Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s 1989 Carpe Diem is the third novel published in their long-running Liaden series.
Set upon by the predatory Yxtrang, Val Con yos’Phelium makes a desperate bid to escape into faster-than-light drive. It’s successful in the sense that Val Con and his companion Miri Robertson escape horrific deaths at the hands of the Yxtrang. It’s unsuccessful in that their badly damaged ship ends up in the back of beyond, orbiting the interdicted world of Vandar.
Briefly orbiting. A forced descent follows.