Gathering Edge Spoiler Discussion

The comment section below this post is for the Early Adopters of The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

If you have not read the eArc and/or intend to wait for a later publication, and you don’t want the story spoiled for you, for the love of ghod, please do not read the comments.


114 thoughts on “Gathering Edge Spoiler Discussion”

  1. I am beginning to get the feeling that Shan and Val Con might have a moment of regret about asking Theo to come back home…as has been said before: “truly, Theo, you are of the Line”

  2. Loved it. Theo is all grown up and Norbears have interesting defenses. But, but…. 8 pods on the little tree?

  3. Love the title – and the lines it comes from. Wow! One of the best birthday presents I’ve gotten. Also really enjoyed the interweaving of the different groups, I know from the blog how difficult it was in writing but you made it seem seamless. Interesting happenings via Hugglesons as well. Old friends. New knowledge about norbears (fascinating!). OK, stopping there. Thank you again.

  4. Truly Scout Commander Val Con is going to have an interesting problem to resolve soon (soon in world-time; it may be Book Five or even the book after Five of Five.) At least two problems, if the Ambassador arrives.

    The Scouts are not presently a safe repository for Old Tech or unsafe AIs.

    Very Korval of Theo to succor a pilot, though of course he wasn’t just “a pilot” to her.

    Balance is due from Minot station.

    Is Kara’s clan exiled? Dead? In prison or poverty?

  5. Norbears have defenses! Korval (or at least Theo/Bechemo) has two more Yxtrang attached! And then there’s those other Yxtrang wandering about in the margins of this book. This could get VERY interesting.

    Glad to see Win Ton yo’Vala returning to health and “pilot-ness”, and I very much liked seeing the developing and changing relationship between Win Ton and Theo. She’s not the young student any more!

    I am now in serious WANT mode for the next book. I thought the ending of this one was at an appropriate point, but that doesn’t change the desire to see just how this all plays out with Val Con and Miri.

  6. Charlie –

    On my second read-through (for proofreading), and I noticed this line which I think will have very interesting implications for Korval.

    Regarding the Pathfinder’s orders:

    “You will survive and you will become the Troop where you…arrive, pledging your services to established civilian authorities, if any can be found. If there are such with Troops already attached, those you will chose.” (pg. 39)

    Though, I note, this is not how Stost Pathfinder reports his orders to Theo (pg. 130). He appears to have swapped the order of priority: Troop first, then civilian authority. I have to wonder if that was a deliberate distortion on his part.

  7. I did note that the Scouts at Minot called themselves Liaden Scouts, which should make the meeting on Surebleak even more… interesting.

    I’m so glad WinTon wasn’t the cause for another round of angst or a cliffhanger.

    Was this the book in which Theo was so obstreperous about cooperating with The Author, or the next one? I guess it could have been both…

    I’m sort of glad I was late enough to the party with this series to have a bunch of books to read all at once. I can’t wait for Alliance of Equals!

  8. Not Alliance of Equals. The next one! (Isn’t there one between The Gathering Edge and Neogenesis?)

  9. I wonder how Vepal feels about fire engine red limousines?

    I am intrigued by the Scouts calling Val Con a rogue, though, considering how it seemed like the entire Scout cadre had contacted Korval at some point. Clearly, we’ve seen Scouts acting Very Firmly toward Old Tech in the past, but until recently the scouts had seemed fairly benign, and focused on resisting the DOI.

    I was glad to see Rig again, though sorry to see him in such dire straits. Do we know what happened to Scout Cho sig’Radia since sponsoring Theo to flight school? (My cranky keyboard just skipped over the L and made that ‘fight school,’ which also seemed appropriate.)

    And meanwhile, Theo as Captain is just awesome. This girl has come so far and … yeah. Val Con and Miri are in for a shock, but I keep thinking about Kamele’s reaction! I gather they haven’t seen each other since Theo left Delgado, yes? I would say Theo has transformed into someone unrecognizable, but Kamele has made strides herself, competing in gun matches, and all.

    This is NOT a family you want to mess with.

    I’m looking forward to the green, leafy family reunion when the seedling gets to meet the patriarchal Tree. (Actually, I am rather desperately looking forward to ALL the family reunions coming up.)

  10. A few thoughts:

    1. If the Yxtrang all pledge allegiance to Korval things could get interesting for their enemies.
    2. If the Juntavas do the same… as possibly indicated in another book, or at least some form of merger…
    3. The Uncle and the Carresens could also find themselves in Korval’s orbit.

    Which brings me to the thought: if the forces amassing on one side are so great, what is a viable enemy? The DoI? Not big enough after all their problems. The old great enemy from the old universe may have leaked through…

    On a personal level really enjoyed the character development in this book. I was a bit sorry to see Tranza go, but I guess not everyone can stick together. I thought he might join the crew. Good to see Theo and Kara reestablish their friendship, beyond their professional level.

  11. Only half way through the e-arc – am really enjoying it and trying to slow myself down.
    Love how Theo has acquired a ship, a tree, a cat and now it seems Yxtrang as well to take back to Surebleak.
    Am wondering if she will also be bringing in Daav and Aelliana 🙂

  12. “desire to see just how this all plays out with Val Con and Miri.” and dont forget that a ‘young’ Daav and Aeliana have yet to meet the family.

    Theo is questioning the relationship between her and Val Can as brother and as Delmr. I suspect that the way Theo is being treated by her crew (bowing to her as a delm) is going to increase her resistance to accepting him as ‘lord and master’ I think the traditional Liaden concept of family is going to have to change on Surebleak. The research into surebleak history plus the introduction of more xtrang with unknown quests is bound to affect this concept.

    Personally speaking I have never liked the Liaden ‘marriage of convenience’ (look at what happened to Aelliana for an example of how bad this can be) and lifemating as the alternative would be kinder for a couple and their children.

    I like the way the ‘gathering edge’ theme has come into the story, it ties together the various threads in a more coherent way.

  13. the ebook EARC didn’t popup on my baen list until after 8pm – read and read and closed the tablet down at 12:30 am. finished and satisfied. just one question- what happens next?
    This is going to be like it was after I read the first book in the 80s and couldn’t get the next one for years and years.

  14. Theo was supposed to have shared Alliance of Equals with Padi, and she refused to play nice. So we had to move her over to her own book. Which meant that the book now known as Neogenesis went pear-shaped and had to be, uh, revisioned.

  15. I keep trying to picture the next meeting between Theo and Val Con in which each of them basically have to say, “Let me explain…no, there is too much…let me sum up…” 😀

    To say nothing of how much Kamele’s head is going to be spinning soon…


  16. Read, and deeply enjoyed, the eARC of THE GATHERING EDGE. Can we have the eARC of NEOGENESIS now? I don’t want to stop reading! Sigh. Patience might be a virtue but when it comes to your books I don’t want to wait. Patience vs Greed. Greed wins hands down.

    Anne in Virginia

  17. As hard as I tried not to, I came to the end of this book last night much to soon. That means I can start the second read when I get home (happy face).

  18. Remember, among the factions since Korval was exiled, there are the (more progressive) Scouts who are affiliating with Korval on Surebleak, and the Liaden Scouts who are more conservative, anti-Korval, and believers in Liaden superiority.

    Add to the mix when they get back to Surebleak, Jela and Spiral Dance! Time to reread the Crystal prequels. And the assorted, scattered Uncle pieces since then.

  19. Ditto to all the above comments AND…I knew it..I knew Yuri, Grig Tomas’ Uncle was also THE Uncle…I think I knew it when Dulcey called him Yuri in a previous book..but this was said plain. So, we still don’t know his motivation, his purpose (besides a mysterious plot device and mover along of plot line). He’s been cloning himself and more for nearly an eon, now. ALSO…the little children who wrought such destruction in the Old Universe…Beings like Rool Tiazan and his Lady? And Stost and Chernak KNEW Jela! Very cool. Cannot wait to read that story on Surebleak. And the Tree and tree! It will be exciting for The Tree to know itself not alone…unless it already knows.

    Thank you, Lee & Miller! That was a great story!

  20. Sooooo, wonderings.
    Is Theo’s bonding with Bechimo blocking any building of the relationship with Win Ton? Kara’s getting angry and where will that lead?
    There are other trees already, but I find the arrival of this one ominous, a lieutenant or…replacement? A meeting between the trees…yes!
    Love Hevelin, just love him and he can do no wrong.
    …and worse pondering of all, are the 1st crew, a family, sadly gone…uncles?
    Rhetorical questions all, which may or may not unfold.
    Many thanks to the authors for a sparkling read.

  21. Great work!!! Want more 🙂
    When will the Neogenesis and Fifth of Five be released? Are aprox. dates avaliable or are you still writing?

    From the Yule present the development in the eArc was foreseeable but nicely executed. Garkow is a nice touch. One wonders if the pathfinders are pre or post Jela’s timeline.

    As allies gather (ok. 2 pathfinders don’t seem really that much, but then Korvals Yxtrang can be impressiv :)) possible enemies facing Korval may include the Lyre Institute for exceptional children aka Tanjalyre Institute – and not only because of the line edit to Cantra and their taking of Tolly.

    Generally arising Questions:
    Who is the DOI really?
    • How did DOI start? Just bad luck or some accident – someone stumbling over and being corrupted by old Tech – possibly waking some longtime planning of the Sheriekas or just some leftover function of old tech? – The downloading of the Commander sounds pretty much like the immortality tech mentioned e.g. in “Strings, strands, and vines in motion” or the method used by Uncle Yuri
    • Is it entirely a Liaden organization or is it secretly lead or steered by an outside agency? (Is there a connection to the Lyre Institute or some other currently unknown agency? – The being led part could be achieved through the downloaded personality of the Commander of Agents)
    • Is there a connection between the DOI and the Institute?
    • How are the scouts really connected to the DOI? I’m thinking of Scout Lieutenant Fel Dyn yo’Shomin in Irikwae in “Balance of Trade”. Also of rogue Scout Rand yos’Belin and Rinork’s Infreya chel’Gaiban and their mysteries allies in “Trade Secret” and all those other Liadens who would prefer a Teran-Liaden war to trade and peace. They seem to exhibit a similar mindset that could have birthed an organization that finally became the DOI. If the founders of DOI had been planet bound Scouts like Lieutenant Fel Dyn yo’Shomin – feeling superior to field scouts and especially to Terrans – to begin with I’m not surprised that they were so able to infiltrate the field Scouts later on.
    Who is the Tanjalyre Institute? What are their long-term goals? They certainly are no innocent bystanders.
    • What are the Directors? Have they risen form successful Assassins and Mentors or are they a specialized breed?
    • Why did they edit Cantra’s line for disobedience and a killing offence but not Tolly’s? Or did they?
    • Why did they seek to control/eliminate the Scholars of mathematical tower in Landomist? Did they also intent to kill Master Liad dea’Syl? Why?
    • Are they connected to the DOI?
    • Might the Sheriekas be a project of them gone awry?
    • When was the Institute founded, in what guises did it exist and what is its history especially as purpose changed through time?

    Who are the Sheriekas really?
    • Who created them and with what goals in mind? Might they be a project gone awry – e.g. of the Institute? If they just created themselves, as generally thought, what kind of people where they and what did they offer up / leave behind for their advancements?
    • To me at least someone who feels the need to eliminate all life just to exist in peace has some serious problem. Either he/she is extremely fragile biologically, emotionally or psychologically (like maybe not being able to be reminded of or face their past or what they don’t have anymore) – or he/she is following someone else’s programming. The Empire with its normal humans couldn’t have been a thread to someone so advanced, no matter their superior numbers. And just elimination all life doesn’t make sense, even assuming that the Sheriekas are machines and not alive at all.
    There are other Mysteries as well.
    • The Bedel – what is their purpose? Are the Bedel known by or connected to the Uncle?
    • Who were Bechimos intended crew? What was his intended purpose? Did he have a hidden or alternative purpose not shared by all the builders from the beginning? Who gave him the order to run? Why is the Uncle as one of the builders on his black list? Also I’m a bit confused on when Bechimo was build – I believe there is contradictory info on this. Was Bechimo partly build on new tech (Grig Tomas suggested to Uncle that he should develop it since Old Tech was too dangerous and unstable) or only on Old Tech? Is Bechimo’s past in anyway important or has he diverted so much from all he was intended to be that this isn’t relevant any longer.
    • Is there some new tech? Is new tech able to interact with old tech?
    • Yxtrang – Are the normal Yxtrang the remains/descendants of the old High Command that sold out to the inner Worlds? Why are there no Mtrang among them? And is that betrayal the reason why they hunt Liadens? In other words – what History do the Yxtrang tell themselves? Is their existence/culture founded on a lie? And is anyone – maybe current High Command aware of that?

    And finally Aunt Karen seems to believe that Surebleak won’t accept the concept of Balance. To me it seems fare more probable that they will take it and change it beyond recognition – at least to Liadens.
    I imagine a concept that understands Daavs teaching at Delago to undo an imbalance but won’t understand revenge and the taking of a live. Thus Balance would be on the side of life – make connections – better a system in bad repair …
    Balance – supposed to fill in the gaps and add to – what ought to be and criminal offence. Thus making Balance that takes away a life a no go (or very poor manners) – but allowing to dedicate some time or in rare cases the remaining lifetime to a purpose showing repentance for action or inaction which resulted in imbalance.
    Derived from “someone ought to something” and having to do with or taking responsibility for results/consequences of one’s actions/inaction or surrounding/neighborhood/environment no matter whether those results were intended or not. Also something that might be open to sharing in – like the people that realize they own the street finally stand by the new bosses and help them against those that liked the old ways better – thus shifting the balance and direction of their society.
    But of course you may have totally different ideas.

  22. Neogenesis was turned in at the end of January, and has a firm publication date (hardcover/ebook) of January 2018.

    We haven’t started on Fifth of Five, yet, though there are some pieces tucked in its folder. Due date for that one is January 15, 2018

  23. A half trained, non-“true” clan Dragon?

    The world as we know it is (probably) not ready.

    Theo is a “TRUE” pilot.
    Ship first, crew a very close second, cargo next, then close family and Then Clan.

    Remember, Theo was brought up on a Terran off-shoot “Safe” world, where the female line was dominant.

  24. Satisfying like a Tree pod. 🙂

    But soon enough, I will crave another.

    I was glad to see 8 pods ripening.

    I wouldn’t want anyone to be left out…

  25. @Heather: Yes, I noticed that, and expect the overall Yxtrang pledged to Korval and/or Theo (one so very much wonders how that will sort out!) to go up by the two Pathfinders. But of more interest is the Yxtrang ambassador (Vepal) and crew wandering around loose in the margins of this book. They’re there, but they never actually impact on the overall progress of the book. I find that HIGHLY suspicious and likely to lead to interesting revelations in one of the coming books. We could have a Clan Korval with a full Yxtrang “defense force”.

  26. Who would have expected a seeming throw-away reference from the very first book in the series to pop up with new meaning this far along? All this time after Val Con disguises the turtles’ air car with the transponder code for the Yxtrang Ambassador, now we learn that there actually is one.

    And I can only imagine Val Con’s amused exasperation upon Theo’s return. “Truly, she is of the line. We send her forth to test a simple trade loop, and she returns to us with a party of Scouts in pursuit of her ship, the norbear one’s parents once rescued, a pair of ur-Yxtrang on a secret mission, our Tree’s long-lost first-born, AND Grandmother Cantra’s old ship. One shudders to imagine what she might have brought back had we sent her to do something dangerous.”

  27. 1) Daav encountered Cho sig’Rada (sp) when he came out of galaxy nowhere with Ride The Luck to smash the DOI at the scout base. I was disappointed that he didn’t actually talk about Theo with here then.

    2) Are the pathfinders X-strain, or Y-strain?

  28. Joe K. –

    iirc in the Crystal books the X-strain was the most recent and they were just starting to do face decorations, along with the initial cheek blade cuts they received.

    It sounded like the Yxtrang ambassador is also on his way to Surebleak because of the reports of the yxtrang there allied with Korval. I’m wondering if the newly-arrived pathfinders – also on their way to Surebleak – will have any knowledge of Jela’s Tree. That seemed to have gained ‘weight’ with the yxtrang over the years in the new universe. How well was it known in the old one ?

    Re: the eight pods from Spiral Dance’s Tree – they would make a good part of the celebration/remembrance ceremony for First Crew.

    I’m very much anticipating the re-entrance of Daav and Aelianna. Their new youthfulness does take away a possible difficulty for the Daav-Aelianna-Kamele relationship. ;->

    Except for the fact that one of the Scouts tracking Bechimo is a Healer, I would be suspecting that their Captain might be a DoI member. He has one nasty temperament and where did he acquire his ‘power’ to order. He thought he had Theo with his command but she shot him right down.

    There are quite a few storylines going and, not so strange to say, I would like updates on them all ! Right now ! Not gonna happen but there is so very much to look forward to, speculate on and anticipate.

  29. I loved it, a very satisfying book to read.

    One thing that has me thinking is the description of how interstellar travel works by entering a special crystal state, resonating with the place where you want to go. That crystal state rather reminds me of the way the Sheriekas wanted to turn the whole universe to crystal. That leads into some interesting possibilities for speculation: are the Sheriekas originally from that travel-space, disturbed in their eternal crystalline existence when people started using their surroundings as interstellar shortcuts?

    However, in the end, the characters, their growth and interaction, are what interest me most. It was great to see Theo growing into her own responsibilities and leadership role. I wouldn’t be surprised if she became leader of an affiliated offshoot Laughing Cat-clan, gathered under the Korval umbrella with yos’Phelium and yos’Galan; or maybe she stays Korval-family but just founds her own mercantile empire affiliated with Tree and Dragon. She’s young, but she’s growing, and showing more and more parallels with her big brother.

  30. And they never did do that deep search of Spiral Dance with the help of the pathfinders… i wonder why that got mentioned a couple of times. Just planting a possible hook for the future or someting definite.

    I must reread the crystal series.

  31. Here’s an interesting thought. It’s been assumed (or at least I always assumed) that “Yxtrang” was a corruption of “Y X Strain,” for the Y Strain and X Train soldiers. But a bit of dialogue in this book shows that “trang” is the Old Yxtrang word for “troop.” So it actually means “Y X Troop” apparently.

  32. Great comments, everyone – saves me from writing those thoughts out myself.

    To the authors: thank you for such wonderful, rich stories with such interesting characters and situations. Wow! Can you ever pen an exciting scene! My heart was in my throat for the getaway from Minot!!!

    Surebleak, for sure, next time? – lots of loose ends to tie up into a gorgon’s knot 😉

  33. Gulped it down, very much a page turner

    Chapt 14 “shibjela’ comment stood out.
    Was there enough time in the old universe for Jeal’s Guard Corps to evolve ?

    Would like to see the clutch again.

    Would the OBA’s (our beloved authors ) care to comment ,
    Is Theo in NeoGenisis or will we have to wait for book the
    fifth ?

    Story-arc wise, many vectors aligning, Tolly Haz, Bunter & Tochol.
    Uncle Daav & Alianna. Shan, Pricilla & Padi. Theo’s compaions, Vepal & Old Tech hunting scouts. Surebleak & ect YOW!

  34. More interesting combinations come to mine.

    Trang: Chernak & Stost knew M’s, Clan Korval has a copy of
    Jela’s gene map @Crystal Dragon, Uncle has rebirthing and
    cloning technology, is a NeoJela comig ?

    Enchanting Captivating Theo, have the aelantaza genes come to the fore or been reinforced by the tree in her ?

  35. Tinsori Light Chapter 22

    Mention got me to reread Space at Tinsori Light @ Constellation 3
    Kareen and Quin know the cords @ Roving Gambler also Const. 3

    Perhaps this is one of the places the sherika’s influence is leaking in
    from. It might have rewritten some pilot etc. and sent them back into
    the new universe with a modified ship and equipment.

    Could it be the birthplace of the DOI ?

    As usual the book gets one to thinking and has enough dangling
    threads to weave a very large tapestry.

  36. Idle thought – in Chinese mythology, balance is required between the dragon and the phoenix, and the phoenix appears to stand for cold and passivity. Hmmmm scope for thought….

  37. Bechimo Crew

    Numbers: approximately 12 _ 24 including family(s) estimated
    from crew storage locker numbers.
    Crew Needed : Trader (Padi ?), Cargomaster, Security, Healer.
    at least one more Tech, Cook, Medic/Doctor, Dramliza ? .
    With as many cross trained as pilot as possible.

  38. Disclaimer:
    I Terry Larsen do hereby grant free full and unlimited use of my posts on this site to the authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller for use
    in their work in and/or on the Liaden Universe series.

    PS I was originally reluctant to post my last name being privacy
    oriented . I came to the conclusion that it is needed for this disclaimer

  39. Read all the responses and can only add “WOW! I loved it! Thank You, Authors! (starting countdown calendar for Jan 2018)

  40. First: five more books contracted after book the fifth, happy me !

    Mercs and Surebleaks security:
    Hiring Hall ?
    Lease area for merc cold weather training camp ?
    Unit HQ ( perhaps Gyrfalks ) ?

    Types so far, M, K , Y & X
    Yxtrang may split up on HQ lines mentioned by Abassador Vepal

    Is it being influenced by the DOI ?

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