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Carpe Diem    by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller order for
Carpe Diem
by Sharon Lee
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2003 (1989)

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* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Chance met under desperate circumstances (he was leaving the scene of a covert assignment; she was fighting for her life against a pack of hired assassins), Val Con yos' Phelium and Miri Robertson manage to escape their pursuers, only to find themselves in peril yet again. An Yxtrang vessel is at their heels, and no sane person would want to be at the non-existent mercy of the Yxtrang.

A desperate attempt wins them free of the Yxtrang's claws, but now they are marooned on an interdicted, pre-space-flight world. Not only the Yxtrang but also Val Con's shadowy superiors want them the latter not much less dangerous to their health. Also on their trail are the Juntavas, a powerful criminal organization. Complicating an already tangled mix are Val Con's well-intentioned relatives. As head of the clan, Val Con's presence is needed. Clan Korval's reach is long, but fortunately their members are canny enough to hesitate before meddling in one of Val Con's complex cases.

So now Val Con and Miri have to find a way off a world they are not supposed to approach, let alone land on. They also feel obligated to help their kindly employer, whose nation is about to be embroiled in a nasty war. Val Con suspects rightly that his superiors are more than ready to dispose of him, and both he and Miri are increasingly concerned about the unknown psychological 'bombs' hidden deep in Val Con's mind, planted there by his ruthless agency. All this without revealing to the locals that they are from off-world.

Carpe Diem is another rollicking adventure, or rather, series of adventures, from a gifted pair of writers with wildly fertile imaginations. And man, can they write! If you have visited the Liaden universe before, you will be delighted to meet old friends again, and also to be introduced to members of Clan Korval whom you have not yet met. If you're making a first visit, I would suggest you start with Conflict of Honors or Local Custom or Agent of Change, since Carpe Diem is a sequel to the latter.

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