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Saltation (Liaden Universe Book 12)
 
 

Saltation (Liaden Universe Book 12) [Kindle Edition]

Sharon Lee , Steve Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Theo Waitley is a Nexus of Violence. Thrust mid-year into a school for pilots far from the safe haven of her birth home on scholarly Delgado, young Theo Waitley excels in hands-on flying while finding that she's behind the curve in social intricacies as well as in math. Her mentors try to guide her studies and training into the channels best suited to her special abilities and inclinations, including suggesting that she should join in the off-world student association, a plan resulting in mixed success.

After a series of confrontations, fights, and ultimately a riot after which she is thanked for not killing anyone, Theo is named a "nexus of violence" by the school's administration. Facing suspension and carrying little more than a hastily procured guild card, a pistol taken from an attacker, and the contents of her pants pockets, Theo must quickly decide if she's ready to return to Delgado in disgrace, or launch herself into the universe as a freelance pilot with credentials she's already earned.

The sequel to Fledgling, Saltation is the tenth book in the Liaden Universe® series.

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 515 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Baen Books; 1 edition (8 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00APACAZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,996 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Theo Waitley Liaden Universe 4 Dec 2013
By Tai
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Introduces differences in culture on a planetary scale rather then regional, bring in different views and government running interferences but on a large universal scale and good ideas that makes it a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Lee-Miller triumph 16 Aug 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sequel to Fledgling, and best read after that one; better yet read in sequence (difficult as it is a side plot) with the rest of Lee-Miller's Liaden series. This is realy intelligent sci-fi: the future as people and cultures not so much as tech and space opera though that's there too in subtly crafted measure.

This is another intelligent, people-not-hard-tech, well thought through, nicely paced (consistently gripping), development to Theo's life from end of school, up to reunion with Korval on Liad. Her career as a pilot kicks off with interesting challenges, nothing huge, and then a reunion with her soul mate Win. Again the dialogue, the 'tone-voice' of different culture groups is well drawn and completely engaging. This time an old-tech loose thread to tie in the next in the series ('Ghost ship'). Can't grumble even if it's a bit artificial it fits, and it'll give us more.

Well done; thank heavens Baen Publishers are taking this on. Shame it's not on Kindle yet (only the micro-novellas that cover in-between tales so far).
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  73 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine story from favorite pair of true Masters! 8 April 2010
By JimH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Saltation is a great story in its own right, while also both: (1) taking us through the next steps in Theo Waitley's youthful development into a stellar pilot, as the sequel to Fledgling, where we first met Theo and her parents, friends, and society, and (2) connecting Theo's stories into the ongoing Liaden Universe stories with the revelation that her father is actually one of our favorite characters from those preceding books. Now, with both lines of stories linked, the stage is set for the next story pushing forward our insight into the characters and epic events to come as Clan Korval seizes each day and wrings the most from it. Very enjoyable reading following Lee & Miller's superbe storytelling for past decades and more to come! Each story has been wonderful, but I can't help feeling that the subset of stories following Daav and his children forward is even more engrossing and nervewracking than even the early Cantra stories...and that's saying something! Love 'em all, but the latest are the greatest! Only wish I could find ways to help such wonderful storytellers and their publishers create tighter turn-around on spreading their stories...the ratio between (time-to-write + time-to-market) / time-to-read is just too large! Need more...sooner! Theo's great!
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part coming-of-age boarding school novel, part piloting the spaceways excitement, and part what the hell...? 27 April 2010
By Rachel Hyland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I think I have finally done it. I think I have finally grasped what it is about the Lee and Miller Liaden books that makes them so damn appealing. On the face of it, they're nothing all that special. It's basically a bunch of traders swanning around the galaxy buying and selling stuff (along with the odd explorer-type known as a Scout), all of them eventually finding their soulmates and having a hand in foiling some big evil plot or another. Fun, yes, romantic, yes, convoluted and entertaining and intriguing, yes... but why, I've often wondered, are these particular merchants, these shopkeepers in space and their assorted paramours, so completely, utterly, irresistibly enthralling to me that each new Liaden novel is like a gift from a just and benevolent deity?

And today, it hit me. And then *I* hit me. And I deserved it. I mean, it's always been pretty obvious. It's 'cause of the Liadens, idiot. Liadens are cool. Why do you think the series is *named after them?* (Okay, no need to be mean, me! Move on.)

I'm right, though. The Liadens *are* cool. They're cool because their society is out of a bygone era, with an honor code straight out of Camelot. And there is something just so endlessly fascinating to modern day us about the storybook visions of a nobler time; these Liadens, with their formal manner of speech and their complex social mores, their ideas of "Balance" and absolute familial duty, hearken back to legends of Knights and Samurai and hell, even Jedi.

But it may be that formal manner of speech that is the real clincher. Liaden sentences unravel like something from Jane Austen by way of "The Tale of the Heike", with just a hint of Teal'c thrown in; a complex mélange of exacting grammar, effusive courtesy and a refusal to say anything the easy way -- like Data, the Liaden do not employ contractions. Like the Japanese, they do not say no. Like FOX, they do not say sorry.

Man, that's cool. (In the Liadens, anyway...)

In addition to this already well-entrenched appeal, we now have the continuing adventures of young Theo Waitley, a talented and cosmos-bound pilot trainee, in her sophomore full-length outing, "Saltation". In her first feature appearance, 2009's "Fledgling", we delved into this (very) minor character's backstory. A backstory in which schoolgirl Theo learns that her troublesome clumsiness and perceived attitude problems are merely a result of her innate piloting skill. Pilots, in the Lee and Miller universe, are born and not made; lightning-fast reflexes and an ability to discern patterns in chaos are their hallmark--and a proficiency at dancing seems to be a bit of a prerequisite, as well.

But Theo is born into a world unused to pilots. Her world is matrilineal and measured, one of scholarly contemplation where being "antisocial" or "inadvertent" is tantamount to being a sociopath. The rules codified in Delgado's hallowed halls of academia are at least as constrictive as those of Liad; it wouldn't surprise one to learn that 2 + 2 = 5 there, or that clocks regularly strike thirteen.

In "Saltation", Theo has escaped the restrictive confines of her birthworld's rules and enters pilot school. Much like any institution of its kind -- Saganami Island, Starfleet Academy, Battle School -- the workload is excessive and the crises are mostly trivial, and we get to see it all from the star pupil's perspective, but Lee and Miller make Theo's years there important; the majority of the book is spent at her lessons, and there are times when you wish that all the foreboding talk of Aliens Out Now! is just a red herring and that Theo will stay in school, just as any dropout millionaire rockstar would advise.

But as we all know, the schooldays can't last, and so Theo must head out into the galaxy as a pilot... and this is where things get a little... hmmm...

First, a quick backtrack. Win Ton yo'Vala is a Liaden Scout Pilot who met Theo in "Fledgling", and is totally into her. The feeling in clearly mutual (Theo has more than a little case of mentionitis when it comes to him), and things between them progress apace. And then, in what I can only describe as the wackiest plot-devicing ever engineered by anyone who is not Brannon Braga, it turns out that Win Ton has screwed up royally, and as a result a massive hunk of dangerous technology has as big of a crush on Theo as he does.

And what is Theo doing when she discovers this? She's drinking tea!

The tea, the tea, the goddamn tea. Theo is way too interested in tea. Tea, tea, tea. Enough with the tea! Sure, it may be full of antioxidants, but really, Theo, you couldn't go even one whole chapter without mentioning your need for quality leaf? Jeez, that's just so... Harold and Kumar of you. Or is this tea fetish just establishing your Liaden (read: Korval) street cred some more? Why bother? We already know your Dad's Daav yos'Phelium!

Now, this last may seem like I'm giving away the Big Reveal, but, uh, no. Anyone at all familiar with the Liaden universe will be well aware that her father, known to her and us as Jen Sar Kiladi, can only be the once Delm of Korval and current possessor of the ghost of lovers past (his dead wife Aelliana's spirit hangs out in his head). In fact, Theo's Liaden debut was a small appearance at the end of 2002's "I Dare", where we first met her as a jump pilot who apparently had no idea of her true ancestry.

On a related note, I highly recommend that you be very familiar indeed with the Liaden universe before you read this book. There is much going on here that must needs be already known, and much that the novice reader would find bewildering (I'm an old hand with these folks, and at times even I was all at sea). Lee and Miller do not believe in recaps at all, and "Saltation" not only takes off from where its precursor "Fledgling" left off, with little to no "previously, on...," but it also finds itself mired in the murky waters stirred up at the end of "I Dare", bringing the Theo story full circle. And as "I Dare" rounds out a multi-book collection of Korval-related shenanigans (or should that be Shan-anigans?) known collectively as the Agent of Change Sequence, I can only imagine the consternation that would be caused by starting with "Saltation". Or even "Fledgling".

Another thing with which one must come to grips in the Liaden novels is that Lee and Miller make up a lot of their own words. It's all very Phillip K. Dick, very William Gibson. And most of these words make sense in context, you get what they're saying; but sometimes they throw in just a few too many new concepts and it is easy to get muddled in their fantastical lexicon. It's Dr. Seuss meets that dystopian 10-years-later on "Dollhouse"... future idiom mixed in with made up creatures, plus a whole slew of fictional branded products and people with apostrophes in their names.

But the most important aspect of these novels that one must be prepared to accept is that of the cliffhanger. This book ended with a remarkably familiar scene, and on an all-too-familiar unfinished explanation. And since the next Liaden novel, Mouse and Dragon (which, if you're already a fan, you'd be like, "Ah, cool, it's about Aelliana and Daav, maybe it's a sequel to Scout's Progress!" -- it is -- but if you're not, you'd be like, "Um, well *that* is a lame title for a sci-fi book"), backtracks to a time well before Theo Waitley, this can only mean that the dratted ellipses that ended "Saltation" (and, indeed, "I Dare" -- eight years ago!) will not be resolved for some time.

In the spirit of Lee and Miller's cruelty, I will end this review on a similar...

[This review first appeared in Geek Speak Magazine, Issue 2]
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Drops You Off a Cliff 2 May 2010
By Robert J. Newell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Saltation" is the sequel to "Fledgling," the first in a series of novels about heroine and pilot Theo Waitley. If you haven't yet read Fledging, by all means do so first. It's a very good story and provides essential background information. You won't make heads or tails out of Saltation if you haven't read Fledgling.

The first half of Saltation seemed very much a matter of "let's follow Theo's continuing adventures." Theo, after her experiences and growth in Fledgling, now is at Anglindin Piloting Academy, and we experience her new life with her. But for half the book, that's all we do.

There has been a lot of demand in fandom for more about Theo, and with good reason. She's an engaging, well-drawn character, with enough flaws to be real and believable, yet with enough going for her to be downright fascinating. Unfortunately that's not quite enough to carry about 180 pages of text without any sort of real plot. If you're a fan, you'll find it all interesting, as I did, but it leaves you wanting a little more.

A plot does begin to slowly develop in the second half of the book, and by the very end it's in full swing and of great interest. Then the book ends. It just drops you off a cliff. You reach the last page and it stops.

Now, there's nothing wrong with a cliffhanger, and there's nothing wrong with sequels and continuations, and I, as do many others, look forward to the next book in the series. But this is more like falling off the edge than it is a real cliffhanger. The book takes far too long to develop a compelling plot, and then fails to satisfy with an ending that seems based more on page count than it does on choosing a good breakpoint for the story.

It all speaks to me of rush: a rush to follow on the heels of a successful start of the series, a rush to get the next book into print. The loyal fans--- and they are loyal with good reason, and I am now one of them--- deserve a quality effort from the authors, even if that takes some extra time.

Should you read this book? As a fan of the series, of course you should, and you'll like it. I liked it a great deal. I just hope that the authors put more effort into the third book. Please don't push it out the door; take the time to produce the top quality writing craftsmanship of which we all know you are capable.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Theo Waitley took her really bad trouble to the Delm of Korval 22 April 2010
By H. Bala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On her "safe" home planet of Delgado - "safe" meaning that curfews are strictly enforced, the police are really nitpicky, and conformity is encouraged - young Theo Waitley was considered non-conforming and accident-prone. Turns out, Theo, being half-Terran and half-Liaden, possesses extraordinary reflexes, superior to those of ordinary Terrans, and that youth and inexperience had rendered her "clumsy" amongst her peers. You'd assume then that once she'd arrived at the pilot academy on Eylot, where she can rub elbows with graceful fellow Liadens, that she'd fit in more seamlessly. But nah.

SALTATION, sequel to FLEDGLING, finds Theo more comfortable in her skin and demonstrating potential to be a gifted pilot. But it's not all "good lift and safe landing" for her. Theo still struggles with her math, and while she's busy garnering a reputation as a skilled flier, she's also gaining notoriety for her social behavior. It's a subliminal thing, but it seems that Theo's posture is at times one of unconscious aggression, something which cultured, subtle Liadens tend to associate with Terran demeanor. It's probably inevitable that she's later deemed a "nexus of violence" by the school administrators on Eylot. And I'll say this, Theo does get mixed up in a series of confrontations.

Oh, but Sharon Lee & Steve Miller have got big plans for Theo Waitley. First introduced in the last two pages of I DARE some years ago, Theo was the young Jump pilot who bum-rushed that book's central characters, frantic to apprise the Delm of Korval of "really bad trouble" (so, yes, I DARE ended on a cliffhanger). Not much was known of Theo Waitley back then, and I guess the authors felt the "necessity" (heh) to color in her backstory. The sense I get is that Theo will be a featured character in the next installment of the main Liaden series. Obviously, FLEDGLING and SALTATION are set years before I DARE, as we see Theo come of age and her years at the pilot academy. If you're a longtime reader of the Liaden novels, then you may be in the position of knowing more about what's going on than the main protagonist. As usual, Clan Korval figures somewhere in this.

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller have shoved Warren Murphy and Molly Cochran off the head of the table as my favorite writing team. Lee & Miller boast amazing writing chops. They're dynamite with narrating the action sequences and with building a world, but they're even better at developing characters. And I cannot get enough of the Liaden Universe. It started with Miri and Val Con, one of my favorite couples in literature, and AGENTS OF CHANGE and CARPE DIEM were what first hooked me. The Liaden Universe is a fertile playground in which all sorts of genres collide. A Liaden story isn't necessarily confined to science fiction, to space opera. AGENTS OF CHANGE is a spy thriller. CARPE DIEM (my favorite) feels like a small town frontier drama, but it's also a terrific love story and, yep, a musical. I DARE, with the Pat Rin segments, comes off like a wild and wooly western. But look at me digressing...

Someone used the word "bildungsroman" when describing SALTATION, and I looked it up and it fits. SALTATION is a coming of age story. It has that "day in the life" vibe going on. Chunks of the book are whiled away with the authors describing Theo's acclimation to the Anlingdin Piloting Academy. We follow her thru her classes and her day-to-day experiences and the people she encounters. Theo is one of those single-minded creatures, and she's so intent on being the best pilot she can be that she tends to not pay attention to the political and social climate around her. No shock that the civil unrest on Eylot, when it finally comes to a boil, catches her unawares. Excepting Theo's occasional adventurous run-ins, the story is fairly uneventful, compared, say, to Val Con and Miri's crazy exploits, and Theo's tales don't quite have that exquisite comedy of manners so prevalent in the Clan Korval novels. But Theo Waitley is such an interesting and appealing character that I didn't mind at all even when nothing much was going on. I just enjoyed hanging out with her. I liked it whenever Theo was indulging in the highly dangerous sport of bowli bowl or practicing intricate dance steps that smoothly transition into devastating martial arts moves. Theo Waitley, remember, is a "nexus of violence." So the girl can throw down.

Real intrigue steps late in the book as bigger doings in the Liaden universe begin to wash into Theo's personal life. Theo's very good friend, scout pilot Win Ton yo'Vala, re-enters the picture and Theo suddenly finds herself in a surefire mess. It all ends on a cliffhanger (again), with the last few pages dovetailing into the ending of I DARE. And we're left waiting impatiently (again) for the authors to come up with the next book (the title is GHOST SHIP and I fully expect it to be hellacious, rip-roaring stuff). All we know right now is that there's a very special ship waiting in Theo Waitley's future. A pilot of her caliber deserves no less.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not really a YA book 30 April 2010
By Paul O'Connor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fledgling was the first Liaden book that I had ever read and I loved it. Then I read a few more Liaden novels and realized that this series has been evolving for a long time and Fledgling was just the latest chapter.

Saltation is the continuation of Theo Waitley's story but it is considerably different from Fledgling. Where Fledgling was a relatively straightforward coming-of-age story, Saltation fits Theo into the rest of the Liaden universe and she has to continually deal with events and people that feel threatening but that she doesn't fully understand yet.

This is a very well-told story. The heroine grows up fast but at a believable pace, which is a good thing because the situation around her is deteriorating quickly.

I was continually impressed with how the authors presented so many interesting supporting characters that had multiple aspects to their personalities. From Theo's roommate, Asu to her lover Win Ton (a remarkably talented young man who makes just one little mistake...), these people act like real people and add considerable depth and interest to the story.

Space Opera is a tricky realm to write in. Too much detail and the story slows to a crawl, too little detail and suspension of disbelief falls away. In my opinion, the authors have, in the past, tended a little too heavily towards the action and not enough on building the basis for suspension of disbelief and the supporting characters haven't been as solid as I have seen in Bujold or Cherryh's novels.

This book nicely fills in all previous weaknesses and shows even greater promise for the authors in the future.
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