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Among my favorite authors are Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Their first three novels, Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem were released in paperback form in the last 80s, which is when I purchased my copies. While other books have been placed and then removed from my bookshelves, these books have remained among my favorites. The characters are familiar friends and I always reconnect to them with pleasure.
After these novels were published, Lee and Miller were dropped by the Del Rey after they were asked to write books according to someone else' formula and they declined. It was a loss for their fans and their books fell out of print. Fortunately, Meisha Merlin picked up their catalog in the late 90s and started publishing new novels from them as well. Now, they are being published by Baen. As new readers pick up their novels, they need to realize that the writing is not consistent through their oeuvre, a fault that may be due to different editors. Consequently, I recommend that readers begin with the first three novels published and continue with the books in the order published instead of following the space opera's chronological order. Don't abandon the series because one or two novels aren't as good as the others. This is space opera at its finest and I highly recommend the series.
As for the audio versions, some of these novels were previously recorded and released as audiobooks. Of these, only one, Local Custom, was released by Audible. Now many of the older novels have be rerecorded as the new ones have been recorded and the sound quality is much better. The narrator Andy Caploe does deliver in terms of delivering some of the subtleties of Lee and Miller's writing style. The best narrators tell the story as if they are sitting around the kitchen table talking to you personally. Unfortunately, Andy Caploe delivers the narration in this novel with a slow weightiness that tends to weary and he doesn't do well with the women's' voices. Every word does not need to be treated as if it is the most important word in the world. And while he does a fairly good job with Val Con and Edger's voices, he fails completely with Miri's voice. She comes off not as a young, strong, smart woman, but as a whiny, old woman from New York who smokes and whose voice is lower than a mans. It is a complete miss in terms of representing her character.
27 of 28 people found this review helpful
I love Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books and was looking for more character-based space opera, and this did the trick. The action was fast, the dialogue fun and snappy, and the characters deep. Val Con's inner struggle was gut-wrenching, and the love story between him and Miri was one of the best I've seen in science fiction. I loved the comedy of manners aspect mixed with a strange world that felt vast and full of history, even though the book wasn't very long.
Narrator Andy Caploe did a good job, though the narration was a bit over-stressed at times. But I liked his Clutch Turtles!
I definitely look forward to reading more Liaden.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful