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Trade Secret

(Liaden Universe #4)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,257 ratings  ·  123 reviews
The Liaden Universe ® Saga Continues! Star-spanning galactic trader Jethri Gobelyn adventures are the focus in book 17 by master storytellers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Sequel to Trade Pact.

In a universe full of interstellar intrigue and burgeoning commerce novice Terran trader Jethri Gobelyn, adopted by a Liaden clan after an ill-directed bow of honor insulted the scion
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Baen (first published July 25th 2012)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  1,257 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
2 1/2 Stars

This book is a disappointment as a sequel to Balance of Trade. In Balance of Trade you follow along with Jethri as he learns the customs and politics and environments of the alien culture he had become immersed in. In Trade Secret, though this book continues right where the other left off, that literary device to aid the reader to understand all of the vernacular and world building is omitted. Gone. Suddenly Jethri knows everything and you are left in the dark.

I got the Crystal Var
Laura (Kyahgirl)
2/5; 2 stars; C

I can't recommend this one, even to fans of the series. I really enjoy Jethri and Balance of Trade is a great story featuring him. Jethri shines in this one too but its hard to see that shine.
This was a disappointing jumble of ideas and information. There were a few nuggets to treasure buried in amongst the effluvia but geez, it wasn't worth the effort to find them.

Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, read-in-2013
As a long-time Liaden fan, I hate to say this, but I found this one a disappointing instalment. While it was interesting to see a different part of the Liaden universe, the plot was just too obscure to keep my interest and I ended up skimming at times.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Liaden treat!

Mmm, here's the difficulty about reading a Liaden Universe book, I immediately want to reread those that have come before, those that come after, those that follow other characters, and those that are just there in tandem. I settled for rereading Balance of Trade, but I've since found myself once more up to my elbows in all things Liaden, and enjoying every moment.
Having been a longtime fan of the Liaden Universe it's absolutely fantastic when another piece of the puzzle is
I so enjoy escaping into the Liaden universe. Good, honorable characters, who respect and encourage others are so edifying! 4/19/16 re-read so good I stayed up till 5am. There is a joy, a deep delight in immersing one's self in the worlds created by Lee and Miller. They are masterful authors!
Jacqueline J
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, owned
First off I'm about the biggest fan of the Liaden Universe you're going to find. But I have to say that if you aren't pretty well versed in the Liaden Universe, I think you'd be pretty lost reading this book. That being said I enjoyed it. Maybe not as much as Balance Of Trade. The reason being that Lee and Miller's books have been getting more difficult to follow, more convoluted as the years have gone on. There were parts of the action that were not totally clear. Lots of intuitive leaps a read ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I am torn. In some ways this is some of the most thoughtful world building Lee and Miller have ever done. For example, the scene where two independently owned trade starships circle around each other with cameras to allow the crews to inspect the exteriors of their own ships for problems...brilliant and I never heard of that idea in any SF before.

On the other hand, the world building, often more at a personal interrelation level, is so dense as to impede the flow of the plot, and to slow the rea
Sequel to Balance of Trade (found in the omnibus The Crystal Variation, which I devoured last year.) Not quite as charming as its predecessor, though--and occasionally I wondered whether an awkward phrase or sentence was due to an editing mishap, or simply to the idiosyncratic manner in which Liadens and Terrans express themselves. (Liadens tend to speak like nineteenth-century aristocrats, and the Terrans just sound like hicks. Or at least all the Gobelyns do; there are plenty of well-spoken Te ...more
Aug 04, 2013 marked it as maybe-or-not
The jury is still out on this one. I may not even read it, unless it contributes to the larger plot and the Dept of Interior.

Prolly I will not buy this, even though I liked Jethri in Balance of Trade. Apparently, it does little to advance the current plot. "Mud!" as Jethri the agoraphobic spacer might say. Why go back in time, while meanwhile Daav is vulnerable, Surebleak is besieged, and Korval is relentlessly hunted across the galaxy? Moreover, the seam between the old universe and the new app
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, sci-fi, 2015
It's never quite as much fun following a character who's mostly gotten his life together properly as it is to follow them when they're still confused, but I enjoyed this regardless.

But it was great to see what I assume is the very beginning of the Department of the Interior and the brief references to Clan Korval (though I kept expecting some ancestor of Shan yos'Galen to swoop in with a perfect glass of wine).

Most of the hanging plot threads from Balance of Trade are now about as wrapped up as
Laura (Kyahgirl)
This comment is only for the audiobook version. I started this several times and couldn't continue because the narrator was not suited to the book, at all. I couldn't stand listening because the noninflected voice seemed much more suited to a non-fiction book. The vocal variety offered by Kevin Collins was not engaging at all.

I own the ebook of this story and intend to read it and fully expect to enjoy it as much as the many Liaden Universe stories I've read over the years.
I always enjoy reading (and re-reading) the books in this series. :)
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the series of books in the Liaden Universe, but this one was not as captivating as Balance of Trade; however it is an important addition to the series. I would even go so far as to say I would like another book in the Jethri arc.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the story line slow moving but I did enjoy the book!
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Liaden fans
This is a direct sequel to Balance of Trade. The authors have stated that Balance of Trade was originally written as a stand-alone book within the Liaden Universe, but that many fans had asked "What happened to Jethri afterwards?"

Although Trade Secret has many of the same characters, it has a different feel. Balance of Trade was more character driven and had more world-building. The reader was introduced to the Liaden culture along with Jethri. In Trade Secret, the Liaden/Terran culture conflict
Disclaimer: The Liaden novels are some of my all-time favorites, and I am devoted to Lee and Miller.

This latest installment just did not achieve the greatness of all the others. I felt confused throughout the first half, and certain things still did not make sense even by the end. I ended up reading the whole thing without trying to go back and make sense of it. Would I have done that if I were reading a paper copy? I'm not sure - but on an eReader, it's not worth it.

The first of Jethri's stor
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.25 stars (but still 4 on Amazon) : I liked it.
Parts read a bit slow (what Gail Carriger would call chewy), with technicalities of trade law and melant'i — oh, and piloting, unexpectedly — but Jethri is still a likable lead, as he gets more lessons and experience, both intimate and in commerce.
Again, occasional chapters are from Khat's PoV, aboard the newly refitted and refurbished Gobelyn's Market, as the crew settles into a new dynamic, and encounters continuing repercussions and rumors from
Joe Martin
The continuing adventures of Jethri Gobelyn—Liaden Trader, Terran Trader, the one man with good standing in two cultures. Jethri had loaned the Liaden Scouts a notebook he inherited from his father. It was supposed to be copied and then returned to him. It wasn’t returned. Balance was required. Jethri teamed up with a Liaden Scout, to track down and recover his stolen notebook.

The notebook, of course, is a MacGuffin. It’s an excuse to send Jethri and the Scout from port to port, world to world,
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, sf
First, I was already excited, knowing that this was finally being released. Getting an ARC was just a happy added bonus, and I was not disappointed.

"Trade Secret" continues Jethri's story, started in Balance of Trade. Jethri, self-described trader and changeling, is trying to maintain balance between two worlds, his Terran heritage from the ship Gobelyn's Market and his adoptive Liaden heritage through Ixin, but imposter syndrome keeps threatening to unbalance him.

Most of the Liaden books show
Oct 18, 2013 rated it liked it
While this book was a nice read, it wasn't as well written as most of the other Liaden universe books. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of the other books in this series I've read. This one though, left me feeling as if it were thrown together. There's just too much in it that doesn't flow well, parts that add nothing to the story line, and even things that aren't explained. Usually, the Liaden books are excellent reads, have wonderful story engrossment, and leave me wanting more. After finishing thi ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Not my favorite of the Liaden books, but having a few good moments.

I wouldn't recommend reading it without reading the prequels though. I've read them, but maybe a year ago and I didn't remember most of the characters and what was going on, and that was a problem because little background was given.

While I enjoyed Jethri's continued story, the novel didn't seem to sparkle as much as other Liaden novels. Part of the problem was the info dumps in the beginning. I get that Jethri had a lot to lear
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Jethri sets out to reclaim his stolen property and uncovers a Terran plan developed by his mysterious father and involving secret new trade routes and a potential shift in relations between Terrans and Liaden. Unfortunately, the authors are going in the same direction that C.J. Cherryh has been taking with her "Foreigner" series---that is, becoming so focused on elaborating their created cultures and characters that the plots are taking a back seat to wordy ruminations and "atmospheric" dialect. ...more
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book reminds me, tragically, of the authors' previous "Mouse and Dragon" -- because, like that book, "Trade Secret" is an indifferent sequel to a really good book. "Scout's Progress" was one of my favourite Liaden books, but "Mouse and Dragon" was no better than so-so. And so it is with "Trade Secret". The previous book, "Balance of Trade," was marvellous...but this is just a muddled mess.
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I really liked Balance of Trade, the first book with Jethri in it, but this one was boring. Tons of random details that end up having nothing to do with the story - if you can even say there's a story, the plot was pretty thin as well. I got really tired of all the bows-with-explanations (if you've read the book you'll know what I mean). I thought the premise that a Scout would go flying all over the galaxy just to get Jethri's book back to be pretty thin. I just didn't care for this one.
Rita C
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's very involved and at first I was a bit discouraged by this, but I persevered and all of the threads pulled together to a complete and satisfying conclusion. :)

This book is more of Jethri's story. He was the protagonist in the novella "Balance of Trade". That story and this one fall somewhere in the timeline between the distant past novels and all of the more current books.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Good, but I don't find much Wow factor in Jethri's story. There's an overarcing story with old tech and developing new trade routes, trying to use increased and free trade to stave off a species war; on the personal level, he faces down a bully (a nasty piece of work) and learns about his heritage.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked the continuation of Jethri's story and the other view of Uncle and Terran Liaden trading.
But was Arin's secret the Venturi tables that the Caylon then updated?
Peta Mcdonough
Feb 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Probably the worst Lee and Miller book I've ever read. I gave up half way which is really surprising since normally I can't put their books down.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks, 2019, 8, sf, author-reads
Phew, I made it. This was my last challenge for the SFF180 Space Opera September challenge and I've finished it on the last day of the month.

This was the last Liaden book I had never read. I'm not quite sure why as I had enjoyed Balance of Trade and it came out 7 years ag,o in 2012, so I've had plenty of time. I have a suspicion I was rereading the main series and didn't want to jump out of that sequence to go back in time to more of Jethri's story. So it sat of the shelf, and probably felt terr
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m rereading the Liaden books and stories in universe order. I remember this book being somewhat boring the first time I read it. It didn’t improve on rereading.

It’s too bad as Jethri is a likable character, and unlike other reviewers, I was fine with his sexual escapades. But the plot was slim and murky. I never really did understand what Arin’s plan was or why it had to be a secret. There were mysterious meetings with lawyers that hammered out… something, and a meeting with the Uncle which r
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Sharon Lee has been married to her first husband for more than half her lifetime; she is a friend to cats, a member of the National Carousel Association, and oversees the dubious investment schemes of an improbable number of stuffed animals.

Despite having been born in a year of the dragon, Sharon is an introvert. She lives in Maine because she likes it there. In fact, she likes it so much that she

Other books in the series

Liaden Universe (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Crystal Soldier (The Great Migration Duology, #1; Liaden Universe, #1)
  • Crystal Dragon (The Great Migration Duology, #2; Liaden Universe, #2)
  • Balance of Trade (Liaden Universe, #3)
  • Local Custom (Liaden Universe, #5)
  • Scout's Progress (Liaden Universe, #6)
  • Mouse and Dragon (Liaden Universe, #7)
  • Conflict of Honors (Liaden Universe, #8)
  • Agent of Change (Liaden Universe, #9)
  • Carpe Diem (Liaden Universe, #10)
  • Plan B (Liaden Universe, #11)

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