Summer this year has interrupted the normal flow of things here at The Nifty Tech Blog. While we haven’t been giving you the normal flow of content, that doesn’t mean that we have been completely idle. Unfortunately, we have put a bit of time into researching some tech that didn’t measure up to or standards, but really wasn’t bad enough to rant about. And Scott and I have both had work and family issues to deal with. But sometimes you come across something that is review-worthy even when you’re not looking for it. In this case, I feel like I just have to share some of my summertime reading with you. I recently finished reading Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. This is one of their Liaden Universe novels and it holds a special place in the collection. It is the third book in one series and the 8th book in another series, and… it’s kind of complicated.
Ghost Ship is the sequel to Fledgling, and Saltation, and it continues the story of Theo Waitley, young Jump Pilot, Starship Courier, and Advertent Student, as she finds herself with a rather tangled problem. Theo has been given a key to one of the most sought after space ships in the galaxy. Sought after mostly because it was lost right after it came online. This ship is now stalking her, with one purpose on it’s electronic mind: to bring her aboard… and have her take her rightful place as Captain. Of course, there are problems with that. Her sometime boyfriend Liaden Scout Win Ton yo’Vala found the ship and sent her the Captain’s key. He has the Co-Pilot’s key, but he was captured by the Department of the Interior and tortured in an attempt to get him to turn over the ship and the Captain’s key. Win Ton escaped, but he has been poisoned, and the only technology than can save him is on the ship.
In over her head, Theo follows some old advice from her father and goes to Liad and puts her problem before the Delm of Clan Korval, the head of one of the most powerful Clan on the entire world! Doing this, she discovers a few things: Korval is battling the same Department of the Interior, The Clan just got kicked off of the planet for using the planetary defense grid to take out the Department’s Headquarters (Oops! OK, not really sorry for that. Necessity.), and the Delm Korval? He just happens to be her half-brother Val Con yos’Phelium.
Don’t be. The confusion is in my summing up, not in the writing. And in the fact that Ghost Ship joins the Theo Waitley series with the Agent of Change series also by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. That series starts with Agent of Change and up until this month concluded with the 7th book, I Dare. Those books follow Clan Korval’s stuggles with the Department of the Interior in their attempt to covertly take over the planet Liad and wipe out the unwanted Terran influence. The Department sees Korval as an unbalancing influence and seeks to remove them. Bad move.
Honestly, all of these books are great, even the other Agent of Change books that I haven’t listed and a few more Liaden Universe novels that are outside the two series. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller do a great job of creating real and intelligent characters. The Liaden culture is very intricate and well thought out, but easy to understand while reading. And the contrast between Liaden and Terran culture is fascinating, and frequently underlines how cultural misunderstandings lead to miscommunications in so many different ways. Lee and Miller set a stage to a world that is both familiar and unique at the same time. These really are books that you can’t put down. You’ll read them in record time because you just have to know what happens next, and they leave you still wanting more. I have to say that in my opinion these books are the best of Space Opera as a genre. I finished Ghost Ship in a weekend, then handed it to my wife who consumed its 300+ pages in a day.
I shan’t spoil the book for you, but encourage you to pick up the Theo Waitley trilogy for yourself. Until the next book. For the authors, I bow in the mode of Grateful Audience to Master Artisan.