Tag Archives: Chessel’s World

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 20

Admiral Bunter
Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop

In which Admiral Bunter returns.

I like the byplay about Padi using glancing-at-the-notepad as a way of providing appropriate pauses in the conversation, and the way it offers an explanation for her father’s ubiquitous glass of wine. (The glass of wine has a potential strategic advantage over glancing-at-the-notepad, in that the latter might make it look like one doesn’t really know what one is doing.)

It’s also another example of how two plot lines parallel each other within a chapter, because over in the other plot line we have Tolly thinking about how Admiral Bunter needs to learn about providing appropriate pauses in his conversation.

Thematic parallels aside, I still have no idea how, or if, the three plot strands are going to meet up. What has the progress of Dutiful Passage to do with Admiral Bunter, or either to do with the Uncle and Daav and Aelliana? Maybe Padi will accidentally stumble upon the ancient AI that the Uncle and Tocohl are each so interested in finding?

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 13

Dutiful Passage

In which experts consider possible alliances.

The mention of the captain, the first mate, and the trader reminds me that I don’t think we know who is the first mate of the Passage at the moment. Ren Zel was appointed to the position when Priscilla moved up to captain in I Dare, but as we were reminded last chapter Ren Zel is currently situated on Surebleak with Anthora, serving the clan in another capacity.

Tolly’s mission continues to be apparently continuing smoothly, which just means I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. One potential obstacle that occurs to me is that Tolly has determined that Admiral Bunter needs to be transferred onto a platform large enough to hold all of him at once, but hasn’t mentioned whether such a platform happens to be available. I suspect not; it isn’t the kind of thing likely to be just lying around, and even if Jeeves and Tocohl had foreseen the need they might well have decided it would be better to order one in after examining the Admiral on the spot than to try and guess in advance what specs would suit. Which means they’re going to have to keep the Admiral occupied until the thing arrives.

(Idle speculation: Perhaps circumstances will line up such that the easiest way for it to get to Jemiatha Station is for Dutiful Passage to bring it. That seems too tidy, but it would at least provide a connection between the two plot lines.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 11

Dutiful Passage

In which you wait ages for one, then two show up at once.

It’s still not clear what manner of person Stew’s expert is; a courier ship registered out of Waymart could be just about anybody. It may imply something that Stew doesn’t recognise the name straight off; that suggests he asked for an expert from someone he knew could provide one, but that he didn’t contact the expert directly.

The name of the expert’s ship, for what it may be worth, seems to have a Biblical derivation: Ahab was a famously wicked king, and Esaias is an alternate transliteration of the prophet who is usually rendered in English as Isaiah. (Which makes an interesting juxtaposition, if that’s what the referents are.) These days the name Ahab is more familiar as the name of the obsessive hunter in Moby-Dick, which strikes me as a bit ominous.

It’ll be interesting to see how the metaphor of Padi as the bowl develops. It occurs to me that the idea of weapons and art coming together in harmony is also applicable to her father, who’s been struggling with that himself at least since his visit to Weapons Hall. (It also occurs to me, on a more mundane note, to wonder if Shan ever did find out how the potter planned to deal with bulk orders.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 10

Dutiful Passage

In which Shan has an unanticipated meeting, and Stew still awaits an anticipated arrival.

Definitely ramping up to having Moonhawk and Lute take an active hand in the story. As yet, I don’t have any ideas about why. Presumably it’s not going to be just because a bunch of people have decided to take an unfriendly interest in Shan’s ship.

I like the grace note about the stream at Trealla Fantrol.

I don’t blame Stew for calling in his own expert when things got suddenly worse, but I wonder where his expert is from, and I’m inclined to suspect that having two experts on the case is not going to make things easier.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 9

Vivulonj Prosperu

In which patience is a virtue.

Interesting. The scene with Daav is Interlude 9 from Dragon in Exile, only from Daav’s point of view instead of the Uncle’s. Which means this present is after Dragon in Exile‘s main plot line (i.e. the part that had Tolly and Haz in) but contemporaneous with the interlude/subplot. Well, it’s not as if it would be the first Liaden book where the various plot lines travelled at different speeds. The other interesting thing about it is that the empty chamber Daav finds himself in, and gets up to explore, is not real — or, let us say, no more real than the plain he recalls having been on earlier. In the Uncle’s viewpoint, he’s lying in the rebirthing unit the whole time with his eyes closed.

I’m getting really worried about Padi now. If she’d gone ahead with the plan to attack the guard she’d have been in a whole heap more trouble without having achieved any benefit — had she even got as far as thinking about what she planned to do after she’d killed him? (Failure to consider longer-term consequences seems to be a thing with her when she’s upset. Probably an effect of what she did to lock her fears away: if you don’t consider the consequences you don’t need to be frightened of what they might be. But you might also easily do something that solves an immediate problem by causing much worse problems later.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 8

Chessel’s World

In which the authorities act against an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Okay, so it’s “The trade goes wrong, launching more plot”, then. I didn’t expect it to go wrong this way, though in retrospect perhaps I should have.

Did the portmaster’s office know, when they invited Shan to a reception later in the day, that he was involved in an ongoing criminal enterprise? As Shan says, the specification that he should come alone isn’t necessarily sinister.

Shan’s reflection on the reception he received in Dayan port keeps another of the story’s balls in the air — Dayan port being where Lomar Fasholt used to live and trade. (And it occurs to me for the first time that it may not be coincidence that the planet Dayan and Sintia’s port city of Dyan have such similar names.)

I like how we have Padi trying to figure out why Shan chose to offer the goods he did, followed later by Shan reflecting on why he did.

We now have the third mate’s name: Dil Nem Tiazan. This is a name we’ve encountered before; he was one of the relatives to whom Miri was introduced at her first dinner under Erob’s roof.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 7

Dutiful Passage

In which Apprentice Trader yos’Galan secures her milaster.

Parts of this, with the ‘prentice trader visiting a new planet with the master trader, inevitably remind me of Jethri’s apprenticeship in Balance of Trade. (I also recollect how the numbers being haggled changed from the short story to the novel of Balance of Trade, and note that so far in this novel the authors have managed to avoid committing to specific numbers.)

Being of a nasty, suspicious turn of mind, I intend to assume in the absence of contrary evidence that Technician First Class Higgs is in some way a relative of Airman Third Class Higgs from Girl Genius.

I get the distinct impression that when Shan moves to intervene in the confrontation at the end of the chapter, it’s not his daughter’s health he’s worried for.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 2

Dutiful Passage

In which Padi tends to the growth of the garden and Shan tends to the growth of his heir.

That’s an interesting word choice by Padi in response to the suggestion that she might have Healer abilities coming on. Not that she hasn’t seen any evidence of it (and I notice she doesn’t say that she hasn’t), but that she’s determined not to be a Healer — as if determination has ever made any difference in the matter. I wonder why she’s so firm on the subject. It surely can’t be that she thinks being a Healer would prevent her becoming a Trader, since her own father is proof that a person can be both.

Possibly there’s a clue to be had by considering Shan’s timing in raising the matter: He does it as an apparent tangent off the discussion about Padi’s motivation in her self-defence training, which suggests that he sees some connection. Perhaps he’s thinking that a Healer might be reluctant to harm others and that this could lead to overcompensation.

The interlude with the Uncle places the timing of this story with some precision, within the timespan of Dragon in Exile, and raises the prospect of the Uncle and Dulsey playing a larger part in this novel. And perhaps their two guests as well?