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The Mass Market Begins To Notice
Local Custom

Steve Miller & Sharon Lee
It's nice to see the mass-market publishers noticing Miller & Lee again after so many years (this volume is actually the first half of Meishe Merlin's original omnibus volume, Pilot's Choice). My recommendation is to puchase the MM volume, though this one might make a nice give-away to acquaint friends with the Liaden Universe though it's not the story i'd choose for that -- Conflict of Honors (contained in Partners in Necessity) would be my choice in that regard, i think, were it available in a similar stand-alone version.

"Local Custom" is the story of the parents of Shan yos Galen (Captain of the Dutiful Passage in stories from Conflict of Honors onward): Terran linguistic Scholar Anne Davis and Er Thom yos Galen, and the problems they both face when Er Thom brings her home to the Korval Clanhouse and declares her his lifebonded wife and accepts their son Shan as hsi true son and heir.

In addition to the problems he faces in the ordinary way of things in introducing a Terran wife and half-Terran son into Liad's haughty society, many of the highest of whom look upon Terrans as little better than animals, there are added problems and dangers. Scholar Davis's completion of the lifework of a deceased Liaden colleague clearly demonstrates a common ancestor tongue for Liaden, Terran and even Yxtrang, the language of the barbarous Yxtrang raiders.

This is simply Not Acceptable to the snobs of the Liaden ton, challenging as it does the assumption that Liadens are the highest form of humanoid life; even less so is it acceptable to certain shadowy agencies whose isolationist goal is to assure that Liad remain "pure", untouched by "inferior" alien influences.