Mouse & Dragon (Liaden)
by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Review by Gayle Surrette
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439133811
Date: 01 June 2010 List Price $22.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Mouse & Dragon completes the story begun in Scout's Progress, where Daav yos'Phelium first met Aelliana Caylon. The story picks up essentially where the first one left off, as Daav makes arrangements to get clothes to Aelliana in the healer hall, and to pick her up when she is released. Aelliana is his lifemate and he intends to make an offer to her clan so that they can marry. However, even though her clan doesn't seem to care much for her, things do not go smoothly and there are many difficulties to overcome before they can finally be together.
I'm a big fan of the Liaden stories -- the background, culture, and politics of this universe are richly detailed and you find yourself immersed from the beginning of each story until you close the book. Mouse & Dragon is no exception, not for just the great writing, but for the characters that are central to the story, Daav yos'Philium and Aelliana Caylon. This story fills in the details of how these two people discovered each other, recognized their connection as lifemates, and then had to fight to gain the right to be together. Readers of the Liaden books have always known that Daav and Aelliana were lifemates and had a child, Val Con. However, we could only assume that after Scout's Progress things went smoothly and now we know they did not.
While they may recognize that they are each half of a wizard's match, they don't really know each other. Aelliana only knew Daav as an occasional worker at Binjali's Repair Shop. In fact, most of the problem was that she thought Daav could be hurt by her brother when in fact no one would mess with any member of clan Korval. Daav has responsibilities as Delm of one of the most powerful clan's on Liad. Aelliana, once she's aware of his standing in society, must deal with some of her own misgivings and begin to learn to deal with issues that had never been part of her education.
The writing is clear, vivid, spellbinding, as you would expect from Lee and Miller. More over they have given us the rest of the story of how these two people learned to live, love, and work together for the good of all the clan and to their own joy. They overcome many obstacles and support each other in their endeavors.
Readers will even learn just how Daav developed scholar Jen Sar Kaladi. If you've read Fledgling and Saltation, you've probably also wondered just how this persona could have enough of a background of publications and teaching credentials to be hired at Delgado. I know I did. Now we know.
In the most recent Liaden books, Lee and Miller have been responding to their fans and filling in the gaps that have huge questions marks as to how did they get from here to there. Finally, they've satisfied our curiosity and left many areas where they could fill in with other adventures shared by Aelliana and Daav.
If you're a fan of the Liaden series, you'll definitely want to pick this book up to add to your collection. If you've wondered what all the fuss is about, give it a try, it can be read as a stand alone but would make more sense if you read Scout's Progress first.