So, having finished the book, the question sooner or later arises of updating the Suggested Reading Order page. This one’s more puzzling than usual, and I’d welcome suggestions.
Trader’s Leap overlaps with two other novels that were published before it: Neogenesis and Accepting the Lance.
I’m pretty solid on thinking that Neogenesis be read before Trader’s Leap. The climax of Neogenesis comes in only a quarter of the way through Trader’s Leap, and is referenced in a way that feels like it might be confusing if the reader didn’t already know the details, and then (with the letters from home) giving details that might be regarded as spoilers.
What I’m less sure about is Trader’s Leap and Accepting the Lance. On the one hand, there are parts, particularly early on and regarding Tarona Rusk’s activities, that I felt that if I had been able to read them before Accepting the Lance I would have liked Accepting the Lance better. And although there are mentions of the Department’s headquarters being captured, that’s arguably not a spoiler (being something a reader would assume was going to happen anyway) and there’s no mention of the many other things that happen in Accepting the Lance — including the entire quarter of the book that happens after that event.
On the other hand, the end of Trader’s Leap feels like it’s written to be read after Accepting the Lance; there’s a feeling of “with that out of the way, what’s next?”. It might be jarring (I haven’t tried it yet) to go from the end of Trader’s Leap, with Padi happily contemplating Korval’s future, to the beginning of Accepting the Lance, with Korval’s future still in doubt.
Readers, what do you think?