BattleTech fans love their House Liao jokes and for many years, much of that was well earned. Mad Max and Romano Liao both made the faction easy to be a punching bag and a source of memes. For many years, if not decades, Loren Coleman has been one of the few writers that can easily tackle House Liao with the dignity they deserve. The Capellans are a BattleTech faction that are tricky to write. It’s not just the politics that makes it difficult, it is a very unique and closed culture. There are language nuances as well.
Then came Jason Schmetzer with Blood Will Tell. Well Loren is no longer alone in the mastery of House Liao’s quirkiness and resolve. Schmetzer is in the house!
I won’t ruin the story for you. This is set just before the ilClan era and focuses on the Chancellor’s daughter, Danai Liao-Centrella. For the first time in many ages, House Liao is ruled by a solid leader, Daoshen. Danai has been a wonderful character for being feet on the ground, a warrior, piloting a legendary Centurion.
This story is Danai’s emergence as an in-depth character. She chaffs at the demands of court and the Confederation. She wants to fight the enemies of her realm. More is expected of her than fighting a war against what is left of the Republic of the Sphere.
Jason masterfully presents some great characters, supporting and otherwise. His development of Danai and the crafting of her character arc is done humbly and with the utmost respect to the franchise. Jason is further solidifying himself as a top-notch BattleTech author with this novel. This is not faint praise, but genuine admiration.
I loved this book. There was one point where I was stunned. What was more shocking was that for the first time in years, I found myself actually rooting for the Capellan Confederation. I can’t wait for his next book!