Spoiler Cafe: Dragon in Exile

This a place for those who have read(!) the eArc of Dragon in Exile and who would like to talk about it.

If you have not read Dragon in Exile, and you don’t want the story spoiled, STOP NOW.













46 thoughts on “Spoiler Cafe: Dragon in Exile”

  1. This story was well thought out and so well written.
    It was a masterpiece of a “bridge” story, from what came before to what will come, hooks and foreshadowing as deftly handled as any I have ever seen. And make no doubt that this story was necessary, although some will complain that “the story doesn’t move.” And, to boot, there’s plenty of action here.

    Things I loved:
    The ‘softer’ side of Kareen;
    Kamele’s settlement into Surebleak, and into the Clan;
    The reawakening of Daav and Aelliana
    Ren Zel’s realization of his own future
    The growth of the general population of Surebleak
    Jeeves daughter

    Sharon and Steve — you never fail to amaze me with the precision of your writing. Plan B had always been my favorite of all the Liaden Universe books. I think that Dragon In Exile has taken that place.

    Thank you.

  2. I’m up to chapter 18. One minor annoyance to me so far was the prologue expository lump, and another with the synopsis of another book. I understand it’s necessity for new readers, but it seemed clunky.

  3. Well, I read it through in a little over 6 hours straight, so I think I liked it 🙂 !! OK, it was great, and especially Jeeves’ daughter. The only think I “missed” was more Theo, more Daav and Aelleana. I need the next book now! ::sob:: There is just never enough Liaden to satisfy how much more I want 🙂 Sharon and Steve, “Thanks!” again for a wonderful romp through totally unexpected plot twists! Take care of yourselves – we need you around another 40-50 years to get through all these story lines!

  4. Loved it! So MUCH going on too! I wish we could have seen a BIT more of Daav and Aelliana, but I was very glad to see what we did. Also, just a vision glimpse of what’s going on with Theo (not counting Jeeves sending his new daughter to help the new AI)? Dying to know what’s going to happen with Cantra’s former ship. Speaking of that, so THAT’S what happened to the original colony ship! Good to know!

  5. The only problem with your books is that they are finite, and end, and then I have to wait for the next one.

    I was so gratified to find out that what I was hoping (what perhaps many people were hoping), that Aelliana would get her own body, came to pass.

    I’m a little worried about Daav. 85%. Is he still a pilot? Is his fate a reprise of what happened to Win Ton?

  6. Thank you for a wonderful story. I especially love your tribute to Janet Kagan. Tocohl will be a great character to get to know, just like her namesake. As some have said above, this may become one of my favorite rereads. I am continually amazed with the worldbuilding and character development. I look forward, impatiently, for your next installment.

  7. I absolutely loved this book, and I am glad I went ahead and bought the earc – worth every penny. It made me laugh and cry and laugh out loud again…. so many details to enjoy, and reread (commencing right after breakfast, I imagine ^_^

    I’m hopeful that the audio will have a good narrator – that’s my favorite way to reread, listening to the audiobook, and most of the books are splendidly narrated, but I just cannot love Eileen Stevens. I know Lee & Miller have no control over this, but I am hoping for good news about Dragon in Exile. No doubt I will buy it anyhow, but, well, with such a wonderful book (I agree, it might well displace Plan B for me as a favorite reread)…. surely someone as good as Andy Caploe or Kevin T Collins can be found.

    Hard to say yet which will turn out to be my enduring favorite bit long term, but right now I am voting for the splendidly subtle scenes with Quinn and Villy and the cruise passengers.

  8. Downloaded it Saturday night, sat up until 3:30 am Sunday morning finishing gulping it down. Walked around in a fog with a smile on my face all day. Loved catching up with all the old friends and am fascinated and eager to learn more about the new characters…who is Tolly and who or what is the enemy who is trying to recapture him? Doesn’t sound like DOI so is there another inimical organization out there, taking its shot at universal domination? With Tocohl heading out to deal with Admiral Bunter, looks like Theo and crew won’t be heading back to Surebleak immediately. So much to anticipate and wonder about. Love it!

  9. Yes!!! Great read and there are so many hooks that I can’t see any way to resolve them all in only 4 more books 🙂 Thanks Sharon and Steve for another masterful job!!! Time to start my re-read now…

  10. Just started but I was sort of stunned by that brief exchange between Miri & Ren Zel.

    Back to the book…

  11. So glad Uncle was able to bring both Dav and Aelliana back in bodies similar to their own, even if much younger, especially for Dav. It will be interesting to see how that plays out down the road. Aside from missing Theo you’ve blended the other story lines beautifully. Didn’t realize Luken had two daughters. The clan increases! Kudos to Jeeves for his solution to a problem. So glad to see Kamale and Kareen in a positive working relationship. And the Bedel. And foreshadowing. Wow! Read the first free chapters that night, then paid and downloaded and read it from the beginning. There was so much in it on so many levels. Thank you once again.

  12. Second read done, working on #3, and then I start the whole saga again this weekend. And I just finished the reading marathon the day before Exile eARC came to us. It’s a “dragon” of a year! … OK, $15 was not enough to pay you 🙂 Is that “Saltation” contribution account still open. I need to give more!!

  13. OK, I cannot await the Audible version. I’m now recording my own, and having a blast! I just need one of my grandkids hands for an audience 🙂

  14. I’d been wondering about Lukens family – realized that he had to have an heir but nice that she is edging closer to the stage.
    And Luken may be having a bit more action if the news of the carpet makes it back to Liad.
    Sounds like Daav and Aelianna are headed home if the Tree is shedding fruits for them!
    The picture of the beginning of a society evolving on Surebleak are fun.
    Glad that Kareen is beginning to find a real challenge.
    BUT now I am worrying about Ren Zel ….

    Now to try to survive until the next book comes out …..(chews fingernails)

  15. I really like the blend of cultures, and the feel of the “battle between good and evil” … except when it hits too close to “the day job” and my escapism feels threatened 😉 At least I haven’t had any bakeries blow up on me lately!

  16. Jelaza Kazone is certainly expanding it’s horizons. I wonder if it was getting a little bored back on Liad. Surebleak will be an interesting planet if it keeps spreading seedlings around. I’m curious about the pod for Yuli Shaper.

  17. Some lines make me tear up on every read: “Silain sat up straighter. She had heard tales of the headwoman of the People of the Tree. She was a warrior so ferocious the Yxtrang revered her as a hero; a lover so skilled that she had captured the heart and hoard of a dragon; a woman who gave her word but rarely, and always kept her promises.” What a wonderful turn of wording, to read, and the hear!

  18. I was delighted to meet another Tocohl. And I do so enjoy finding out which way Rhys is growing. I’m impressed by the number of threads you’ve knitted into this yarn, and it’s going to take a couple more reads through to settle all the plot twists into their proper places. And, of course, I had to dig out Hellspark for a re-read. It’s your fault.

    Thank you so much. And thank Ghod that this is the Whateverth of Five!

  19. That final prescient vision suggests that somehow Bechimo is going to grow itself into liner size -as Theo is bonded to it.
    It also occurs to me that perhaps the tree was getting bored on Liad, and that Surebleak is a challenge that requires it to multiply itself. It may be interfering with more people then just Korval.
    I am getting concerned about Ryn Zel and Anthora though.
    Sounds like the next 4 books will be (as usual) very exciting.

  20. Luken’s plot thread, and his Balance, reduced me to helpless laughter. Well played, indeed, sir.

    I have to confess that the first thought that I had when I read about Tolly’s escape was, Huh. Aelantaza? It’ll be interesting to see what actually happens.

    “Mr Prithee” made me blink a few times. Oh dear. Curse you, autoreplace!

  21. Fantastic. So many threads to this story. I love how secondary characters move more to the front. I really enjoyed Kamele & Kareen together.

    Still eagerly anticipating Kamele meeting Alliana and what it all means for Daav/JenSar. Does he end up with two homes or one with two wives?

    And I never learn enough about The Uncle! He’s such a wonderful enigma lurking about.

    The Tree is multiplying, this fascinates me. Was yulie sharper the first not of Korval to be given a pod? Does anyone recall another being blessed by the tree?

  22. This is my favorite Liaden novel, so far.

    I was surprised that no one has mentioned, what I thought was the most intriging sentence in the entire story: “Uncle Arin?”

  23. An interesting read!! I was particularly intrigued by all the tie-ins to the Crystal Dragon/Soldier storylines. What with Quick Passage reappearing, and Spiral Dance showing up with a live seedling at the end of Dragon Ship, I’ve started wondering if one of the Enemy (Iloheen) managed to get through to the new universe and is the dramliz behind the DoI. And if the Bedel are descendants of some of the dramliz who made the jump with Cantra. And how they, Dulsey, and the Uncle – who certainly have not forgotten the War and the Enemy – will be drawn into the coming conflict.

    One of the Great Big Hanging Chads of Crystal Dragon was, for me, what happened to all of the other ships in the great migration. I’m assuming that the X/Y strain soldiers become the Yxtrang, and obviously the Uncle and his crew made it through, and suspect the Bedel as well – but …hmmm…..

    This is why the Liaden Universe is so fascinating to me. Appreciate the thought and details put into it! and hope that the journey will continue for A Long Time, even if I start getting impatient for the next chapter about 20 minutes after finishing the latest one.

    I’ll also temper my enthusiasm here by echoing my reservations about Eileen Stevens as Audible’s Voice of Theo. She does a pretty good job, but really doesn’t seem (IMHO!!) to voice the irony, sarcasm, humor, and understatement Lee and Miller use so liberally. She seems to just plow right through those tidbits, where some attention to nuance could make the performance SO much more enjoyable.

  24. I just finished my first read of Dragon in Exile and am having some fun speculating. As Jesse pointed out, there are a few tie-ins to the Crystal books. The comment about an Iloheen dramliz possibly being behind the DoI might explain the cruelty and disregard for the ‘tools’. I’d reread Dragon Ship before starting this one and was knocked out (again) by the reappearance of Spiral Dance and its living pilot ;->. While finishing DiE I started thinking about what Korval would do with two former elders who might be a tad too unusual for Surebleak to deal with. There are lots of possibilities I’m sure but linking these two pilots with an historical ship is one I’m enjoying thinking about right now.

    I really liked the Epilogue and was wondering if the vision of Pilot Liz showed her on the planet where it all began with M.Jela and the Tree? The birds made me think that might be the case. M.Jela has always been one of my favorites, along with his descendant Daav.

  25. I loved the book! I’m just starting my second reading. But who is Tolly? I recognize the name, but I can’t remember what book he was in. Help please!

  26. O ye of little faith! As far as Daav and Aelliana goes, the Tree has everything under control. What’s their future is, only the authors know; but, who better to inherit Spiral Dance?

  27. It’s true, Daav and Aelliana WILL need a new ship now, won’t they?

    I’m also enchanted by Kamele’s reaction to all this–the way she’s adapting to Surebleak, becoming friends with Kareen (for whom I think this relocation has done wonders), and generally letting herself do something totally new, without Jen Sar or Theo or anyone on Delgado shaping her decisions. I can’t wait to see her reactions to Daav’s new … circumstances … as well as seeing Theo again, who has grown past anything her mother could have imagined by now, I think.

    I admit, I would have like a glimpse of what’s going on on Bechimo, but … frankly, I was too busy laughing at the thought of all those Liaden tourists on their Korval’s Fall tour. Hilarious … and Luken’s Balance with Hedrede was perfect, as was the reaction to it. I was expecting trouble, but no. Acknowledgement of its perfection, instead. Love that. (Interesting that everyone in the clan apparently knew what this carpet looked like, though.)

    Oh, and the Heavy Loads meeting with Little Brother … I was laughing out loud through the entire thing. Talk about getting EVERYTHING wrong about the person(s) you’re about to talk to! And Val Con’s reaction to “Contracts are made to be broken?” Loved it.

  28. I also keep thinking that I should remember something about Tolly, but can’t place him. Am curious about his link to (at least) Jeeves.
    Loved Lukens Balance, and Heavy Loads colliding with reality.
    And now to wait till next year!

  29. I gobbled it down in one 5 hour bing. I have to start re reading.
    Ah,the plot thickens!

    We have the 4 off to confront and “break” the DOI, we have Tolly (AI/clone/machine not human and perhaps known by Jevees as a not human machine??) Tolly is controlled by pipes that are probably old Tech, and what might be a Liaden chasing Tolly (the man killed on the port by Tolly might have been Liaden?) and … We have Uncle whom we know next to nothing about, We have some vague reference to “the old machines” that the Commander of Agents has codes for,

    Then we have the Ren Zel and Anthora situation (a direct tie in to Crystal series of books I think.)

    We even have a redux of the Juntavas and Korval negotating a deal…tho that hasn’t come to fruition.. yet.

    Wow. Now I have to wait months for the next eArc “Alliance of Equals”…

    We have Kamele learning to use a gun (and shoot quite well!), Kareen finding a way to use her knowledge to help Korval, we have Val Con itching to be able to go into danger, we have Droi and her soon to be child Maysl. We have the Bedel looking for their ship,

    and oh, Rhys making wine … harking back to Balance of Trade wherein Jethri plays with old tech on a Liaden world and destroys the vines…:) I liked that.

  30. I do not think so.. but the theme does tie in. Also Tolly I think may have been seen in one of the sequences with Uncle in the crysettal series of books?? Or possibly later, but def. I think connected with Uncle.. I need to go back and scan the Balance of Trade and Trade Secrets books… (which I think remain my favorites of the entire series of Liaden novels…) I still think that Uncle has a game we don’t know about, and that there are tie ins to the Crystal books we haven’t seen yet. The pairing of life mates reminds me of the ladies and their men in (Sherikas servants) in Cantra’s universe. .. We have Priscilla Cnd Shan, Anthora and Rel Zen, Val Con and Miri, Daav and Aelliana … weren’t there 6 “pairs” of power couples in the Crystal Books? There at the end, the ones who made it possible somehow for the ships to “escape” into a new universe?? I do believe though we may see some Sherikas inspired “foes”… otherwise why are things like that coffee pot, and the ship with the tree seedling “bleeding over” into the universe here? Anyway, delightful and now disappointde to wait a full Year for the next installment…By then may it be hoped I have my Furzels (fluffy cats, thank you Linnea Sinclair for terminology) Calvin and his handicapped half feral side kick Mama B adopted! One can dream…(anyone who’s interested in adopting, LOL let me know!)

  31. Oh oh oh… I just finished re-reading up to Dragon in Exile… and… Tinsori Light. In Tinsori Light (a short) we have a piece of what I think is Old Tech, made by what is termed “The Great Enemy”. And the pilot sends his vessel out (all repaired) and sends a message to the delm of Korval stating that ” send 2 or more, to the coords he gave, with 8 cantra to redeem his pledge” I think, maybe we may be seeing Davv and Aelianna turning up on Catra’s old ship, Spiral Dance… at .. Tinsori Light. Because it sits at the edge of the expanding universe but wants back into the Center, and the Light Keeper is the one keeping it “under control”… or what is left of the light keeper’s physical body…

    Anyway, this just jumped out at me, because I was going through all the stories wondering where they might go.. and well, it does sort of stick out at you!! Dang. I can’t wait for the next eARC – like a cat pacing in front of a mouse hole, I’ll pounce as soon as I hear it is out!!

  32. I think the DOI is a re-appearence of the “the Great Enemy” and shows up in Trade Secrets.

    I’ve already read it 4 times. Also, the most recent short story ties in wonderfully. Add Darby to the list of more characters I would like to see again.

  33. I enjoyed the book. Will it appear in audio format? I liked narrators Kevin Collins and Andy Caploe best.

    Can’t wait for the sequel. When is it coming ??

    Was wondering if we’ve met those particular captured agents before? Did we see them get captured? I looked back in a few prequels, and didn’t find the name Claidyne, for one example. She’s the agent with two souls, maybe a lifemate.

    But in the short story Prodigal Son, Nelirrik is charged with taking prisoners (working for Dept of Interior) from Vandar back to Surebleak. The agent of change was captured, but her name was pel’Nara. Excerpt below, where Val Con gives Nelerikk his orders, on Vandar:

    “…you will report that the situation is far more complex than we had believed. That, in addition to no less than six field teams and four technical teams, there is at least one Agent of Change stationed in Laxaco City, whose intention is to speedily bring Vandar’s technology to the point required by the new headquarters.

    You will report on your prisoners and their condition, and you will say that I have gone to Laxaco on purpose to ensure that Kem and Hakan Darnill are out of harm’s way. I will attempt to locate the agent…”

  34. On re-reading trade secrets I was certainly leaning towards the scouts being manipulated by DOI and/or the “no longer” scout pilot who stole Jethri’s journal as having been suborned to DOI. Especially the bit with her seducing Chel gaiben (sp) and him going on at some detail about the joys of pain… (that was just a tad creepy there, even though it made clear that chel gaiben was def. not a nice person!) that seemed consistent with DOI. The part where we find out they tried to “engineer” Jethri to have extra sensitivity to fractins (and it seemed to have worked since he knew where his lucky fractin was when facing the thief and was very much inclined to take on the storage pod – he had a hunch about it having value). That was interesting too, since if you recall, Val Con has some nowise small talent with AI intelligences like Jeeves…which talent of course has been “bred” for, much like Jethri was “designed” for something. (shades of cantra yos Phelium)…seeing a human healer revealed on surebleak was also interesting, as it proves something of a wonder to the Liadens… “terrans don’t have healers” suddenly isn’t true. And from what I could tell Darby was rather a “strong” healer talent…which surprised them alot.

  35. Lots of people have spotted things I hardly noticed on my first read. All I’ve got is that I’m pretty sure who the “Equals” are in the title of next year’s novel. It’s good to see the main storyline move forwards.

  36. It just occurred to me that Theo’s bonding with Bechimo may have some distant kinship to life match bonds.

  37. @ Gus, who asked a question: “The Tree is multiplying, this fascinates me. Was yulie sharper the first not of Korval to be given a pod? Does anyone recall another being blessed by the tree?”

    Clan Oreb (Rool Tiazon’s descendants) has an offspring of the ??tree on the clanhoouse grounds on Lytaxin (Plan B).

    I seem to vaguely recall Shan (or Val Con) mentioning that trees are planted with other allies, too.

    I was also pleased to see Yulie Shaper given a tree. It will prolly calm him. And with two more on yos’Galan’s island site, that is 4 trees in a relatively small area. Flower power!

  38. I do not think Bechimo is the huge ship Tree showed to Miri and Val Con in the vision at the end. Bechimo is too small for that. (Bigger even than the Quick Passage). Unless it’s a metaphor (big ship = big heart).

    It could be a Carresans ship – a ginormous “ocean” liner. And /or the Bedel ship. It could be the timid ship hiding in quiet space — the one Bechimo runs into occasionally (see Gathering Edge).

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