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Ghost Ship (Liaden Universe) by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Cover Artist: David Mattingly
Review by Paul Haggerty
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439134559
Date: 02 August 2011 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Sharon Lee's Blog / Korval's Website / Show Official Info /

Ghost Ship is the third volume in the coming of age story of Theo Waitley, a young girl from the scholarly planet of Delgado, who has now become a competent adult, and First Class Pilot, and is trying to make her own way in the galaxy. It is also the follow-on to the long running saga of Clan Korval, of the planet Liad, last seen in I Dare being exiled from their planet. Now in Ghost Ship these two tracks of the Liaden Universe are set to collide.

Theo has known for some time that her father, Jen Sar Kiladi, is also Daav yos'Phelium, she has no real idea of just what that means in the larger context. Korval has lots of enemies, enemies like the Department of the Interior, which Theo knows nothing about. But they know about her and, being the paranoids that they are, assume that Theo is an active player in the long running game.

While Clan Korval has lots of things on their plate, like moving everything they own to a new planet and trying to establish a place in the local hierarchy, Theo is fully involved with her own life and troubles. She's working for The Uncle, running errands that most likely wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny by law enforcement. And there's the ghost ship itself, Bechimo, which is still trying to track her down following her acceptance of the Captain's Key. Bechimo is critical to Theo, because it is probably the sole means of survival of her lover, Win Ton yo'Vala, previously captured and tortured by the Department of the Interior.

So while Korval is up to its old tricks, always in danger, but at least knowing how to respond to it, Theo just keeps trying to do her job, not understanding why she's being stalked, or who she can trust. Meanwhile Bechimo, after finally making contact with Theo, who is not exactly the captain he was expecting, is laboring under the restrictions of behavioral guidelines and contact lists, provided by his long ago builders, specifying who he can trust, and who he is forbidden to trust. The latter list being considerably longer. Korval, while not exactly forbidden, isn't exactly on the trust list either.

The Department of the Interior, sore losers that they are, have several new plans for destroying Korval. And though greatly weakened after the events of I Dare, they still have enough agents left to attempt to cause death and destruction to those that oppose them. To make matters more complex, there's the problem of Kamele Waitley, Theo's mother on Delgado. Daav yos'Phelium may have tried to place Jen Sar Kiladi, and his life with Kamele, behind him as he reintegrates back into life in Korval, but Kamele isn't the kind of person to just let her lover vanish without a word. All that can be said for certain is that Daav's life will not be growing any less complicated any time soon.

If you've been a fan of Lee and Miller's Liaden Universe, you're going to love this new volume, although I should warn you that you'll be biting your nails in places. While it's great to get to revisit old friends and familiar haunts, beloved characters are put in harms way, and there's no guarantees of anyone's safety. And while I certainly didn't like everything that happened the mark of a good book ... the ending has me looking forward to Dragon Ship, due out sometime in 2012.

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