The Dragon in Exile


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Ghost Ship

SPOILER THREAD: Dragon Ship eArc

In case you missed yesterday's excitement, the eArc for Dragon Ship, the Fourth Book of Theo Waitley, is now available from Baen. To recap:

Download it here.

Dragon Ship art by David Mattingly

This topic is for those ambitious souls who have already read the book and who are bursting to talk about it.

There will be spoilers here! You have been warned.

I ask those who wish to discuss Dragon Ship, to, please, keep to this topic and not spill out into others. Your courtesy is appreciated.

I was supposed to be doing data entry for a non-profit last night but couldn't wait to read Dragon Ship. I almost wish it wasn't so good because I am once again on pins and needles for the NEXT book to come out. I was happy to see Theo get some more support, and wonder if the NorBears and the Clutch Turtles will meet in the future. Glad to see Hevlen and some of the players from the Academy. Really thought Win Ton would be more prominent in the beginning of the book (thank you for the imperfections in these characters/relationship!) but very nice to get a glimpse of Bechimo's past and current evolution. Kamele - wow! Really enjoyed sections with Miri and Val Con's little one.
THANK YOU! Nice dedications, too, by the way.
OK, made up for the data entries this morning, now to turn in the report, recuperate from the parade yesterday, and enjoy the green hills below me, 75' weather, and the hot tub! Our dog and cat will probably stretch out on the deck together while I rest. Take care.

I've been wondering about a NorBear and Tree meeting. Your adding Clutch Turtle to the mix made me smile, elder statesmen all.

Wow! Spiral Dancer and the lone little Ssussdriad...I'd wondered what finally became of them as the strike against the Iloheen proceeded along all its facets. But with all this timonium-based old tech around and now even Spiral Dancer passing through into this new universe, are we now at risk of either the Iloheen or the Other (sister, so to speak, to Lute's Lady Moonhawk and to Rool Tiazan's Lady) that wished to rule in their place?

Is there some old force (e.g., Iloheen or Other) behind and urging on both the Department Of Interior (DOI; Liaden) and the Galactic Trade Commission (GTC; Terran)? Or just the _same_ twisted motivations that incited the Iloheen to their path?

And is Bechimo (knowingly or unknowingly) in communication with any such ancient force behind DOI and GTC's predations?

Much more importantly, I must figure out how to bring the time it takes to read such great stories into better alignment with the time it takes great authors to write such great stories. Finishing an e-book I've been awaiting "so long" carries a bit of sad frustration with it, as I know my chance to read the NEXT story in this universe (which will, of course be even better, as each has been for decades now) is most likely about a year away.

Those publishers stuck in last century's thought patterns and business patterns will probably never understand the true market potential they could tap if they could better enable authors to get stories to readers as fast as they can be written. Fortunately, Baen's about the best at breaking the publishing logjam, though even they could still learn a few trick, IMHO.

Yikes! I forgot the most important bit: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Love your characters and universes and situations....keep it coming, I'll read it all for as many decades as I last.

I was ecstatic at the appearance of Spiral Dancer. Never saw that coming at all, thought that lone ship & tree were long gone. (Impressed the tree still fits in the pilot's chair, too, I might add.)

And yes, I wondered too if the Iloheen might show up, which would be beyond dreadful.

Loved seeing Theo's old school mates & mentors. (Asu grew up!) And, really ... rescuing a guild outpost, pulling Asu and the others behind her, being declared a pirate ... she is so very definitely of Korval!

Just ... loved everything. (Except, well, I want more now.) Relieved, too, that Kamele arrived safely. I'd been worrying about her. After Uncle's little upcoming two-resurrection chamber experiment, this could get very interesting indeed for her!

There's no way to tell how long it's been for the seedling since it was dispatched on its mission. I always got the sense that the ragtag fleet traveling from the other universe got split up along the way and plunged into the current one at all different spaces and times. That's how you can have humans all over the place unaware of each other and their shared heritage (which is why Anne's work was so controversial), and some planets that clearly remember the escape (such as Sintia) and others that had no idea.

It's probably been a few years for it if it could be described as a tree, since it had barely sprouted when Cantra sent it off (Ch. 33 of Crystal Dragon). But probably not more than that, or it should be quite as big as its parent!

I expect the seedling will be quite surprised to learn how its parent has grown.

Edited at 2012-04-29 11:48 pm (UTC)

There's also a post over in the apparently-not-much-used-anymore liaden_spoilers community. But given this one seems to be more busy, I'll post a link over there.

As usual for every new book of yours that vI read, I always want the next one NOW.

Of course, it could never be a bad novel--not with these writers and the universe they have crafted so well.
But, when I finished it I felt as if I had been Jumped into the WOT universe, vicinity book 9, where the plot never advances. At the end of the novel, the changes in situation were: Win Ton is out of the healer unit, Miri has given birth, Kamele has arrived (barely), and Theo is bonded with Bechimo. Period. In other words, less than two chapters worth.
No Shan and Dutiful Passage crew, no Anthora and RZ, no Nova, no Pat Rin, no Kareen or Luken, no any of their children, and--worst of all--Merlin only appears in one scene, asleep and taking up window seat space (of course, having four cats, this is very usual; but none of mine are wizards (except for getting treats).
I certainly recognize the difficulty in dealing with all these characters and advancing their stories in a single book smaller, than, say, a WOT novel. But, the authors succeeded in this so brilliantly in Ghost Ship that I expected more.
I will buy it when it comes out, just as I have bought both paperback and ebook versions of every other novel and collection. And I will reread it as I have reread them all--that is to say, several times.
But I expected more.

I don't think that's quite fair. A lot of stuff happens, just not the stuff you wanted to see happen. It seems that where Ghost Ship is about half-and-half sequel to the Agent of Change cycle and the Fledgling cycle, Dragon Ship is about 90% devoted to continuing Fledgling, and most of what happens—situations and characters encountered—relates to those books. Which, for the people who really liked those situations and characters, is a treat even if we might have preferred to see a little more of characters from elsewhere.

It feels like a "middle" novel, kind of like Plan B, which you could similarly oversimplify to say all that really happened was everyone went to Clan Erob and fought some Yxtrangi (and Pat Rin and Cheever McFarland were nowhere to be found), but which set up for all the action and plot advancement to follow in I Dare. So if the same sort of thing happens here, the novel that comes after Dragon Ship in sequence should be a hell of an event. But just as you couldn't have gotten to I Dare without Plan B, so too is Ghost Ship necessary to get to what comes next. (Probably in ways we can't even guess right now. Who knows what seemingly minor event in the middle of the book will take on greater significance in a new light?)

Now, if only we knew when the sequel was planned for…

Edited at 2012-04-30 08:35 am (UTC)

Every Sunday I clean my house, its what I do. I have three cats, they are not as tidy as I would like them to be, maybe if I'd had a clicker during that critical cat training period of 4 to 8 weeks old (saw it on T V), I could have taught them to dust or something but that window is long since closed and they won't even put away their own toys. So anyway, I clean on Sunday but not this Sunday, this Sunday I read a wonderful book. Thank you.

Towards the end of the e-Arc, the company name morphs into Luck Cat Ltd for a few paragraphs. I think I would almost have preferred that name for Theo's company, but I like laughing Cat too. Did anyone else start thinking about the Cheshire cat when cloaking devices started being discussed?

I so did think it but I discounted it because, obviously, I am a cat person but also I have an Alice in Wonderland drawing over my bed! But the whole disappearing until all you can see is teeth, is so Korval!

It was bittersweet from an external perspective, in one respect--I first met Rusty Hevelin back when I was 17 or 18, at the first or second SF/F convention I went to... he was a major personage in the SF/F community. I chortled when Rusty Hevelin the norbear appeared in one of the books....

After reading Dragon Ship and a rolanni comment about viewpoints for Necessity's Child, I'm wondering if the Young Tree is a viewpoint character....

Speaking of Trees, the Tree knew/knows Aelliana and approved of her, and I think had fed nuts to her. The tree could have some of her DNA and applied it to the nut it gave Daav, perhaps?

I started thinking early on that there were lots of things that weren't going to get resolved in Dragon Ship. I was hoping/expecting to see a Kamele/Aelliana/Jen Sar/Daav menage. I was looking forward to Kamele meeting up with Daav yos'Phelium and having to deal with Daav yos'Phelium occupying the body Kamele was familiar with as Jen Sar Kiladi, and of Daav yos' Phelium who had lost part of himself which had been Jen Sar Kilad, having some cognitive dissonance and finding Jen Sar again and having to reintegrate himself.... something similar happened with Aelliana at the end of the first book she ws in and going forward in the early parts of Mouse and Dragon, where she was dealing with going from the abuse victim withdrawn professor to Courier Pilot Caylon, Delmae Korval. Also, I was looking forward to Kamele meeting Aelliana incorporate, especially since it was Aelliana who first noticed Kamele and was first attracted to her.

When Kara showed up and turned out to have a past and renewed relationship with Theo, I was hoping for a menage there, too, with them and Win Ton....

I liked seeing Asu and Kara show up. I wonder how many people know Theo is the biological daughter of Daav yos'Pheluium? Theo didn't it looked like tell that to Asu, only that Theo was under contract to Korval. I do want to know more about how the ship Asu was on dropped its passengers and hightailed it to the evacuation of Codrescu, and what the ramifications of that to Asu are. Hmm, thinking about Asu, I wouldn't be surprised if Asu manages to find out better than Theo's awaresness, the relationship of Theo to Korval.... The Theo-centric view of Asu in Saltation and Ghost Ship, shows its shortcomings (or rather, Theo's limitations as socially clueful) in Dragon Ship. (hmm, for that matter, "Dragon Ship" might better refer to Cantra's vessel, than to Bechimo! Bechimo is at least a part-owner of himsel, and while he's under contract to Korval, he is not so far at least a Korval ship. Cantra's ship is, as the property of Cantra and her heirs, up until it shows up as salvage (though arguably it's the property of the Tree on-board, which is sapient--but a minor! And if the property of a minor Tree, that puts the minor Tree and its property as subordinate to the original Tree, planted on Surebleak and Clan Korval which tends the Tree and which Tree tends the members of Clan Korval. Uh-oh, the young Tree is happy to have Theo show up.... I wonder what Bechimo make of the situation.... Theo doesn't have the same attitudes to Trees as her many times great-grandmother Cantra. "Jela's damned tree....") As salvage, the ship and contents belong to Laughing Cat...
On another point, Delm Korval is supposed to be the best pilot in Korval....

Regarding Win Ton, he was rebuilt from the DNA up, meaning probably that all the fine-detail and such body-training he'd had, no longer apply. The Uncle noted that he'd gone through such reconstruction, and the Uncle stayed or retrained successfully as pilot. Presumably the same's happened with Dulsey, too. (The Uncle may be been somewhat mendacious about his vessel's healing units' abilities--What Bechimo definitely had that was not on the Uncle's vessel, was an uncontaminated sample of Win Ton).

And another stray thought just hit me--dance and Theo. The name of Cantra's ship is Spiral Dancer. I keep thinking the Theo is Cantra reincarnated... However, Theo -has- ship she's bonded with, a ship many hundreds of years newer than Spiral Dance...

"When Kara showed up and turned out to have a past and renewed relationship with Theo, I was hoping for a menage there, too, with them and Win Ton...."

Funny, I thought that did not ring true at all. I thought they were channelling Priscilla there.

Maybe there is one more edit coming. I noticed Win Ton was telling Theo that the DOI was the source of his troubles and Theo reacted like she heard this for the first time. (ref Saltation)

I also noticed a third board magically appeared on Bechimo, where there had only been two before (ref. Saltation and Ghost Ship)

In a way, it is nice to have a book that stays mostly along one story arc rather than covering huge leaps of ground. Not that I have strong objections to books with a more "stranded" style.

Anyway, any new book makes me happy, and so long as the authors continue to write, I expect to continue to be pleased.

I hate watching the chapter counter advance inexorably to the end...just as much as I dislike the thinness of remaining pages of a paper book.

I expect to see loose ends from DS show up in at least two novels and even a short story or two.

I loved the understatement of saying that Korval had completed a contract...

"Hundred year son" -- Hani saying, from the Chanur books....

Meanwhile, Korval still has Liaden partisans, and the Scouts seem to have followed Korval to Surebleak.... Win Ton's responsibility to bring Bechimo into Scout jurisdiction, hmm, the Scouts have an affiliation with Korval. If the Scouts are still looking to Korval as a consequence of such things not only of the original contract that Cantra made, but also from Korval's long history of involvement with the Scouts (Val Con's a retired Scout, Daav is a former Scout, Daav's mother was a Scout I think, and the expectation probably is that Lizzie will be sent to be a Sout, too, when she come of an age for it) and sponsorships...

Also remember that both Cantra and Jela spent time in the hidden healing unit on Spiral Dancer. What are the odds that it kept DNA samples of them. Jela also left a copy of his DNA profile to Cantra. Did the unit also record their memory patterns? Who knows.

...Jela also left a copy of his DNA profile to Cantra...
I wonder if this is still in the 'logbooks' Cantra began and each Delm continued ... and why this snippet hasn't been used since then in the series... hmm, could still become an issue in the relations with the Xytrang.... even now - with apperance of Spiral Dancer - (+ comp logs?)
Maybe Daav or Val Con is destined to put up with something similar like Anne's publication about the roots of Terrans/Liadens ...

I sooo love this series ...

Oh, yes! Spiral Dance, and the baby tree crying defiance!

Sorry, I've been slowly enjoying the eArc, and just hit that great chapter -- and after chortling and chuckling, decided that I would share my enjoyment here!

One epilogue to go...

But Spiral Dance! YES!

Loved the book. Thanks so much for providing the entertainment.

For people who read more carefully than I do, where did the 7 passengers they picked up from Coderescu get dropped off? Or were they still on board, but not germaine to the story at the end of the book?

Good ending- now I want to go back and read the Crystal duology!


I'm wondering about The Carresens. I have a sneaking suspicion that they have a link back to Jethri from Balance of Trade. Note they give honor and respect to Arin as their founder and inspiration. That was Jethri's [spoiler] fathers name.

Note I replaced a word incase someone hasn't read Balance of Trade yet.

Edited at 2012-05-03 01:42 am (UTC)

But Jethri..... Arin had thrown his lot in with a independent merchant family Looper captain, despite having been a larger force to be reckoned with, and had, if not broken with his biological family leadership, chosen an er different byroute from its leadership. Jethri chose yet a different direction, from his biological and gestational antecednts, rejecting the arrangement made for him the head of his social unit. Arin years before had been setting up or trying to devise defensed and continued livelihoods for looper traders against giant corporations (there was a lot of resonance to me in that, of Andre Norton's Solar Queen series, where were the giant Combines and the small independent merchant trading ships which were trying to survive against the big corporations big shiny ships and their routes.... Heinlein at the same time came up with the family ship meme, particularly expressed in e.g. Citizen of the Galaxy. C. J. Cherry Alliance-Union universe followed those modesl, with the Family merchanter ships in Downbelow Station and Merchanter's Luck and Tripoint, and the independent ships with unrelated crew or with a mix of Family and hires (Rimrunner and tripoint).

So glad to see a mention of Fasholt and Daughters. I've wondered for years what happened there.
Wonder how Kamele and Aunt Kareen will get along?

a) Kamele despite not being a pilot lived with Kareen's irritating younger brother long enough to produce an adult daughter.
b) Kamele is not a pilot--Kareen's grudge regarding ineligiblity for Head of Line and Head of Clan status and second class status as a member of Korval due to not being a pilot, doesn't apply to Kamele--again, Kamele is not a pilot, and not a threat to further marginalize Kareen.
c) Korval is no longer on Liad, it's on Surebleak, a Terran planet, and Kamele is a Terran
d) So far Theo is not a member of Clan Korval, though she is the biological offspring of Daav yos'Phelium from from Daav was in an extended period missing from his clan masquerading as Jen Sar Kiladi
e) Kamele is a tenured Scholar and a resourceful person who successful both evaded the DoI AND prevented it from using Kamele as a hostage against Korval.
f) Kamele helped keep the former Delm Korval alive and sane during his long absence from the Clan.

Thanks so much for throwing a further great brainchild at us!

*ponders if investing in Dragon NaturallySpeaking would get us 4 books a year.... LOL

Well, if they made a "Tree and Dragon NaturallySpeaking"…

More spoiler wish list additions...

Jim Hicinbothom

2012-05-06 02:29 am (UTC)

I presume that next installment will include a significant discussion among Theo, Priscilla, Shan, Anthora, and Ren Zel (i.e., quick-start education and tutoring that Theo clearly needs to understand what's going on with her "special" skills). I have suspicion that Bechimo and Jela's Tree (Ssussdriad) and especially Edger (or other Clutch turtles) will have some interesting insights into dramliza talents and sub-etherics, and into how they interact with life-mate bond and also with Theo's "bonding" as Captain to Bechimo.

The mention of 'tools' in relation to Theo's Pilot's jacket is interesting. I hope that we learn more about the properties of the jackets.

And I thought that the "tools" were Theo's weaving. `

I had a disturbing thought last night. Galen said never to trust Spiral Dancer; so what if Spiral Dancer has corrupted the ssudruid seedling and it is now on the side of the Iloheen. It was an awfully young seedling when it was sent off on it's mission after all.

So when Edger asks Kamele her name, will she say "Kamele Waitley, Professor of the History of Education at Delgado University, Boss, Surebleak Unified School District?"

Having devoured Dragon Ship, I went right back to rereading the earlier works and am just finishing Fledgling again for the umpteenth time. I find myself longing for a scene where Cho (having hopefully survived the recent Troubles) comes by Surebleak on some kind of Scout mission and finds Kamele. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed their conversations together and would just love a chance to see them together again--under Korval's wing this time! Just sayin'.