Tag Archives: Valcon Berant’a

Due Diligence – Epilog

In which Fer Gun visits a friend.

I’ve enjoyed this story a lot. Without wishing to slight any of the others, it’s definitely my favourite Liaden story of recent years.
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Due Diligence – Chapter 8

In which Chi yos’Phelium’s son is born.

Good morning, Daav. Welcome to the world. It’s going to have its ups and its downs, but that’s life for you, I’m afraid.
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Due Diligence – Chapter 4

In which Fer Gun pen’Uldra gets married.

And so here is the context for the things that had puzzled me about Chi’s behaviour.
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Alliance of Equals – Chapter 30

Langlastport

In which the results of recent efforts are considered.

Well, I was right about the Terran expert. I like the little bits with Admiral Bunter applying his lessons in how to express his feelings through how he speaks. I’m not surprised Inki set a core mandate — in the circumstances, it’s a reasonable precaution for her to take — but it’s going to make Tolly’s task harder (which is of course why it’s a reasonable precaution for her to take).

I am still finding the repeated reassurances regarding Padi’s situation to be the opposite of reassuring. We’re about due for a dramatic climax, and a big bust-out would provide that nicely. I assume something’s going to come up that pushes things over the edge; my money’s currently on Broker Plishet upgrading himself from ‘nuisance’ to ‘threat’ (though I still don’t know what his deal is), with a side bet on the customs inspection turning out to have some sinister connection after all.

I notice we haven’t heard much from Daav and Aelliana lately. Are they actually going to get involved in either of the main plots at any point? Well, the best way to find out is to read on, so I’ll do that.

Skyblaze

In which Vertu dea’San decides that somebody ought to do something.

This story is, among other things, a valuable reminder that while Korval were happy enough to be thrown off Liad for their part in the Battle of Solcintra, there are others served similarly for whom it might not be so pleasant.

Reading a story featuring “galan’ranubiet” (Treasure of the House) and “galandaria” (compatriot), I find myself wondering after the meaning of “yos’Galan”.

I said a few days ago I was going to have something more to say about taxis. The bulk of this story takes place at a time when there’s only one licensed taxi driver in Surebleak Port City, and even at the end of the story the number has only grown to three, with some consideration being given to a fourth. That sets it before the climactic sequence of Necessity’s Child, which contains at least three active taxis and likely more.

(So why have I scheduled it after? We’ll come back to that.)

Now let us consider the other major indicator of when it’s set: the passing of the seasons. The main section of the story takes place in local winter, at some point after Korval came to settle on Surebleak, with the last section taking place early in the following spring. That’s straightforward enough.

Now we have two choices:

Ghost Ship tells us that Korval settled on Surebleak before winter turned to spring, that Theo’s visit occurred during late spring (this point is made on multiple occasions), and that the event which kicks off the plot of Necessity’s Child occurred a few weeks before the onset of summer. This seems to fit: Vertu arrives during Korval’s first winter, joins Jemie in the taxi business, and they spend the spring building up the business to a point that will account for the flock of taxis bringing people to the new school when it opens in early summer. The bit near the end of this story, with Vertu and Jemie in early spring considering diversifying into the ground-courier business, meshes nicely with Jemie’s cameo in Ghost Ship, in late spring, delivering a courier message.

However. Necessity’s Child itself claims to begin in late winter, which would put the school opening in early spring, and allow little if any time for the building of the taxi fleet.

After due consideration, I have decided I prefer the timeline suggested by Ghost Ship, and not just because it’s more insistent about it. (Ghost Ship, as I said, mentions the season repeatedly, while the beginning of Necessity’s Child does so only once – and, for that matter, the school opening scene has a mention of how warm the day is, which might be taken to mean that even the end of Necessity’s Child disagrees with the beginning about what time of year it is.)

There are still a couple of more short stories and a novel set on Surebleak which I haven’t read yet because they all came out after I began the re-read; I’ll be interested to see when they claim to be set.

(When I was scheduling the re-read, the one detail I remembered from all this confusion was that Ghost Ship was set in spring, but I forgot that it said Korval had been there since winter, so I thought Vertu’s first winter on Surebleak must be after both Ghost Ship and Necessity’s Child, and scheduled “Skyblaze” accordingly. If I were doing it now, I would definitely put “Skyblaze” before Necessity’s Child.)


Tomorrow: “Roving Gambler”, one of those stories set on Surebleak that I haven’t read yet.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 27

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which preparations are made for dinner.

The scene where Val Con drives Theo to Jelaza Kazone echoes scenes from earlier books, among them Er Thom driving Anne and Daav driving Aelliana. The similarities, of course, highlight the differences – such as the considerably less accommodating road.

(I’m not entirely sure about the idea of building a bridge over the worst stretch of road to save the Bosses risking their cars on it: how if someone were to destroy the bridge and trap everyone at the wrong end of the Road? But then Miri does say someone will be keeping an eye on the bridge; I suppose somebody would be keeping an eye on that stretch of road in any case.)

I’m not sure Val Con isn’t sending Theo into battle insufficiently armed, by telling her the dress code is “informal” and not telling her what that really means. On the other hand, given that there’s not enough space left in the schedule to dig stuff out of house stores, and that therefore Theo is going to have to go in what she’s got anyhow, maybe telling her would only give her an extra half hour of worrying about not measuring up, with nothing useful to be done about it.

Moon on the Hills

Surebleak

In which Korval acquires a new neighbour.

It’s an evocative name, “World’s End”. There’s the obvious sense in which the place is named, referring to a physical boundary, a place where the world comes to an end, but there are other things it could mean, such as a temporal boundary, a time when a world comes to an end. Sometimes a person’s world can come to an end even though the planet continues untouched. Yulie’s world might have ended when he lost the last of his kin. It might have ended today, if Boss Conrad had been someone other than the person he is.

(And isn’t it interesting how, when he’s talking to Yulie, he’s mostly Pat Rin but sometimes he’s Boss Conrad for a moment or two?)

It’s also interesting to speculate how things might have gone differently if Yulie’s brother hadn’t got himself killed before Boss Conrad showed up, and had been the one handling the negotiation for road access.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 3

Jelaza Kazone
Liad

In which Delm Korval considers Theo’s problem.

Not sure what to make of Theo thinking that Val Con looks familiar for some reason other than resembling their father. She hasn’t met any of the other relatives yet, and I’m pretty sure she’s never seen his mother — or has she? They talked about the Caylon at the Academy, but I don’t remember if it was ever mentioned them having pictures of her. (And of course if that’s it Theo wouldn’t be able to place the resemblance, because nobody’s mentioned to her who Val Con’s mother is.)

As for her assessment of Val Con as biddable and lacking in spark, it’s a choice between politely suppressed laughter and a wide-eyed Bugs Bunny “She don’t know him very well, do she?”

Until Val Con mentioned it, I don’t think I’d thought about the fact that Korval doesn’t just have its house and Tree to get off-planet, but all of the many ships it’s collected over the years (those that aren’t elsewhere already). I suppose it will have to allow its several shipyards to be seized – unless they’ve already been sold off or otherwise passed into other hands – but Korval never leaves a ship behind.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 2

Jelaza Kazone
Liad

In which Theo is introduced to her father’s family, and vice versa.

It is a tricky situation that Daav’s got himself in, regarding explaining himself to Kamele. The basic principle that he had kin in need of assistance is straightforward enough, but necessarily leads to questions like “Who are these kin?” and “Why have you never mentioned them before?” and, sooner or later, “But if your name is actually Daav yos’Phelium…”

Also, while I think Kamele would take the news that her onagrata had been married before at least as clear-headedly as Theo, things might get very awkward if she asked how the marriage had ended and where Aelliana is now and Daav felt obliged to answer honestly.

It’s interesting to compare Theo’s situation to Shan’s when the clan first became aware of him. Shan was rapidly enfolded in the clan, but that was because his mother had already declared him to be part of the clan by naming him yos’Galan; everything that followed was just sorting out the details. Theo is a Waitley, born under an arrangement that’s comparable in the relevant areas to a Liaden contract marriage with the offspring going to the mother’s clan, and her father has been making a point of not claiming any connection to Korval for himself let alone for her. It’s possible she could join Clan Korval at some future point, if it seemed like a good idea for all concerned (a collection of people including not only herself, her father and Delm Korval, but also her mother – which would entail the aftorementioned tricky explanations), but it’s not going to happen automatically just because her father has returned to his clan.

I like the detail that Merlin, who is usually referred to with male pronouns by those who know him best, gets female pronouns in the scene told from Theo’s viewpoint, because Theo’s from Delgado where female is the default gender.

Saltation – Chapter 42 & I Dare – Chapter 58

Day 201
Standard Year 1393
Solcintra
Liad

In which Theo brings her business to the Delm of Korval.

The fact that it’s Clonak on the gate leads me to wonder whether he recognised a family resemblance in Theo, and that formed part of his decision to let her in. He did, after all, know her father well and for many years.

Speaking of family resemblances, Theo’s first words on being reunited with her father are exactly the same as Val Con’s.

There’s apparently been some disagreement among readers about the way I Dare ends, so for the record I personally found it a perfect and delightful note on which to end the Agent of Change series, and would have thought myself entirely satisfied if that had been the last we ever heard of Liadens. (Though I am, of course, glad now that it wasn’t.) To me, it didn’t come across as a loose end, but as a reminder that even with the Department defeated, the wide universe still contains new discoveries and new adventures, and the children of Korval are not the kind to live quietly ever after.


Tomorrow: New adventure.