A Day at the Races, excerpt

A Day at the Races excerpt

  • Short story featuring Clan Korval
  • Published in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume I
  • Also published in To Cut an Edge: Adventures in the Liaden Universe #1
  • A prequel to Shadow Partner, featuring Captain Shadow / Val Con
    • which begins where A Day at the Races ends
  • see The Books (and other stories)



  • The cha'leket bond between Val Con and Shan yos'Galan
  • Problem-solving, ingenuity, inspiration
  • Prickly interactions with Aunt Kareen yos'Phelium
  • Interesting interactions between Pat Rin yos'Phelium and his mother -- and his cousins
  • The drive to excel. Flaran Cha'ment'i.
    • Val Con and Shan pushing each other and Araceli to dangerous speeds
    • Araceli is the name of the skimmer they race


Lady Kareen: “But when upon Liad, one must dress according to one’s station. In the evening, one must always wear a cloak.” She took a deep breath. “That the delm-to-be should be so ill-mannered—”

But Val Con wasn’t listening. “Cloak,” he murmured. “Of course a cloak . . .” He came to his feet, made his bow and was all but running past Nova’s chair, his fingers barely brushing her cheek. “Aunt, I thank you — your instruction is superlative. Pray forgive my hastiness — Jeeves!” he cried as he passed from the room. “Bring your calculator! I must have a new cloak!”

The robot charged after in a thunder of wheels, orange head-ball flaring. “My calculator is ever at hand, Captain.”


Kareen: “Why should you race skimmers, sir? In all the generations since the clans came to Liad no one of Korval has ever raced skimmers!”

“And before Cantra yos’Phelium and Tor An yos’Galan landed the colony ship on this world, no one of Korval had done that, either,” Val Con said. Suddenly, his eyes were sharp; his voice ice-edged. “Your argument, Lady, falls short.”

The Right Noble pulled herself up. Pat Rin gasped. Shan bit his tongue.


Araceli passed number six and was gaining on the leaders, who were starting to bunch up into the braking zone for the curve. Pat Rin tensed. Korval’s entry was hurtling on — deeper and deeper into the braking zone! Madness to take the corner at that speed — He came to his feet, Nova beside him, Anthora hanging on her arm...