Alliance of Equals Spoiler Discussion

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If you haven’t read Alliance, and don’t want the story spoiled:

20 thoughts on “Alliance of Equals Spoiler Discussion”

  1. Sigh on the edge of my seat. What happens next? Trolly, the Admiral , Haz. I am can’t help thinking what next.

  2. Life has been busy-I totally forgot and missed release day, but caught the announcement at 10:30pm eastern on the 6th. A half hour of wrestling with the Baen ebooks site later, I softly cheered to my husband in the bed beside me. His response? “I’ll see you in 3 days.” “HA!” I returned, “Fat chance.” And here I sit, less than 5 hours later, having completed the story in one enormous gulp.

    Besides my pleasure at coming to know Padi and at her acceptance of her nature, I think my favorite part is the Tree’s confounding of Uncle. I often find him too smug in his role of everlasting Puppetmaster and was really entertained at his annoyance. I am also pleased at Shan’s growing relationship with Lute (I *really* like Lute and would love to read more of his historical stories). At present I find I am fearful for Tochol…and intrigued by the knotty problem set Tolly, Haz and the Admiral.

    Sigh. Another year before I learn more of my Korval family. And I must admit to severe curiosity at just WHAT is going on with Theo and Cantra’s ship….

  3. One problem I have with the book, really the only true problem, is that for someone so young, Tochol seems to know a lot of stuff, and have quite a few contacts. I mean, it’s only been a couple of months since Jeeves “birthed” her (well, ok. Since he asked Korval if he could….which could be an instance of bringing something he’d already done into alignment with the boss), yet she’s already heard rumors of an Ancient awakening, and has all sorts of contacts that Jeeves doesn’t know, and is playing a long game of her own. Just…sits oddly.

    And I agree – much to long to get back to Spiral Dance!

  4. Tochol was birthed with almost almost all Jeeve’s knowledge, ‘cepting only security data pertinant to Korval so she does have all the info you find strange. So she isn’t really a young child – only in terms of existance in the Liaden Universe

  5. I think the thing that most fascinates me is The Tree’s ability to re-write Aelliana’s entire genetic make-up in 6 hours.

    In fact The Tree in general fascinates me …
    The Uncle remembers the name of it’s species (Ssussdriad) and thinks that likely only he and Korval do; but I have to wonder if even Korval does. I don’t recall Jela ever indicating that he knew the name of the Tree’s species.

    It also occurs to me that although Cantra is credited as the founder of the the clan (which is true in a purely social sense, of course) the Tree is likely the true founder of Korval … I mean how likely is it that a genetically engineered soldier near the end of his life is going to be fertile without the Tree’s intervention? Given the probability that the answer is “not at all” and given that we know the tree manipulated Jela’s physical structure to extend his life, it seems logical to conclude that the firstborn of the clan was the direct and intended result of the Trees’s “meddling”.

    Now given that the tree has a remarkable ability to “see” the future and was arguably the “progenitor” of Korval, Korval’s influence in the universe, and the Luck … how likely is it that the Tree is a prime mover of the universe?

  6. A thought about Spiral Dance and Bechimo’s hidey-hole ….
    Clearly Bechimo is correct that the artifacts are originating in another universe, else how could the young tree be in the ship? And clearly in that universe Cantra didn’t escape with the Tree…. 🙁

  7. A thought about the Inki/Tochol adventure …. It seems most likely to me that Tochol has been kidnapped and probably subverted by Inki. It would be very much out of character for Tochol to abandon Haz without a word and Inki has the AI stunner.

    Which causes one to wonder WHY The Uncle, who is acknowledged a formidable player, and who has plans within plans, would do something so evidently foolish as to give such a potentially dangerous device into the keeping of an agent of the Lyre Institute, with whom, I expect, he is rarely in charity.

  8. @Duren
    I’m intrigued by this statement … (I *really* like Lute and would love to read more of his historical stories).

    Why do you assume that Lute is necessarily a historical incarnation? Healspace is outside of time and space, this manifestation of Lute could just as easily be a future incarnation of Shan, just as some other Lute is a prior incarnation. Considering the apparently quantum nature of universe, Lute could even be a “contemporary ” incarnation in a parallel universe.

    Of the entire interaction with Lute, the most fascinating thing surely is Lute’s assertion that once he was very nearly a god. We see Shan growing, changing, becoming more powerful, doing things beyond a “mere Healer”; as Edger suggests ” a blade to behold”. The Tree is taking a more direct hand in the ordering of the universe than we have previously been aware of. Maybe we are just seeing the beginning of Shan’s growth.
    Perhaps the incarnation that Lute is referring to is when he was Shan? Or perhaps not. 🙂

  9. If I recall correctly, when Cantra set Spiral Dancer lose to draw off the enemy that the Tree had contributed a seedling to make the Spiral Dancer even more enticing, and that this seedling was taped to one of the chairs on Dancer’s bridge. I’m pretty sure this is the tree that Theo and company found still on the bridge of Spiral Dancer when it arrived in the new universe. This would have been towards the end of Crystal Dragon.

    Also, I believe that when Cantra learned that she was pregnant (and she herself the product of a genetic engineering program and deliberately non-fertile) that she had surmised then that the Tree had been tinkering with both herself and Jela.

    I do very much like the idea of the Tree being one of the prime movers of the universe. At the very least the Tree is playing a very long game. Witness the number of Clan Korval members with some degree of dramliza talent: every yos’Galan of Shan’s generation, Val Con, Kareen apparently, Dav to some extent (his hiding in plain sight, for example), Theo (she can mimic Dav’s ability to hide, and she can discern piloting potential at a glance), and so far Padi and Syl Vor of the newest generation. Quin is a little older, and I don’t recall him exhibiting any dramliza talents so far. We’ve had glimpses of prior members of Korval who have had talent of some sort. If I recall Kareen and Kamele’s discussion in the Delm’s portrait room correctly, the Tree has had 80-some generations of Korval to meddle with.

    The Uncle seems to view himself as one of the other Prime movers. I wonder what the motivating force is behind the Department? I’m starting to suspect that an Old Tech AI of some sort is ultimately behind the Department and is working to allow the Enemy entry to the new universe, now that we’ve seen that there are still some things coming through from the old place. This idea of downloading the Commander of Agents into a succession of people could be an indicator, or it could be an example of someone else doing something close to what the Uncle is doing to preserve himself, but without the clone bodies.

    Anyway, I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment. Given what we’ve just see the Tree do with Aelliana, it looks like the Tree might be able to restore Win Ton’s pilot level reflexes, if his current clumsiness doesn’t turn out to be a temporary side affect of having his body remade. The healing unit on Spiral Dancer should also be up to the task as well (and much more).

    Speaking of Kamele, I’m really curious to see what happens with her when young Dav and Aelliana show up on Surebleak, and what happens when they bump into Theo.

    I think the Padi storyline is my favorite out of the new book, but I do wonder where Gordy is while the Passage is working on building a new route? Shouldn’t he be an active trader on the Passage now too, or has he finished his apprenticeship and is now on another Korval ship?

    Is it a coincidence that the Tree is starting to spread it’s seedlings around at just the time that the Delms Korval want the adults to work on filling the nursery? Make’s me wonder what is coming that will need so many Trees and Korval members to deal with it…

  10. I am pretty sure there is something in the second Crystal book which made it clear that Cantra recognised that the tree had made it possible her and Jela to concieve a child

  11. @Jeff

    I guess I need to go back and read the Crystal books … it’s been a while.

  12. @Gordon
    By “Lute’s historical series” I am referring to the 2 short stories in the Constellations books. These stories are written in a more historical tone/form, and give insight to a couple of his mortal iterations where he was known as Lute, the goddesses’ companion. Combined with what we know/suspect of his ancestor/previous incarnation from the Crystal books, I just find him very fascinating and would love more insight into his “lives.”

  13. @Jeff
    Yes, indeed like you, I am fretting for Win Ton-one never wishes to lose a pilot, and heartbreaking is the pilot who cannot fly. I had, however, lost track of Kamele in my worries over Daav and Aliana and have now added that to my list of frets. Given the flexibility they have both shown, I wonder if a poly living arrangement could be possible. Not sure Daav would cope, ‘tho.

    Given what we know of the trees, how long they were able to hold out against the enemy (essentially up through the present, really), I have no doubt it/they are a major force in the Galaxy. Interesting that I have no fear for their goals.

  14. Something that was ambiguous to me: Priscilla could See that a soul was waiting to be born into the world, and she seemed quite confident that this meant that she and Shan were going to have a child. But Lute’s keen interest in Padi (“the Maiden”) and the emergence of her powers made me wonder if Priscilla was wrong about the baby, and that her Seeing was really about Padi becoming the vessel of one of Moonhawk’s sister goddesses (i.e. Padi will turn out to be a Witch rather than a dramliza.) Any thoughts? I suppose it’s possible both things are true, of course.

    I also wondered about the very old intelligence that so interested Tocohl and Inki. I took it to be a reference to Spiral Dancer’s return, but I couldn’t recall whether Tocohl was “born” before or after Dancer reappeared. (Have to re-read!) Now I wonder if it’s a whole new plot thread.

    p.s. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one still deeply concerned about poor Win Ton! His fate has been up in the air for some time now. And when last we saw him, Theo seemed to be too distracted by Kara to spare much concern for his condition (ahem!)

  15. I started to say this in my review, but it didn’t come out quite right, so I will try again here. I love long, long story arcs like Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings, Jordan’s Wheel of Time, etc. I am so grateful that you give us these wondrously long story arcs in bite-sized chunks so I can have my predictable fix. I must confess I stopped reading Game of Thrones after the third book, but I support GRRM’s efforts to keep on with the story. I can only imagine how much more difficult his job is with these great-sized chunks of story. I feel that, of course, each writer to their own style, but I must say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your planning, your sharing, and your efforts to stay on track, in addition to having an amazing story to tell.

  16. Now that Aelliana and and Daav are back (and incidentally occupying young bodies) one wonders what will happen with Kamele. Particularly, there doesn’t seem a lot of room for her when there’s a lifemated pair. I hope I’m wrong about this, somehow.

    I’m expecting Theo isn’t going to take that well, either, when she finds out. Though at least she won’t have to cope with a disembodied ghost, which she wasn’t very willing to entertain.

    From a narrative viewpoint, it looks Like Korval, that other family of Terran traders, Juntavas, the Scouts and the Uncle are entering into an alignment of interests. Which makes one wonder: what scope of enemy (and I don’t think it can be simply the DoI) will they have to deal with to make it all interesting? I shudder at the thought…

  17. I enjoyed reading Alliance of Equals – but I do wonder whether the structure used was a good idea.

    We get Padi’s story in around half the book, and the first half of Tolly’s, with a splash of Daav and Aelliana. As a longtime Liaden universe reader I’m mostly OK with that – but I think it weakens things for someone that starts off with this book. Some of the other books bounce between strands, but they’re related and part of the same main story, so it works.

    This time that doesn’t appear to be the case – the strands may eventually link up, but at the moment they’re unrelated, so bouncing between them just breaks up the flow. I can’t help thinking that it would have worked better to split things up so that this book was just about Padi (which would have given room to develop the story more) and then do Tolly’s story in the next book – which would mean you wouldn’t have to stop
    halfway through.

    I think that might have made both stronger as standalone books. As it is, I suspect some new readers may be put off a bit – if you buy what you’re expecting to be a novel about X, and get half a novel about X, and half a story about an unconnected Y, and a splash of yet another unconnected Z, it’s going to be a bit confusing – especially if the cover blurb only mentions X and ignores the others.

    While I enjoyed all the strands, I think the structure only really works for existing readers, and the lack of obvious connections between the strands probably makes this the weakest so far as a standalone novel. A novel usually tells a single story – or a connected set of strands – and these aren’t, so far.

    P.S. put me down as someone else waiting to find out about Win Ton’s fate 🙂 and Theo, Bechimo, and the rest of the crew.

  18. I have a theory where Jen Sar has gone — didn’t anyone else catch Kamele talking with the cats, and the cats answering her?

  19. Hmm I think that’s just cats being cats in that particular universe. Lots of people have long conversations with cats including Val Con, Daav, Theo… I don’t think it’s that, but who knows? Maybe Jen Sar gets a body of their own!

    Surebleak is also full of timonium. Let’s hope there aren’t enemy devices powered by old tech lurking about.

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