Tag Archives: commissioners

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 3

Dutiful Passage

In which Padi has a lesson to learn.

I raise an eyebrow at Padi’s dismissal of things that serve no purpose other than looking pretty. Apart from the error she’s making of assuming that “I see no purpose to this” is the same as “There is no purpose to this”, it seems shortsighted for one who aspires to be a trader: even if a thing’s only value lies in looking pretty, it still has value that may be usefully leveraged or may cause problems if ignored. People value the things they value, for whatever reason.

(That said, being unreasonable isn’t all that unlikely for someone Padi’s age.)

I’m wondering if the Carresens Syndicate is going be part of the “alliance of equals” referred to in the title. When the family (and Pilot Janifer Carresens-DeNobli) was last mentioned, in Dragon in Exile, the delm summed them up by saying they were very like Korval. (I somehow doubt the Uncle is going to be part of it; has he ever recognised an equal?)

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 19

Jelaza Kazone

In which Jeeves brings an urgent request to the delm.

That’s what you get, Miri, for tempting fate by being thankful you didn’t have to deal with Pat Rin’s problem in fleecy robe and slippers.

(It occurs to me that there’s a conceptual connection between Jeeves’s intention to create a child and what Val Con and Miri were doing when he interrupted, although Val Con and Miri presumably weren’t motivated by the same intention in this instance.)

The idea of Jeeves’s child coming to Korval is interesting; Jeeves, as far as I know, is not counted a member of the clan himself, any more than the other household servants. Perhaps it’s an option opened up by the fact that he came to the delm for permission. I don’t think a household servant would normally do that; inform their employer of a factor likely to affect their performance, yes, but the decision itself would be in the hands of their own delm. (I’m thinking, among other examples, of Jeeves’s predecessor Mr pak’Ora, who was called by his delm to serve his clan in another role, with his employer being given no say and left to cover his absence at short notice.) Jeeves, of course, doesn’t have a delm of his own, which may be another factor in Val Con’s offer. If it is an offer, and not an ultimatum: there have been cases where a child has gone to another clan as Balance for trouble caused by the parent. I don’t think that’s what’s going on here, even though Jeeves admitted fault for the present emergency, but I suspect that the possibility is one of the reasons he had to stop and think before accepting the delm’s word.

Saltation – Chapter 40


In which Theo gets a better offer.

Though he mentions it casually, the Uncle’s account of Theo’s forefathers is a reminder that he Knows Things. Given Delgado’s emphasis on the maternal line, there aren’t many people who even know that Jen Sar Kiladi is Theo’s father, and the number of people who have accurate knowledge of Jen Sar’s ancestors is smaller yet. It raises questions about how the Uncle found out, and how long he’s known, and for that matter what led him to think it was a thing worth finding out about.

The ship Theo’s being offered, which possesses “both monetary and sentimental value”, is called Arin’s Toss, and was “built on an old Terran commissioner’s ship plan”. One recalls that Jethri’s father Arin was a Terran trade commissioner, and suspects a depth of history that’s not being elaborated on.

And the Uncle has a fractin in his money pouch. It’s been a while since we’ve seen one of those, long enough that it took me a couple of times reading those paragraphs to recognise what it was.

Trade Secret – Chapter 30

Gobelyn’s Market, Clawswitts

In which the Gobelyns receive news of kin.

So that’s why Jethri suddenly decided he needed to send a message to Freza.

Apart from the trade and economic factors, which I don’t feel qualified to judge, one useful effect of publishing the Envidaria that Jethri must have considered is that the Liadens will have to stop bugging his friends and family for a copy. (Whether they’ll believe, among themselves, that the published Envidaria is the real thing, is another matter – I suspect those Liadens inclined to believe in Terran trickery will consider this more of the same – but at least they’ll have to act in public as if they believe it.)

And it looks like I was wrong (again) about Ynsolt’i. I think, looking back, that I’ve been tending to get predictions wrong about this book by tending toward being too neat and tidy. Life don’t always go in for quick and tidy endings to things.

Speaking of things in life that aren’t neat and tidy, I’ve got some of my sympathy for Iza back. She’s a complicated woman, is Iza Gobelyn.

Trade Secret – Chapter 13

Keravath, on Port, Balfour

In which Jethri and ter’Astin finish their business on Balfour and move on to their next destination.

Trouble indeed: somebody has been aboard the ship. Somebody who had a key, which they ought not to have had, and by the signs is a Scout. (Or an ex-Scout? I continue to cast suspicious looks in a very particular direction.)

Jethri’s meeting with the memorable Mr Dorster has turned up more of Iza’s neglect: basic documents and proofs of identity never completed or filed.

The Scout is also interested in the mysterious manifesto, “Arin’s Envidaria of the Seventeen Worlds”. As it is now too late to ask Freza more about it, Jethri merely tells him, truthfully but incompletely, that he never heard of it before today. The Seventeen Worlds are apparently a cluster of planets along the galatic arm where travel is unusually restricted by cosmic phenomena that are expected to last for the next few centuries; if Arin was taking the long view – and considering how old he probably was, it might not have seemed as long as all that – the Envidaria may involve a plan for how things will shift when the cosmic phenomena get out of the way. (And although “the next few centuries” is a pretty vague timespan, I can’t help noting that one plausible interpretation of a few centuries on from this novel puts us right about the time the next Liaden novel is due to be set…)

And now they are off to Vincza, where the Scout has hope for finding something and Jethri has been invited to a regional trade meeting (run by the Carresens Coordinating Committee, a name which rings a distinct bell: the Carresens are still trading in one of the later novels, and I seem to remember one of them mentioning Arin in a historical context, though I don’t recall what is said).

I wonder if Freza’s ship will also be attending the trade meeting. Not just because of the several reasons Jethri has for wanting to see her again, but also because the meeting’s being held in the system where they had their last, ill-fated meeting, and it would be kind of appropriate for it also to be the location of their next meeting, where hopefully they will fare better.

Trade Secret – Chapter 9

Flight Deck, Gobelyn’s Market, Raising Serconia Three

In which the First Mate and the Senior Trader talk about the future and the past.

So Iza’s always known Jethri wasn’t hers – Arin showed up with the infant Jethri one day, at the end of a long trip away, and talked Iza into accepting him as a Gobelyn. (That’s a clarification I’m right glad to have, considering where my train of thought was ending up on the back of the information we’d previously had.) So then she had to work with the apparent implication of Arin acquiring a son somewhere without her involvement, and then the less apparent but more unsettling creeping realisation that Jethri was all Arin’s, all the more unsettling set aside the growing realisation that she knew much less about Arin than she’d thought she did.

Paitor mentions that they found out Arin had had other children before he met Iza. I wonder if we’re going to meet any of them this trip – and I wonder if any of them have the same “family resemblance” as Jethri.

Speaking of family resemblances, Paitor says that there was a family resemblance between Arin and the Uncle, though he stops short of “twin”, which is what he says about Arin and Jethri, so I don’t know if he’s implying that he thinks that the Uncle is to Arin what Arin is to Jethri.

(I’ve actually been thinking that might be the case myself for a few weeks now, since the “Arin’s youngest brother” chapter of Balance of Trade, because it reminded me of the scene in Crystal Dragon where Cantra earns a sharp look from the Uncle by suggesting that Arin looks enough like him to be his brother. And it’s prompted me to finally get around to comparing the physical descriptions of Arin and his Uncle, which I hadn’t done before because they’re in separate books of the duology; I suspect now that that was deliberate, to avoid making it too obvious that Arin and his Uncle are both tall, lean, dark-haired and grey-eyed.)

(But here’s an odd thing: Grig’s Uncle Yuri is tall and lean, but contrariwise is grey-haired and dark-eyed.)

(And while we’re at it: Jethri’s father Arin, in the photocube from Balance of Trade, has hair described similarly to the earlier Arin’s but his eyes, like Jethri’s, are brown.)

In Paitor’s stories about the doing of the Tomas family, I see the seeds of several things that crop up in the novels featuring Theo. (And given the bit about the Uncle’s secret shipyard, I’m wondering if Bechimo is one of them.)

Trade Secret – Chapter 3

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, in Jump

In which Jethri reads his mail.

Maybe I just have a suspicious mind, but I do wonder if there was more than just unlucky timing to Dyk’s interruption of Jethri’s getting-to-know-you session, either on Dyk’s own part or on the part of the Captain.

I’d been meaning to keep an eye out for the first honest-to-goodness, undeniable cultural reference that shows that Terrans are from our planet Earth, but I may have let it slip by me. “Balrog” is surely one of those, anyway, even if it’s not the first.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Jethri as a possibility, but it seems plausible to me that the Scout’s desire to speak with Jethri Gobelyn rather than Jethri ven’Deelin means he’s made some discovery touching on Arin’s kin. If so, that could be good news or bad, and no way to tell until the Scout has had his say, and possibly not even then.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 6

Day 42
Standard Year 1118

Gobelyn’s Market

In which there are secrets in all families.

With Paitor and Grig wanting to let Jethri know a few things, there’s a lot of background filled in here, not all of which ends up being noticeably relevant in the rest of this novel.

Allowing for a bit of linguistic drift, it seems likely that the blusharie the three of them share is the same kind of drink as the blusherrie Niku and Friar Julian drink in celebration at the end of “Eleutherios”.

Speaking of things returning under new names, the fractins – the Fractional Mosaic Memory Modules – seem likely to be the same as the data-tiles that were all over the place in Crystal Dragon. (Interesting that we get more description of what they look like and what they’re made of in this book than we ever did in the one where they were all over the place. I suppose when they were all over the place, none of the viewpoint characters paid them much attention.) And the suggestion that within a few years something is going to start happening to them is one of those bits that isn’t picked up in this novel, but might be in the sequel.

I’m not sure what to make of the business about there possibly having been more than one Terra.