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Carpe Diem
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Ace, 284 pages

Carpe Diem
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller were born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. They now live in Central Maine. Steve Miller is the founding curator of the University of Maryland's Kuhn Library Science Fiction Research Collection. In 1997, Sharon Lee was hired by SFWA as the organization's first full-time executive director.

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Website
ISFDB Bibliography: Sharon Lee
ISFDB Bibliography: Steve Miller
SF Site Review: The Tomorrow Log
SF Site Review: Pilot's Choice
SF Site Review: Partners In Necessity

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alma A. Hromic

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller continue their acclaimed Liaden Universe saga in Carpe Diem, which (as far as I have been able to gather) is the fifth novel in that series. The Lee/Miller space opera canon goes on, brimful of the usual witches' cauldron of required ingredients: duty, honour, love, betrayal and folly, not to mention mercenaries, assassins, and the rigid clan framework of Liad which governs everyone's existence.

The blurb reviews are a little disconcerting -- one calls protagonists Val Con and Miri "the most romantic couple in SF" while another describes the book as "full of action, exotic characters, plenty of plot, and even a touch of romance". How two people can read the same story and one sees only the most romantic couple in the genre and the other sees only the action and plot (with just a "touch" of romance) is an intriguing concept. However, it is probably one of the trademarks of the Lee/Miller writing partnership that they can be a little bit of all things to all people. The sheer entertainment value of their books transcends any single sub-genre; theirs is the kind of book that gives the action-man reader a subtle dose of romance, and the romantic an infusion of gung-ho action of the "full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes" variety -- and manages to entertain both of those very different people at the same time.

For myself, I enjoy these books for quite a different reason. I am a world-building aficionado, and the Liaden universe is a wonderful piece of world-building before it is anything else. I immerse myself into a carefully crafted world, sometimes a very rigid one but always self-consistent and very true to the rules of its own existence. That kind of thing always gets very high marks from me. As for the rest -- well -- I am like the other legions of fans. I read this stuff to be entertained, and the Lee/Miller partnership comes through on that.

This particular volume has been very frustrating, however. It ends on page 284 with this:

Kem hugged back, steadfastly keeping her eyes away from the shocked faces, and Val
...And Val did what...? And how many other copies of this book are there out there with this kind of cliffhanger ending? And now I have to go hunting for another copy of Carpe Diem, just to hear the other shoe drop and figure out what that last cryptic sentence leads to.

If it's anything remotely like the rest of the Liaden books, though, the rewards will be worth the hunt.

Copyright © 2003 Alma A. Hromic

Alma A. Hromic, addicted (in random order) to coffee, chocolate and books, has a constant and chronic problem of "too many books, not enough bookshelves". When not collecting more books and avidly reading them (with a cup of coffee at hand), she keeps busy writing her own. Following her successful two-volume fantasy series, Changer of Days, her latest novel, Jin-shei, is due out from Harper San Francisco in the spring of 2004.

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