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Balance of Trade is the third book (chronologically) in the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and the last in the "Books of Before" sequence. It is outside the mainline story of the Agent of Change sequence, but has important background to improve enjoyment of later books. This book can easily be read standalone, and doesn't depend on the other two books in the Books of Before sequence.
In Balance of Trade, we follow the early career of Jethri Gobelyn, a young Terran trader in the early days of Terran and Liaden interaction. Jethri becomes Apprentice to Master Trader Norn van'Deen, Clan Ixin. What follows is a classic Trader tale, or a classic Coming of Age tale, or a classic Mix of Cultures tale. Or maybe all three. Whatever, it's a rousing good story and a pleasure to read!
The reading is done by Kevin T. Collins and is as superb as his reading of the other two books in this sequence. Each character has a distinctive voice, but the distinction is subtle and doesn't interfere with the narrative. The Liaden Books of Before are my first encounter with Mr. Collins' narration, but I certainly hope not my last.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
It's some centuries after Cantra yos'Phelium and Tor An yos'Galen lead the great migration from humanity's previous home universe. Jethri Gobelyn is a young trader, living and working on his family's ship, Gobelyn's Market. He knows a little bit about all the different areas he needs to know as a trader, and is learning more--including about the Liadens. He's even learning the Liaden language
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. His knowledge of Liadens is just enough to get him in a major tangle that leads learning a lot more about Liadens.
And about his deceased father. And about himself.
But most of all, he's off on a great adventure.
This is a great look at the Liaden culture, at a point when they're well established but not yet what they'll be in later ages. Jethri is a a great character, smart, curious, well-intentioned, and a lot more naive than he thinks he is. He's also finding out that all ships, and all families, have secrets, and they aren't always harmless.
We also another look at Uncle and at the "old tech" he's so involved with in later ages--and why that "old tech" is so dangerous.
Lots of fun. Recommended.
I bought this book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful