Agent of Change, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, initially published in 1988, is the first book featuring the Liaden Universe. There are currently sixteen novels and numerous short stories set in this universe, with several later novels and stories set chronologically before the events in Agent of Change.
Val Con yos’Phelium, future head of Clan Korval, the most powerful of Liaden Clans has been brainwashed by the Department of the Interior, a clandestine organization intent on establishing Liaden supremacy. As the plot unfolds, he saves the life of Miri Robertson. They become involved in each other’s problems and struggle through this book and its sequels to find solutions.
This is a terrific book. It is a very fine space opera; moreover, it is a space romance. The writing is deft, the characters are well defined and complex, and the dialog is clever and witty. The only real issues are that the science part of the science fiction is sketchy and the military action seems amateurish. The writing is done well enough, and the plotting is quick enough, that these are really not noticeable. The key to good sci-fi is to enable the reader to easily suspend disbelief; Lee and Miller do this well.