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on 21 July 2016
If you know Liaden, it's the typically detailed full length side story to a wonderfully deep Liaden Universe you've come to know, and of which we hunger for more, to understand it better. (No plot spoiler from me). But it needs to be said this is not the best omnibus to read first, as an origin tale it has less of the etiquette and subtlety of later work, and a lot of complex 'weird dimensional' stuff where escape is by clever (but vague) maths. The last of the 3 is perhaps the best in that it has most of the main series real depth and intelligence.

If you do not know Liaden Universe, it's overwhelmingly personality driven Sci-Fi with delicate world of subtle rules and etiquette, intelligent plot and development, well drawn characters and an engaging caste of supporting personalities. The challenges are real, credible and with just enough detail to grip, but leaves alot to your own imagination: a really good recipe.

A real quality addition to the sci-fi genre, a near rival to McMaster Bujold's Vor, and David Webers Harrington. On a par with Elizabeth Moon's collections, and better than most others. Worthy work, a joy to discover it.
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on 24 July 2013
I ran into the Liaden books, in the shape of the New Adventures series, quite recently, and liked those five books well enough to look for the original series of books that set the field for the new series. I read of few of those before I came across this book. Although the three short novels which make up The Crystal Variation were written quite late on in the life of the original series, they are the three that - in terms of the story line - explore the origins of the Liaden culture. The first two cover the events that lead to the colonisation of Liad, while the third looks at an early stage of interaction between Liaden and Terran people, as the culture begins to overcome a "foreign therefor alien therefor inferior" attitude which seems quite widespread. The three novels in this book are well written, but I think I would have liked the first two rather less if I had come to them first instead of before reading much of what, in story-line terms, comes after because a lot of their interest to me was in discovering the cause of some things in other books. I found these three short novels enjoyable to read, especially the third - the first two strained my ability to suspend disbelief enough that I found them not quite as enjoyable as the third.. I like the style and background of the Liaden books enough that I expect to continue to acquire books in the several series until I have them all.
3 people found this helpful
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on 15 November 2017
interesting, well written stories, giving glimpses of backgrounds and events in the early years of the liaden saga...i especially liked knowing more of the world tree (universe tree?), and how it entered this story...there are some passages "treading water", not moving the plot forward, some slow pages, and some questionable "science", but, on the whole, a fun read for complete-ists...
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on 3 December 2017
as advertised
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on 26 July 2016
Fascinating story explaining the origins of Tree, the evacuation, and the founding of the Dragon and Tree clan. Keep a weekend free for this 3-volume bumper book.
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on 29 May 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Good value for money as you get 2 books plus a short story. Gives the background on how the whole Liaden universe came about.
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on 8 December 2012
This is the background to later story's and reading them in order really helps. More about the characters (who were really well rounded) than the gadgets which is what I prefer in Sci-fi/fantasy
One person found this helpful
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