Dragon in Exile (Liaden UniverseŽ)
by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Gayle Surrette
Baen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476781679
Date: 24 May 2016 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
[Editor's Note: This review originally ran in our September 2015 issue.]
Clan Korval defended themselves against the Department of Interior and, for their efforts, had their contract with Liad revoked. They were then banished from Liad with only what they could carry with them. Surprisingly, with the help of a clan of turtles related to Val Con yos'Phelium, that meant they could take the clan house and the tree with them along with their contents to the planet Surebleak.
Dragon in Exile is about the clan settling in on Surebleak. Pat Rin yos'Phelium, known as Boss Conrad on Surebleak, set up the world as a base of operations for the clan when he thought that he was the only one left and planned his balance. Now that the rest of the clan has arrived along with many Scouts and a goodly number of Liadens, Surebleak is in upheaval as society changes and transforms with the influx of immigrants, trade, and actual policing and law.
Basically the book brings readers up to date on a number of characters and plot threads that have been mentioned in past novels but not fully resolved or dealt with satisfactorily. They do this by cleverly cycling around through the various story lines, slowly bringing readers up to date on events that are, I believe, going to be important in later books. About the only person not dealt with is Theo Waitely and her ship and crew.
As we cycle through the various story threads, we learn a bit about how those left on Liad feel about Korval and, as usual, they no more understand the clan now that they are removed from Liad than they did when they were on the planet. The Kompani are getting more and more involved with Korval as time passes. This thread is developing nicely and will make for some interesting future stories. Jeeves has sent his daughter to deal with a problem left over from one of Theo's adventures and in the process pull a couple of new characters into this adventure.
There's some movement also in breaking the training of those working for the Department of Interior (DoI), an agency that still wishes to destroy Korval, without fully understanding the clan they wish to destroy. This is all very logical and well developed but, to those who have read the entire series, the disconnect between the DoI version of the world and the actual version of things as they are is interesting in all the meanings of that word.
Dragon in Exile is too complex to go into detail but interesting to read and even re-read as there is so much going on and so many levels being moved forward. It stands on its own but, having read some of the other books in the series, will add more depth.
Really looking forward to the next adventure.