Read Local Custom by Sharon Lee Steve Miller Online


Master trader Er Thom knows the local custom of Liaden is to be matched with a proper bride, and provide his prominent clan Korval with an heir. Yet his heart is immersed in another universe, influenced by another culture, and lost to a woman not of his world. And to take a Terran wife such as scholar Anne Davis is to risk his honor and reputation. But when he discovers thMaster trader Er Thom knows the local custom of Liaden is to be matched with a proper bride, and provide his prominent clan Korval with an heir. Yet his heart is immersed in another universe, influenced by another culture, and lost to a woman not of his world. And to take a Terran wife such as scholar Anne Davis is to risk his honor and reputation. But when he discovers that their brief encounter years before has resulted in the birth of a child, even more is at stake than anyone imagined. Now, an interstellar scandal has erupted, a bitter war between two families-galaxies apart-has begun, and the only hope for Er Thom and Anne is a sacrifice neither is prepared to make......

Title : Local Custom
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780441009114
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Local Custom Reviews

  • Wanda
    2019-04-04 11:50

    Local Custom has been described as a Regency romance in space. I would have to agree with that assessment. The romance between Er Thom and Anne is the major plot of the book, highlighting the differences between the two. They are not only of different social classes, but from different planetary societies. It is very much a novel of manners, as Anne tries to deal with the very honour-bound and visciously polite Liaden society that Er Thom inhabits. Think “going to Japan” on a grand scale—meeting people requires an appropriate bow, the inclination of which depends on the status of the person you are meeting relative to yourself. Add to that numerous levels of speech--high, low, familial, etc.--and the pitfalls are treacherous. Plus, like many if not all societies, outsiders are not desirable as marriage partners for one’s children. The barriers between Er Thom and Anne are substantial to say the least.Anne at least has the advantage of being familiar with Liaden language, as she is a comparative linguistics scholar and has specialized in Liaden literature. She has also produced a son, Shan, for a family line that is desperate for children. You would think that both of these attributes would make her a desirable daughter-in-law, but that would remove the major conflicts of the story line. In true romance novel style, she is too tall, too different, too foreign—too difficult for the elder generation to accept.Also true to romance norms, there is miscommunication. Er Thom assumes that his society is clear to Anne and although she realizes that she’s not fully comprehending the implications of their actions, she doesn’t feel safe asking for the required clarification.I was reminded strongly of Lois McMaster Bujold’s books about Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan (Shards of Honor and Barrayar). There is a similar flavour to the romantic problems, as both Cordelia and Anne struggle to comprehend a foreign culture, deal with prejudice, and somehow salvage a relationship of great importance. Although I’ve never been an ardent fan of the romance genre, I thoroughly enjoyed this, my first dip into the Liaden universe. It is book number 231 of my science fiction and fantasy reading project.

  • Lilia Ford
    2019-04-02 12:03

    Good solid sci-fi story with a refreshing focus on well-drawn characters and human-scaled conflicts about duty to self vs. duty to tribe, love vs. family, and the challenges of raising a child torn between two cultures. Probably longer than it needs to be, and though it does avoid info-dumps, it ends up if anything a bit too sparing of details, especially for someone totally unfamiliar with Liaden as I was. But the authors have imagined a remarkably complex culture in Liaden, inventing an incredible amount of detail on linguistic forms, clothing, address and the tiniest nuances of manner. Recommended for fans of sci-fi with a focus on human relationships and culture, rather than space battles and (faux) science.

  • Laura (Kyahgirl)
    2019-03-27 08:01

    3.5/5; 4 stars; B+Bernadette Dunne was the narrator of this book. I have kind of gotten used to Andy Caploe's voice but this narrator did a good job too. The good thing about listening to this story was I was more aware of the background conflict derived from the historical linguistics research that Anne Davis was part of. The bad thing was that after re-visiting the story I downgraded my rating. I didn't enjoy this one near as much as the Agent of Change story arc.

  • Tina
    2019-03-23 12:48

    This is a great story with a lot of subtle layers.It is at it's base a love story. A rather intense love story.But then you add in some intercultural challenges. Er Thom is an heir of the prime clan on the planet Liaden. Anne is a simple scholar from Earth. They meet and have an intense relationship for a bit before he must leave Earth to continue on with his life and the duty of his station on his planet. Both Er Thom is drawn back to Anne, unable to forget her. As they reconnect he and Anne struggle with doing what is right for both of them and their child. But Er Thom has the added fillip of needing to fulfill the necessary obligation to his line, his clan and his honor.Include a dash of soapy goodness. It is a secret baby plot! They have a child together. As per her 'local custom' she gives the child his father's surname. When Er Thom discovers he is a father, he has an obligation to make sure his child is acknowledged by his clan on his planet as per his 'local custom.' But they are unsuited as the Liadens generally look down on Terrans. And his mother is NOT pleased with his jumped up girlfriend. There are some a few great confrontational scenes that could be worthy of any glitzy soap.Finish it up with some solid world-building. We learn a lot about the Liaden culture and peoples through their language. Anne is a linguist and she understands how the Liadens communicate and many of the nuances in their language are integral in how the society interacts. But even so, she manages to miss some cues and this causes some misunderstandings between her and Er Thom. I loved that the author used language as the way to convey the cultural differences between Er Thom and Anne. It was an elegant way to introduce a system.This was a really good, solid science fiction romance that does what SFR is supposed to do, it balances very well both the science fiction and the romance and seamlessly integrates both into a wholly satifying story.

  • Gail Carriger
    2019-04-06 11:02

    I like my ending HEA and so Lee and Miller give me problems with their romantic resolutions in some of their books. Not so with this one. Probably the most "romance" of their space opera / anthropology Liaden Universe series, that's also probably why I like it best. I started the universe with this book, and it's the only one I ended up keeping. (Though I did dither over a few of the others during one of my many book shelf purges, but this is the one I always come back to.)If you are a fan of romantic sci-fi this book should be on your too read list. More sci-fi and anthropology than it is romance, there is just something about the details of this universe that seem to have wide-scale appeal.Be warned, though, some of the later books in this series are OP and ridiculously hard to get hold of.A word on co-authorships. I love love love male-female author pairingd. I don't know why but this dynamic always seems to add richness to the books, with excellent characterization and brilliant world-building. Doyle & McDonald and Feist & Wurts also have this dynamic in the bag.

  • Kathleen
    2019-04-11 14:53

    Chronologically, this follows Balance of Trade, set about 200-300 years earlier. I read this in The Dragon Variation e-book collection. In essence, this is a romance novel, complete with sex. It's not steeped in science fiction, with only one or two intergalactic flights and some empathic and telepathic exchanges. For the most part, it could have occurred on Earth, today or in the past. The authors suggest is is similar to a Regency Romance, set in ~1800 England. I would agree; there are lords and ladies, butlers and maids, bowing and scraping, and a fully prescribed set of social protocols. Granted, there is a slight intrigue, including murder, but these scenes felt secondary, a device for Er Thom to prove his love and life-mate bond with Anne.As a romance, the writing is decent, but not outstanding. A little boring and slow at times, but also moving and poignant. The big misunderstanding trope gets old in the romance genre, but at least it was contextualized as language and tradition barriers across cultures. The hero, Er Thom yos'Galan, is truly a sympathetic and admirable character. His pain almost brought a tear or two. The heroine, Anne Davis, a linguistics scholar, behaved exactly as I would have done, given the same set of circumstances. Glad this book has a happy-ever-after ending. My favorite secondary characters are little Shan and Pat Rin. Highly sympathetic. I disliked Kareen, causing her son (Pat Rin) nightmares. I liked Pat Rin's foster father, Luken bel Tarda, a rug merchant. Daav yos'Phelium (billionaire head of the Korval Clan) is an interesting, textured character. Could see more of him -- and will, in the sequel. I felt sorry for old Petrella, Er Thom's dying, pain-riddled mother, but also appalled by her cruelty. Quibbles:I read the series in chronological order, making this book number four. Some things ring true to the prequels, but I also felt a disconnect. In books one and two (Crystal Soldier (The Great Migration Duology, #1) and Crystal Dragon (The Great Migration Duology, #2) the authors make such a BIG DEAL of Jela's sentient tree, a ssussdriad. The characters talk to Tree, and Tree talks to them in images, warns them of perils, nourishes them, and medicates them with specially created seedpods. The relationship is familial. As the front cover shows, Tree is important to this series. However, in this book, Tree (now ~1330 years old and towering over the valley) is simply admired. Er Thom, Anne, and young Shan are right there, at the foot of Jelaza Kazone (Tree's name means "Jela's fulfillment") and they barely even acknowledge it. Neither Er Thom nor Anne greet Tree, nor do they touch it. Tree offers no seedpods. (But Daav climbs Tree. So at least there's that.) So much for the wondrous race of ssussdriads, and this once-little treelet, who somehow held out against the world-eating shereikas.Minor Quibble: I wanted more time spent between shy, wary Pat Rin (age 6) and his exuberantly outgoing new cousin Shan, age 3. And what was in the gift box? Lol.

  • Marlene
    2019-04-05 14:46

    Originally published at Reading RealityI have been meaning to re-read the Liaden Universe books for a while now. I loved them when I initially read them (meaning I swallowed them whole) in 2005-2006, but haven't kept up with the newer ones. That "so many books, so little time" problem rears its ugly little head yet again.When I heard that Audible was releasing the entire series in audio, I decided that was my opportunity. I could listen to everything! "Foolish Terran!"as the Liadens might say.Sometimes when we revisit a beloved book we remember fondly, the re-read makes us wonder what we saw in it the first time. Memory does not hold up on close re-inspection. This was absolutely not the case with Liaden.I started with Local Custom, because that's where I started the first time. There are multiple possible entry points for the Liaden Universe, but two of the traditional ones are Local Custom or Agent of Change. (Agent of Change was written first but Local Custom occurs first in the internal chronology with most of the same cast of characters.)The story is every bit as marvelous the second time around as it was the first time. Possibly more so, as I understand the background without remembering every single detail of each individual book.Local Custom is both space opera and romance. Er Thom yos'Galan knows his duty to his clan is to take a contract wife and provide his clan with an heir. Duty to the clan is everything to a Liaden. But his heart is still fixed on the Terran scholar Anne Davis, a woman he met while overseeing his clan's far-ranging business as a Master Trader. He should have let the thought of her go long since, but he cannot. So he takes leave of all his obligations, and they are more than Anne Davis ever knew they were, to see her one last time, and say a final "Goodbye". Only to discover that she has already given him his heir, not knowing that the Master Trader she loved is actually heir to the richest clan on Liaden. And that she and her son are now pawns in a deadly game.Escape Rating A+: I wish I had more pluses to give. I started to listen to the Audible recording, and became so caught up in the story that I found myself hunting for excuses to do things that would let me listen longer. I wasn't getting anything else done!I gave up and bought the entire ebook bundle from Baen, and finished the book that way. I enjoyed the audio, but it was just taking too long. My only regret about the audio is that Audible wasn't able to get the rights for the original audio recording by Michael Shanks. I would love to hear him read the story as Er Thom.If you enjoy space opera, and have never read the Liaden Universe books, start now. If you like romance in your science fiction, start with Local Custom. If you prefer more adventure and intrigue in the mix, choose Agent of Change as your starting point. But start now.

  • Kerry
    2019-04-16 11:45

    A totally lovely reread of a series that has been a keeper ever since a friend introduced me to it. I moved to hardcover with the series and eagerly await new books.I decided to go in chronological order for my reread and I found myself wondering if this would be the best way for a new reader to go. There were parts where I found myself harking back to what I could remember of the later books (which were, in fact, written first). It'll be interested to see what I think when I get up to the ones that were written first.I have taken copious notes (does anyone know how to get the annotations I've put on a Stanza ebook back off the phone to save for future reference?) mostly on things I think might be important later. Doing this, does make me feel like I've taken the entirety of the book on board this time, which I don't think I did on a first reading where I was eager to see where the story went. These are definitely books that need to be reread.I could see some of the romance tropes the authors choose to use in their SF book - mostly the "big misunderstanding" where the hero and heroine are at odds over something that could be solved with a conversation. The difference here is that Lee and Miller had it work by introducing the differing "local customs" of Liad and Terra, so even when Er Thom and Anne thought they were communicating, they were sometimes at cross purposes without knowing it because of their different base points of understanding. This is a major part of the book - it is its title after all - and I think it is done well. As is the resolution, when finally, each works out that they had taken the other's words according to their own meaning and takes the time to work out what the other had meant according to that other's own understanding.I am really enjoying rereading the series, and I look forward to picking up Scout's Progress after a break reading something else. The random number generator picked Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince, so I'll give that a try tomorrow morning.

  • Laura (Kyahgirl)
    2019-04-11 10:50

    4.5/5; 5 stars; AI re-read this book recently as I've decided to go for a foray into the Liaden Universe and re-aquaint myself with the old books as I add in the newer books. Re-reading this book was a joy, from start to finish. I was astonished that I had overlooked or forgotten so many little things in the story. What struck me most strongly when I re-read this book was the concept of Liaden honour and the clan system. I don't think it really hit home the first time. The characters in this book were vivid, complex, and engaging. The reader gets the most intriguing hints of mysteries to be unraveled, such as the combined history of the Liadens and the Terrans. It is not a key plot point to the story but rather, a part of the intricate weaving of the world that the authors have created over many books and short stories. The romantic storyline in this book was much stronger than in other Liaden Universe books. I also enjoyed the hints of magic and supernatural type powers (healing, empathic connection) that are introduced.

  • Kathy Martin
    2019-03-20 07:43

    This is one of my favorite science fiction romances. I have read it more times than I can count. Er Thom yos'Galan, Clan Korval, falls in love with linguistics scholar Anne Davis. But the fact that they are from two very different cultures causes a lot of misunderstanding and pain until they work through a way to their "happily ever after." I love the language, the melodrama, and the story.

  • Monica
    2019-04-17 14:53

    Am not and never have been a huge fan of romance novels. Liaden adventures seem to be romance novels in a scifi setting. Not for me...

  • Linda
    2019-04-06 09:44

    Local Custom has a secret baby plot and space elves, so I was pretty much sold from the get-go. Jokes aside, the majority of the plot actually revolves around miscommunications caused by cultural differences between Anne who is a Terran (basically us) and Er Thom who is a Liaden (a race of humans with a highly stratified and formal clan culture and Aryan Nation levels of dislike for race mixing with Terrans). This had all the makings of a story about racism, xenophobia and cultural differences but, unfortunately, none of the bite. I thought the relationship between Anne and Er Thom was well developed and really liked how the differences between them were caused by the sorts of misunderstandings that arise between two people from very different cultures. However, everyone around them behaved in confusingly inconsistent ways and the major problem keeping our young lovers apart (the dude's mother being a bigot basically) was solved by the romance equivalent of a deus ex machina and none of the fucked up Lianden cultural attitudes were actually directly addressed—Anne was just absorbed into an honestly pretty fucking disturbing culture (I mean, (view spoiler)[at one point the grown man's mother threatens to whip him in public as is her right to do as the leader of her Line, at another point the clan leader demands the dude have his memory of Anne wiped (hide spoiler)]). While the book overall was enjoyable, it was such a disappointing use of the setup.

  • WillowBe
    2019-03-26 15:59

    So this is sci-fi romance at it's best; Romance with a capital "R". The sweetest and tenderest hero I've read for along time. Maybe even ever, he made himself so Beta to her Alpha.The most intersting element for me was the discomfort felt about the level of affection Daav expressed for Thom and the modes of expression. I love my M/M, but these interactions freaked me out, esp since they are first cousins. I kept telling myself "Get your mind out of the gutter!These are innocent expressions of caring among a diffrent culture. Stop with with prurience!". But alas, my mind is irreversably stained, so I instead became fascinated with it(Terrible, awful, dirty fanfic, anyone?).For 15+, assuming they are well-acquainted with the facts of Life and Love. And though I loved Thoms's stalkerish devotion- a man who gives it all up for his woman, and has big violet eyes and a big, fat- wallet- what's not to like?- I would like very much to read more about Daav, who seems much more my speed. Requests to my local library will be made shortly!

  • Kiri
    2019-03-30 07:44

    Just reread this for sheer pleasure. After loaning it to my cousin who doesn't read much SF I can see that the volume of jargon could easily waylay someone who is new to the Liaden universe and/or not accustomed to reading SF/F, with it's tendency to layer on the language differences.But Lee and Miller write as if they themselves were Liadens, with delicacy and a sensitivity to nuance that seems "other"; they use certain words and terms in a way that has really become their own - certain ones pop up frequently, i.e. "ghosting" to describe someone sneaking light-footed down a hallway. Also a tendency to anthropomorphize inanimate objects, in a way that has become dear to me. This book and its companion featuring Daav and Aelliana are closer to studies of culture and culture-clash than the rest of the Liaden ouvre (far more space opera and action/adventure). Once one gets into this book the amazing portrayal of how hard it is to understand cultural differences comes to the fore.

  • Sbuchler
    2019-04-03 14:53

    Genre: Space Opera, Audio BookThe audio edition of this book is very compelling; it's read by Michael Shanks (of Stargate fame) and his is a very nuanced reading, despite seeming like an "invisible narrator" - not getting in the way of the words at all. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it's addictive - it made me go and re-read all the other books in the Agent-of-Change series! I'm not sure how much sense the book would make without some background with the other books in the series, as the entire crux of the plot is a (serious) cultural misunderstanding between the heroine (who is Terran) and the hero (who is Liaden). They actually try to talk it out multiple times, but the cultural divide is serious enough that they don't manage to convey either's cultural response to their son. Without a prior introduction to Liaden clan structure I'm not sure if the book would pack the same punch.

  • David Chittenden
    2019-03-23 09:01

    This is the best book I have read by these authors thus far. I would rate it more than 5 stars if I could. The authors do an excellent job of showing the confusions and conflicts which so readily arise when extremely different cultures come together and collide. I am a multicultural specialist, and I am a white man from the US. My partner, on the other hand, is a Chinese lady from Malaysia who has never been to the States. Together, we are living the life of navigating two very different filial cultures whilst living in a third country away from the other two. The authors illustrate the struggles, the compromises, and how essential patience, understanding, humour, and willingness to step outside one's own perspective is, when one desires a healthy relationship with someone from a very different culture.

  • Denise
    2019-03-26 15:49

    Culture clash! Epic culture clash! Glorious, unrepentant epic culture clash! I'm really not objective about this one -- there is nothing I like more than epic unrepentant culture clash in all its myriad forms -- but then again, who is objective about the books they love? I can't decide if this is the perfect introduction to the Liaden universe -- as again, it is a side-story, taking us back to the previous generation -- or if it's a treat that should be saved for later on once the reader has more background and familiarity with the cultures involved. But either way, this one is an old friend.

  • Debrac2014
    2019-04-11 14:57

    I found the story to be slow moving until Er Thom and Anne arrived on Liad. Then it flowed faster. All I had read in previous books about Anne and Er Thom encouraged me to read this story but I was disappointed a bit with the characters. I think I expected Er Thom to be more like Daav. And Petrella was a huge disappointment, so much like Daav's sister Kareen! Over all, Local Custom was an interesting story.

  • Hilary
    2019-04-15 07:48

    I should have known better than to reread some of the short stories because I wanted something quick... they always pull me back into the universe, and then I have to decide where to start rereading - chronological beginning, logical beginning, a central book, an edge book, a specific character or plot point...

  • Robin
    2019-04-15 15:44

    The audio version of this book is outstanding! No, really. Michael Shanks doesn't just read the book, he reads the story. Everything from emotion to things as simple as clearing his throat (as the book directs) is perfectly placed. I can't recommend this audio highly enough, and I wish they (Buzzy multimedia) would do the rest of the series.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-03 09:55

    My favorite science fiction novels often concern the huge gaps in misunderstanding when 2 cultures meet...this book was a wonderful example of this. How two honorable beings can misconstrue each others meanings and intentions, by ascribing to them the definition of honorable that holds true for their own culture.

  • Ian Suddreth
    2019-04-09 10:06

    Didn't really feel like a space opera to me, no matter what the cover said.

  • Karen
    2019-04-16 15:01

    I honestly don't know any more superlatives to give this series. So, I will just say that I enjoyed this entry as much as the other six books I have read.

  • Tracy
    2019-04-14 09:02

    3.5* Felt like the heroine was acting out of character at the ending (I don't believe she would have drawn the conclusions about the H that she did). I also felt like, being an expert in Liaden literature, she should have been better able to predict Er Thom's reaction to her choice to have his child. Also, who names their character "Er"? This is my first foray into the Liaden universe so maybe it's an honorific that I didn't pick up on, but still.

  • Milady133
    2019-04-06 09:54

    A change in the rhythm from previous books (I'm reading them in publication order, instead of the chronological order of the stories)This book has a bit of action at the end, but it's mainly a story about culture clash, and it expands the information about Liaden culture. Very entertaining, although for people more interested in the adventures part of the series it might seem slow.

  • Allie
    2019-04-04 08:04

    Interesting ballencing different customs

  • Jeanie T
    2019-04-04 07:55

    Shows cultural differences very well. Enjoyed the culture, not so much the story. I have high hopes for other books in the series.

  • Amy
    2019-03-21 15:11

    This was like a Regency Romance in space! Great writing and such a pleasure to read

  • Roger
    2019-03-27 13:09

    Very Good- really liked the little bit of Cantra's history that we got, wish there was more. I read this from the "Pilots Choice' omnibus

  • LordOfDorkness
    2019-04-07 13:49