"Two novels set in the Liaden Universe whose society invokes the air of a Regency"

Pilot's Choice contains two novels set in the Liaden Universe. Liad is a planet inhabited by a race who is slightly smaller in stature than humans and far more concerned with social customs and what they call melant'i, which is one proper code of conduct for the societal role in which one is currently acting.

In the first novel, Local Custom, Master Trader Er Thom yos'Galan has been ordered to choose a wife, but he has a serious problem: he is in love with a human woman whom he met on a trading expedition. Most Liadens believe humans are beneath them, and a Liaden of good birth would never sink so low as to marry a human. Er Thom knows he should put the woman from his mind, but instead, he goes in search of her, thinking that if he sees her one more time, he will be able to say good-bye and do his duty to his family. But complications arise, and Er Thom has to choose between following his heart and following duty.

In the second novel, Scout's Progress, a young math genius, Aelliana Caylon, decides to escape from Liad and her abusive brother who plans to use her to gain power for himself by taking a pilot's license and earning her passage off world. After winning a ship in a game of chance, she must to learn to fly, and one of her instructors is Er Thom's cousin and cha'leket (heart brother), Daav yos'Phelium. Daav, as Delm (or clan leader) of the powerful Clan Korval, is in a position to help Aelliana escape from her brother's clutches, except for one problem: she is unaware of his identity. As the two grow closer, her brother's schemes and Daav's duty to marry and produce an heir threaten to pull them apart.

The details such as language and descriptions of complicated social customs that the authors included in the portrayal of Liaden society give it such an authentic feel that I am surprised I can't actually travel to Liad. Excellent character development is another strong point in both novels. As each one came to an end, I found myself wishing I didn't have to say goodbye to the fascinating personalities that I had gotten to know.

My husband was thoroughly convinced that I would love this book so when I said it would be awhile before I got to it, he decided to read it aloud to me. I was skeptical, because I do not usually read sci-fi, but he was right: I thought it was wonderful. The emphasis on manners and proper conduct in Liaden society invokes the air of Regency. In their introduction, the authors cite Georgette Heyer as one of their inspirations, and I think anyone who enjoys Heyer, Austen or other books written in a similar style should try Pilot's Choice.

Sarah Neal Copyright 2002
Reviewed for PNR Reviews

Reviewed by Sarah Neal
Posted February 9, 2002


Pilots Choice
(Liaden Universe)
by Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

Meisha Merlin
February 1, 2001
ISBN #1892065029
560 pages
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Other Books by
Sharon Lee

Sword of Orion
Balance of Trade
Low Port
Scout's Progress
Local Custom

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