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4.0 out of 5 starsJolly good fun.
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2016
Excellent romp of old fashioned space opera with a faint touch of soap opera thrown in. A welcome difference from military scifi, with more emphasis on relationships. I enjoyed the world building on Vandar, and the background on Liad, its clans and ministry. The relationship between the Liaden and Terran protagonists is nicely handled. Flaws begin to appear in the Liaden superman and our Terran merc continues to be gritty wilful and courageous despite her size. Her snarky speech is nicely handled and is a wondrful counterpoint to Liaden manners. The soldier and the scout/spy are well distinguished. My tastes run to Andre Norton and C.J. Cherryh and there were touches of many things I like.
Carpe Diem continues the story of Miri Robertson and Val Con yos’Phelium after the previous novel Agent of Change. Agent of Change was a novel with not much action. But in the end it became exiting when Miri and Val Con escaped their persecutors. I expected that the action would continue in Carpe Diem, but no. They land on a distant planet and then the first half of the book unfolds like some kind of holiday romance with endless descriptions of simple things like drinking coffee, buying clothes and so on. The second half of the book has more action with several people trying to locate Miri and Val Con either to take revenge or to rescue them. But it was not enough to give me any sense of wonder.
Carpe Diem (1989) is the third SF novel in the Liaden Universe series, following
Conflict of Honors
. By internal chronology, however, it is a direct sequel to
Agent of Change
. This story takes place later than most other volumes in the sequence.
In the previous volume, Edger convinced Justin to call off his Juntavas thugs. Borg got the message just in time to save Val Con. They freed the Liaden and the mercenary and gave them the yacht.
Unfortunately, the yacht had been damaged and the coils were good only for one jaunt. Then the Yxtrang returned to collect the ship. So Val Con tricked the Yxtrang commander and left them behind with a badly damaged ship.
In this novel, Val Con yos'Phelium is a Liaden. He had been a First-in Scout, but now is a spy for the Department of the Interior. He is married to Miri and is also the Delm of Clan Korval.
Miri Robertson is a Terran. She had been a mercenary, serving with the Gyrfalks. Then she left to become a bodyguard. Now she is married to Val Con and stranded near an interdicted world.
Twelfth Shell Fifth Hatched Knife Clan of Middle River's Spring Spawn of Farmer Greentrees of The Spearmakers Den, The Edger is a Clutch. He is about seven hundred years old and is a T'carais of his people. Val Con is the adopted and younger brother of Edger.
Shan yos'Galan is a Liaden. He is Theodelm of Line Galan and nadelm of Clan Korval, a Master Trader, and Captain of the Liaden ship Dutiful Passage. He is lifemates with Priscilla Delacroix y Mendoza, a Terran and a very powerful witch.
Nova yos'Galan is a Liaden. She is Shan's sister and Val Con's cousin. She is also First Speaker of Clan Korval.
Anthora yos'Galan is the younger sister of Shan and Nova. She is also the most powerful dramliz -- wizard -- on Liad.
Zhenu Estra Trelu is a native of Vandar, an interdicted world. She is a widow and her children have left home. The farm is showing signs of poor maintenance.
In this story, Val Con builds a topological model of the interdicted planet to choose a place to land. They decide to set down among large rocks in a northern mountainous region near a small town. Getting the damaged ship safely to the surface is tricky, but not too much for a First-In Scout.
After the landing, they hike toward the town. Miri has never before seen a town so small. Even the towns she has fought through were larger than this town. They soon find a farm outside the town and manage to get fed without either side understanding a word that the other was saying.
The first word Miri and Val Con learn is "Borril", the name of the farm watchdog. The second word Val Con learns is "sit". Then they learn the term "Zhenu Trelu" -- which they reckon is the woman's name -- and they state their own names. Val Con's name becomes Corvill and is soon shorten to Cory. Miri becomes Meri.
The pair settle in and start fixing things around the house and doing the chores. Val Con fixes the toaster and Estra steers him toward the carpet sweeper. Miri washes lots of dishes and starts bringing in the eggs.
Miri has some problems with the language. One day, the difficulties drive her out of the house to sit down and cool off. Van Con discusses her problems and then begins teaching her some Scout tricks.
Meanwhile, Nova discovers that Val Con is missing. Edger sends her a message about the Juntavas and the missing Clutch ship. When she contacts Scouts Headquarters, Nova learns that Val Con is on detached duty with the Department of the Interior. And Interior refuses to answer her questions.
Shan suggests that they consult Anthora. When asked if Val Con is alive, Annie immediately answers in the affirmative. When asked where he is, she takes a minute and then points in a direction. Later, Shan learns that Priscilla also can point toward Val Con.
This tale brings Clan Korval -- and the Scouts -- into a confrontation with the Department of the Interior. Within the Dutiful Passage, Shan and Priscilla are following her mental link toward Val Con. Edger's negotiations with the Juntavas reach a higher level. And Interior sends another agent to track down Val Con.
This story leaves Clan Korval and their allies in a mess. The next installment in this sequence is
. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Lee & Miller fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interstellar adventure, cultural conflicts, and true romance.
4.0 out of 5 starsA book that made me happy to read it.
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2017
This novel takes place within the authors' Liaden Universe. It is a direct sequel to "Agent of Change," as well as featuring characters from "Conflict of Honors." The characters and warmth of the story are very appealing to me. The good guys get into difficulty, and then other good people help them out. There are also generous doses of action, romance, and humor. It is not innovative science fiction (though it does include excellent turtle aliens). It is not high literature. Better than either of those, it is a book that made me happy as I read it.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Liaden Universe is fully, and richly, detailed! I recommend the entire series!!!
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2016
I love the Liaden Universe books, and to date, have not read one that I haven't enjoyed. This particular book is part of a story arc that starts with Agent of Change, followed by Carpe Diem. The other (following) books in this arc are Plan B, I Dare, and Dragon in Exile. I recommend that you read them in the order listed, as each one is a direct sequel to the previous book.
4.0 out of 5 starsInteresting but not as captivating as previous book in series.
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2017
Loved it all, even though it followed some pretty well-trodden paths. But the ending ruined it: who would leave such a rude message for the person who basically became a second "mother." Just because she was brusque and prickly herself doesn't change the fact that it is obvious she grew to love them!
4.0 out of 5 starsGood read. Furthers the development of Val Con yos'Phelium of clan Korval
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2017
Continuing flight of Val Con and Miri to a primitive world where they try to blend in with the locals. Hunted by an assassin the couple make a place in a world that is not their own. Their pasts come back to haunt them, as their kin try to find them.
I really enjoyed this book. As a series I'm finding it a bit hit and miss, but this book worked for me as a follow on from Agent of Change. Val Con and Miri are stranded on a 'backward' planet and have to find a way to fit in. With no expectation of ever being able to leave, they set up a new life. Of course that isn't the end of the story. I loved the characters - not just Val Con and Miri, but also Hakan and Kem - and I liked the way the futuristic and the fantastic are blended with the more mundane.