made such a fuss about Val Con’s scar in Plan B, beyond its inherent unpleasantness. Val Con is less concerned about it, partly (as with his scar) because of his Scout training, and partly because, as he reminds Pat Rin, this is not Liad.

Val Con and Miri do a neat job of diverting Nelirikk’s disapproval.

I somehow suspect there’s something to the fact that Tocohl’s proportions are described entirely in terms of being similar to Theo’s. Her voice isn’t Theo’s though, if Val Con recognises it but Miri doesn’t. (I wonder if it’s modelled on Aelliana…) Perhaps Jeeves decided that if Tocohl was to be a child of Korval, she ought to bear some resemblance to her sisters and her cousins and her aunts.

Tocohl takes after her father in choosing a name from fiction that suits her intended role: Susumo Tocohl is the protagonist of Janet Kagan’s novel Hellspark; she’s a linguist, a dab hand at smoothing over the problems caused by clashing cultural assumptions, and her universe’s leading authority on the process of teaching an AI how to be a person.

(Hellspark is a long-standing favourite comfort-read of mine, and I would perhaps be more excited about this development except that the surprise was spoiled for me long ago by an acquaintance who, in addition to our shared loved of the works of Lee & Miller and of Kagan, has a taste I don’t share for reading Advance Reader Copies.)

We still haven’t been given the name of the specialist Jeeves proposes as Tocohl’s colleague, which suggests that the authors consider it something worth building up to. My only guess at this point is that it’s Tolly, if only because he’s been established as a specialist earlier in the novel. And, come to think of it, if he’s still being looked for by someone he doesn’t want to be found by, he might welcome a trip away. (…and if he’s a specialist in AI, what does that say about the person who’s looking for him?)

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 12

Tantara Floor Coverings
Surebleak port

In which Quin has a date.

The shop’s name, “Tantara”, is a variety of rare and valuable carpet – specifically, the variety of which the bel’Tarda heirloom carpet, bestowed on Pat Rin by Luken in “Heirloom”, is an example.

I still consider Beslin vin’Tenzing’s idea of Balance unreasonable, but on reflection I think I see where a Liaden would say I went wrong. Proper behaviour for a Liaden is to look out for oneself, one’s kin and dependents, to lend a hand to an ally if asked, and otherwise to pay every other person in the universe the compliment of assuming them capable of taking care of themselves. The desire to find a solution that serves everybody harmed in the attack on Solcintra would not be admirable to a Liaden, but instead an unconscionable failure to mind one’s own business. vin’Tenzing’s duty is to do no more than find a solution that serves vin’Tenzing, and if in the process somebody else’s solution gets stepped on it’s up the other person to take it up with vin’Tenzing as a fresh matter requiring Balance.