It was The Vondish Ambassador, by Lawrence Watt-Evans. It's one of his Ethshar books, which I love. It's a great setting, and he explains just a little more of it in each book. I read it with a little bit of an eye for the craft of construction, and it was interesting to start to see some bones beneath the skin. (I believe it was written as a serial, and I can definitely see moments where it looks like the author is working out the whys and wherefores of something that he dropped in in an earlier chapter without more than a vague idea where it was coming from.)
Bill was in town, so we had games at Jeff's last night. I played Kachina, and Draco Mundis, and two fast games of Race For the Galaxy. Kachina is interesting, and a decent short game. Draco Mundis was fun, and I won, but that was more due to other players making blunders (especially in setup) than any brilliant play on my part. I lost both games of Race building very nice engines that were just about to get started when the military players (Joe in particular) ended the game. Whoops. I ate lots of fruit and vegetables, because that's what everybody brings to snack now that we all have gotten old and fat. Got home at 2:30 am.
Now I am making gazpacho for potluck. It's cloudy and likely to rain, and I'm not sure if I'll bother with fireworks this year, but it's hard to keep me away from a random social gathering with food.