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Eidolon (Adventures in the Liaden Universe, Volume14) by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Cover Artist: Design: Richard Horn; Image: Jupiter Media
Review by Gayle Surrette
SRM Publisher, Ltd. Pamphlet  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781935224006
Date: Undefined 2008

Links: SRM Publishers, Ltd. / Show Official Info /

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller created a rich, multi-layered, coherent society and culture when they wrote the Liaden Universe series. It's been too long since the last book, but luckily there's been a series of chapbooks of which Eidolon: Adventures in the Liaden Universe #14 is the latest publications. Eidolon has two new short stories "Shadow Partner" and "Persistence". As you'd expect from the name, "Shadow Partner" gives us a bit more of the early life of Val Con yos'Phelium. On the other hand, "Persistence" explains how Boss Conrad managed to acquire a certain item that played a part in his entering into the society, such as it was, of Surebleak.

More Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Adventures in the Liaden Universe:
Allies (#12)
Dragon Tide (#13)

Liaden Universe® Companion Volume 2

In "Shadow Partner", Ceola and her sister Min own and operate The Friendly Glass, a bar in Mid-Port. Actually, Ceola runs the bar and Min does most of the bills as the older of the two and hence the leader of their family. The bar barely makes ends meet and since it's only the two of them, it puts a lot of stress on Ceola when her sister disappears after telling her to make excuses to Shadow as she's tired of him. Ceola does as she's told and tries to manage but nothing can stop Shadow when he feels he's needed and Ceola obviously needs help. Lee and Miller excel at setting the mood, making the incidents seem so real that it is as if you're watching a video rather than reading a short story. With misdirection and innuendo they lead the reader on a merry chase as we watch the changes that occur when the dragon takes an interest. An excellent story of honor and growth.

"Persistence" takes place between Plan B and I Dare. Beba works in the Bazaar for Derry Caratunk in Caratunk Carpeting. This worked out well for her because she had her own carpet to sell even though Derry continued to harp on how her carpet detracted from the business. This only became a problem because he always hoped for a buyout. Joshu, who shared Beba life, worked well with her and they were happy together but concerned by the new rules continually coming down from the management and the government. Beba had a bit of talent and, while she hid it well, one day it just might come out. Unexpectedly a buyer appears in their showroom with bodyguards. This buyer also appears to know what he wants and how to identify quality. The buyer, Conrad, just might be their chance to change their luck.

As usual the writing is excellent. I doubt if there are any better writers out there than Lee and Miller. Their touch is light and the writing so smooth that you're pulled in and totally immersed in the story within paragraphs, which is especially difficult with a short story. Perhaps it's because I'm also a fan of the Liaden Universe and interested in these stories that fill in the gaps between the books, but personally, I think it's because of the excellent storytelling skills of the authors.

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