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Trade Secret (Liaden Universe Novels) Hardcover – November 5, 2013

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Trade Secret (Liaden Universe Novels) + A Liaden Universe Constellation, Vol. 2 + A Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume I
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Product Details

  • Series: Liaden Universe Novels
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451639295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451639292
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Maine-based writers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller teamed up in the late 80s to bring the world the story of Kinzel, a inept wizard with a love of cats, a thirst for justice, and a staff of true power. Since then, the husband-and-wife team have written dozens of short stories, and eighteen novels, most set in their star-spanning Liaden Universe®. Before settling down to the serene and stable life of a science fiction and fantasy writer, Steve was a traveling poet, a rock-band reviewer, reporter, and editor of a string of community newspapers. Sharon, less adventurous, has been an advertising copywriter, copy editor on night-side news at a small city newspaper, reporter, photographer, and book reviewer. Both credit their newspaper experiences with teaching them the finer points of collaboration. Sharon and Steve passionately believe that reading fiction ought to be fun, and that stories are entertainment. Steve and Sharon maintain a web presence at

Customer Reviews

You are left with confusion about how the characters fit into the story.
KC Stewart
This series never disappoints, even the small chap books are well worth the reading.
By the end the reader loves the characters and is deeply satisfied with the story.
Betsy V. Brown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By eyes.2c on November 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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 long time fan of the Liaden Universe it's absolutely fantastic when another piece of the puzzle is revealed, opening up new vistas, sometimes solving old mysteries and ever, ever delightful.
I first met Jethri Gobelyn in 'Balance of Trade'. Jethri, a Terran trader was adopted by the Liaden clan Ixin, having solved an issue that had impinged the clan's honour. Balance and Necessity, two Liaden concepts, part of Liaden melant'i (code of behaviour and order of things) came into play. At that time Jethri was looking for another ship to work on. In that interaction Jethri, 'found his ship,'
'On the clan ship Elthoria, he [is] Jethri the trader, son of the trader ven'Deelin, the family name, Ixin the clan.'
Sent by his adopted mother Norn ven'Deelin to a trade meeting, Jethri is also trying to recover artifacts inherited from his father, Arin Gobelyn, that he'd lent to the Scouts and that had not been returned. Touching as they do upon old technology, more than one party appears interested. Scout Ter'Astin, his melant'i having been touched by this Scout inaction, is helping Jethri to reclaim his belongings, his birthright. What is Jethri's birthright? The mysteries surrounding his father are matters that occupy Jethri's thoughts. Why his mother seems unable to bear the sight of him is another question.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Al-Amri VINE VOICE on October 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you didn't read about Jethri before, there is enough in here for you to understand the story. But for those of us who have been waiting for more about him, it is all the better. The contrast between the various societies and the ways they learn to deal together is entrancing. Jethri's growth and development, and his possible future, is fascinating. I have read all of the Liaden books and love this side story. I do warn you though that you will most likely want to read more by these authors after reading this.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DebraDownSth on November 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lee and Miller are superb writers and I am a fan of the Liaden universe. I suspect if I knew where I had put the previous book about Jethri (Balance of Trade) and reread it, I might have enjoyed it more. Generally one can pick up any book in the Liaden Universe and be fine. I have never agreed that reading the book in any order was particularly necessary, even if it might make the story a bit more enjoyable. I did not find this to be the case with Trade Secret. There are so many back-stories, characters, conflicts, personal relations and details that make this book very confusing even though I had read the earlier book. I feel that someone who has not read it (and preferably either retained better info in their head than me or read it recently) will experience as much confusion with this book as I did. I found myself having to go back to previous chapters having to sort things.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Mahnken on November 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Trade Secret continues the adventures of Jethri Gobelyn ven'Deelin, a Terran trader who has been adopted into a Liaden clan. His story actually began in 2004's Balance of Trade. While it might be possible to enjoy this novel without reading the first book, I think the events are so tied to what happens in the previous book that a reader is going to miss out on a lot without being familiar with Balance of Trade. So I'd recommend reading (or re-reading) the first book before picking up this one.

This novel is really a coming-of-age story, as Jethri learns and grows as a trader and as a man. He continues his training in the mysteries of trading, learning from his adoptive mother and others he encounters. He is initiated into the joys of sex by a Liaden friend and tutor. Jethri also has the opportunity to learn to pilot from a Liaden scout as they travel to retrieve some belongings of his father's. Ultimately, he learns the secret of his father's work, which is likely to usher in a new age of Terran and Liaden trade relations. The pace of the novel is slow at first but picks up toward the end, when Jethri is challenged to a duel by a personal enemy.

Compared to other books set in the Liaden universe, Trade Secret is definitely a minor work. It's not as action-filled as the books in the series that began with the novel Fledgling, and it's not as interesting as the recent Necessity's Child, which has the advantage of revisiting familiar characters from Clan Korval from the Agent of Change series of novels. If I was to assign a rating based purely on other books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, I might be tempted to give it 3 stars. However, Lee and Miller are such good writers that a 3-star book from them is the equivalent of a 4-star book from almost anybody else.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scott on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved the first trader book with Jethri Gobelyn in it and couldn't wait to read this one. This one started a bit slow and I was a bit worried that it wasn't going to live up to the first book but once it got going it just kept accelerating through to the very end. Just wow.. I loved it. It is another great Human/Liaden book in the Liaden Universe. I have to say I am torn now between what book I want next. A Korval line story or a trade story with Jethri Gobelyn in it. I am leaning toward a trade story :)
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