Wanted to sneak this in before I get buried for the day again.
If you have not experienced the thrill and excitement of any Liaden Books written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, you don’t know what you are missing. These two have a wonderful universe they have created. You can read their books in any order, though it does have an internal chronology. The series focuses on one family and clan, the trials and tribulations that haunts them because they have views just a little … different … than the society they are part of.
Starting with Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon the universe is created, and then explodes into action. A few stand alone books, such as Balance of Trade help to flesh out some of the odder points in the culture – at least how it relates among the three races present in the universe. But, for the most part, the books are enjoyable as they stand.
In Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon humanity, as it exists, is forced to do something extremely dangerous to just survive, and Clan Korval is founded. The foundation for just about every other book in the universe is provided, and you are introduced to the culture that can almost be considered a character in the novels in its own right.
Balance of Trade presents the specter of “you are not one of us, you are not as good as us” when a human boy is suddenly thrust into the Liaden culture. He eventually wins some level of acceptance, and then quietly fades out of sight. (I kind of hope he makes an appearance is another book, I think it would be interesting to see how he does, and to hear more of his tale.)
Starting with Trade Secret the books begin to focus on Clan Korval and the many disparate members, from their leadership to the children. Though many feel that having luck ride on your shoulder is a good thing, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller do a wonderful job in an often humorous manner to show that luck can be both good… and bad… to have.
Over the course of Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, Mouse and Dragon, Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, Carpe Diem, Plan B, I dare, and Necessity’s Child Clan Korval experiences enough good and bad luck that I often wish the characters could just have a single year of normality.
When disaster strikes the clan, causing the leadership to vanish – one dead, one … gone … a second story line is introduced. This story line flows through Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship, and Dragon Ship. In this story line, the focus pulls away from the Liadens, and focuses more heavily upon the humans.
The two story lines intersect, and a very humorous reunion occurs at the end of Ghost Ship and the opening of Necessity’s child. (Need to double check on this, so don’t quote me on it yet.) From this point forward, Korval is forced to leave their home, and reestablish their base of operations somewhere else.
I am sure there are many, many more books coming from these two authors, and I eagerly await my chance to read them. They also have many, many short stories, that help to flesh out even more of the universe. To date, these are on my “I want to read” list. I either have not had time or finances to chase down and bore through the words waiting my discovery. They will be read in time!
(edited to correct book titles)