Tag Archives: Miandra Maarilex

Trade Secret – Chapter 6

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, Boltston Arrival

In which Jethri’s life once again takes a major turn.

It appears that Scout Captain ter’Astin did not after all manage to return Jethri’s logbook to him before he left Irikwae (come to think of it, there was something to that effect in chapter two, though I didn’t pay it much mind at the time) and now it has been appropriated by “an internal agency allied with the Scouts”.

And doesn’t that sound familiar, to someone who’s read the whole series?

Jethri challenges the Scout: Are you going to let them get away with that? And the Scout responds: No, we are not going to let them get away with that.

And so, it seems, it is after all Jethri who is to leave the ship in pursuit of Balance. Looking back, I think it’s not that Master ven’Deelin wasn’t aware of that possibility, only that the other loomed larger in the narrative because it required more time and effort to prepare against. (And, at that, who can say that the events of the last few chapters haven’t been part of preparing against the possibility of Jethri having to leave the ship?)

A small prediction: I reckon this chapter includes another instance of the authors’ trick of reminding the audience of something that will become important in a chapter or two; in this case, I suspect we are at last approaching a pay-off for “There are secrets in all families”.

Trade Secret – Chapter 5

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, in Jump

In which Jethri’s education proceeds in new directions.

Well. I’m not sure what to say after that.

(Except that I suspect any young person in Jethri’s position might be just as nervous and uncertain of knowing the right thing to do as Jethri was in the moment before Gaenor joined him, even if they had been Liaden all their lives and not only for a year.)

Trade Secret – Chapter 4

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, in Jump

In which Jethri’s mother wishes to discuss the future.

I like the story about how Jethri obtained his shirt. I wonder whether returning the defective cookpot was a straightforward transaction, or required a bit of trading skill. I’m also amused, given what we’re told later about some of the crew admiring the figure he cuts while he exercises, that he’s doing so wearing a shirt that promises “Satisfaction Guaranteed” (luckily for him, it’s not likely any of his admirers read Terran script).

Also, since his old calendar is mentioned and this is the kind of thing I notice, I notice that both the shirt and the calendar hail from Trundee’s Tool and Tow, and I wonder if that means they were obtained on the same port, or perhaps that Trundee’s has branches on more than one planet.

The Scout has informed Master ven’Deelin that his business concerns clan and kin, and will require not only personal attention but personal attendance. She has taken him to mean her own attention and attendance, and surely she must be right, for I don’t think the Scout would be unclear; but I did wonder for a moment if it was going to be Jethri’s attendance that was called for. We still don’t know why the Scout sent his message to Jethri addressed to “Jethri Gobelyn”. (And I wonder if the Master Trader is aware that he did.)

I notice that when she mentions Tan Sim, Master ven’Deelin always refers to him descriptively, as Jethri’s partner, never by name. It may be nothing, but I wonder if perhaps, considering the state of things between her family and his, there’s a point of melant’i that requires her to avoid acknowledging who he is (at least for the time being).

Trade Secret – Chapter 3

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, in Jump

In which Jethri reads his mail.

Maybe I just have a suspicious mind, but I do wonder if there was more than just unlucky timing to Dyk’s interruption of Jethri’s getting-to-know-you session, either on Dyk’s own part or on the part of the Captain.

I’d been meaning to keep an eye out for the first honest-to-goodness, undeniable cultural reference that shows that Terrans are from our planet Earth, but I may have let it slip by me. “Balrog” is surely one of those, anyway, even if it’s not the first.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Jethri as a possibility, but it seems plausible to me that the Scout’s desire to speak with Jethri Gobelyn rather than Jethri ven’Deelin means he’s made some discovery touching on Arin’s kin. If so, that could be good news or bad, and no way to tell until the Scout has had his say, and possibly not even then.

Trade Secret – Chapter 1

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, in Jump

In which Jethri reflects on birthrights.

The prologue having hopefully hooked the reader with the promise of mayhem to come, this is a quieter chapter, largely given over to recapping the state of play for anybody who doesn’t happen to have just this week finished reading Balance of Trade.

Things have progressed somewhat since the end of the previous novel: Norn ven’Deelin has agreed to support Jethri in getting Tan Sim out of his difficulty, but there are still details to be worked out. If it were easy, anybody could do it.

We also get another new detail added to what we already knew: apparently Jethri’s space hair, before he became a Liaden fosterling and had to grow it out, wasn’t just trimmed short as a utilitarian thing, but sculpted in a distinctive pattern.

Trade Secret – Prologue

Stateroom Number Two
Liaden Tradeship Wynhael, Outbound from Banth, a Backworld

In which Jethri’s story is by no means over.

A new novel!

The prologue gives us Bar Jan chel’Gaibin nursing his grievances, some hints about what’s up on Banth, and Jethri continuing his career but discovering that Old Tech is still going to be a part of his life. The chel’Gaibin seems to have decided to take particular offence against Khat, so no doubt we’ll be hearing more of the crew of the Market along the way. That’s all the major dangling threads from Balance of Trade picked up already – all I ask now is a throwaway line about how Jethri’s moustache management is getting on, and I’ll be happy.

We get quite a detailed portrait of Bar Jan chel’Gaibin in the first part of the prologue. Not a nice fellow, the chel’Gaibin. The description of his debt book is revealing, and so is the bit about the rigged dueling pistols – that latter also saying something about the family he comes from, given that they’re the house’s pistols and not his personally. (I wonder if we’ll be seeing those pistols in action, later.)

We also learn some things about Jethri. The bit about him feeling as if fractins are aware of him is new, though it fits in with what we already had about his knack for salvage items.

Jethri is currently working on a world where they go in for elaborate ceremony, which gives us some interesting new flourishes on the bows. I particularly like the revelation that the language of bows includes a construction for “I realise my sleeves aren’t long enough to do this bow justice”.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 39

Day 185
Standard Year 1118

Irikwae

In which a few loose ends are attended to.

I had forgotten that in the end Jethri turns all his fractins over to the Scout. (But he keeps the notes which the Scout suspects of being a guide to reading Old writing. That could lead to interesting things in future.)

I had not forgotten that Miandra gets sent off to get trained as a dramliza (I wonder if it’s by anyone we know?). At least, I had remembered that one of the twins did, but it wasn’t until some point in the re-read that I knew it was Miandra; I often forget characters’ names after the first time through, even when they aren’t identical twins.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 38

Day 180
Standard Year 1118

Irikwae

In which the cargo pod is opened, and many things are revealed.

This is the chapter in which Jethri gets his family background – and someone does indeed mention him and the word “clone” in conjunction, though the details are skipped over for the present moment.

I like how casually the matter of Grig’s true age is dropped in, near the beginning of the chapter.

It is also established that “duplicating unit” is what Grig’s family call the type of device Cantra called a “first aid kit” – which raises a few questions about what they used them for before they figured out the first aid kit function.

Well, all right, one thing they apparently used them for was duplicating people, what Raisy calls “reproducing the pure stock”. Pure what, she doesn’t say. Anyhow, that brings us back around to Jethri being a clone.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 37

Day 178
Standard Year 1118

Irikwae

In which a friend in need is a friend indeed.

It is saddening, although perhaps not entirely a surprise, to find that even a Healer may turn out to be the kind of doctor who thinks he knows his patient’s feelings better than the patient does. I suppose being able to see inside someone’s head is no help to a person who is confident he knows the answer before he even looks.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 36

Day 177
Standard Year 1118

Irikwae Port

In which there are several reunions and a parting.

The “toy” Jethri encounters is recognizably similar to the learning toys Cantra had her own encounter with, though considerably older and understandably more decrepit. After a thousand years and more, it’s not remarkable that it malfunctions; more remarkable that it functions at all. (Though I wonder how much of the malfunction is age and decrepitude, and whether any of it comes from trying to get into the mind of someone who no longer speaks the language.)

Characters using depilatory cream instead of shaving their faces is one of those science-fiction markers that I’ve seen on and off since I was a beardless youth myself (and probably goes back much further than that). I gather, though, that it’s one of those science fiction ideas that will always remain a marker of science fiction because it seems simple in concept but is actually tricky in practice. The trouble, as I understand it, is that a man’s facial hair is generally some of the toughest hair around, and a cream strong enough to dissolve it is also strong enough to do some harm to the parts of a man’s face he was planning on keeping.

The Ruby Club is obviously pretty sleazy, even if you don’t know about the Liaden taboo that’s been alluded to but not so far stated outright. If you do, it’s really sleazy.

From there, it becomes a day for being reunited with friends, including Tan Sim and Miandra, each of whom has been having a rough time since he saw them last, and Captain ter’Astin, who is not giving anything away about what kind of time he’s been having.

It’s good to see Tan Sim again. I like Tan Sim.

I like Scout Captain ter’Astin, too. On this occasion, we get confirmation that he has some facility at sensing the thoughts of others, which had been hinted at on the previous occasion when he and Jethri met.

Speaking of things hinted at on previous occasions, we get another of those remarks about family resemblance, this time applied to Jethri and Arin.

The parting is Jethri from the weather device, which for all that it’s caused a deal of trouble might also be considered an old friend in respect of how much it represents to Jethri of his links with his father.