Cold Welcome is set in the Vatta Universe, with some of the familiar characters from Vatta’s War and a sizeable cast of new ones. It’s currently in revision, Editor having found many ways to improve it. In the interim between sending it in and getting Editor’s Letter, other things piled up on the desk and the printer died (I don’t think those were related) and so naturally one of the useful background compilations has quietly vanished. I expect I’ll find it after I reconstruct it. Part of it is in the computer, in the “Names” file (every book has a “Names” file) but some of it was hand-scribbled notes on the printout, the very note that Editor would like me to make more use of. Um. Tomorrow.
I can’t tell you much about it without spoilers. Or (if you’ve read Vatta’s War) tedious infodumping about stuff you already know. Or both. So I will say that, um…well…you have probably had the trip back home after you’d left home in which nothing goes the way you planned, right? You think you know what you’re getting into (another Thanksgiving or whatever holiday it is, maybe mildly boring because it’s your mother’s kitchen and thus her recipes and you won’t get to show off that you’re now a good cook on your own, but still warm and cozy and just like always) and then it turns inside out and upside down and suddenly you’re ready to throw a tantrum like a child because it’s All Wrong…that kind of thing. You may even have sworn you would never go back (maybe you never did.)
There’s an element of this in the book. Escalated to the point of actual danger, not just imagining how nice it would be if X would fall off a boardwalk and twist his/her ankle so you could load him/her up with painkillers and put him/her to bed so everyone else would have some peace. More exciting than that. After this book, however, you might come to think that merely having to hear Aunt A tell the story about the goose on the floor yet again, or put up with Cousin B’s attempt to embarrass you because of that thing when you were eleven, or even having to choke down a serving of your grandmother’s favorite boiled vegetable (and your least favorite) is more bearable than some kinds of exciting.
But yes, Ky Vatta is in it. Ky’s cousin Stella. Rafe. Rafe’s sister Penny. Ky’s and Stella’s great-aunt Grace. Some complicated chain of command situations. I can say (since the signs of this were already showing in Victory Conditions, last of the Vatta’s War books) that Ky is not entirely thrilled with the life of a Grand Admiral’s day to day life when there’s not a war on. She’s not that comfortable with politics and protocol. And Rafe is not entirely thrilled with the day to day life of a CEO in a huge unwieldy corporation now that it no longer has a complete monopoly on interstellar communications. Paper pushing was never his strong point either.
They have made multiple attempts to arrange a quiet vacation together–plans interrupted repeatedly by niggly annoying interruptions, and this book is not a chronicle of any such trip. (It was going to be, but then Aunt Grace happened.) No, it’s the kind of book for which reading Lawrence Gonzales’s Deep Survival was good preparation. Also Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. And others.