Tag Archives: Seventeen Worlds


In which Geral Jethri believes in the Envidaria.

If someone had asked me what I expected future Liaden Universe stories to be about, I don’t think I’d have picked “what Jethri’s descendants are doing in the present day” as a possibility, but now that it’s happened it seems like an obvious question to explore.
Continue reading

Trade Secret – Chapter 30

Gobelyn’s Market, Clawswitts

In which the Gobelyns receive news of kin.

So that’s why Jethri suddenly decided he needed to send a message to Freza.

Apart from the trade and economic factors, which I don’t feel qualified to judge, one useful effect of publishing the Envidaria that Jethri must have considered is that the Liadens will have to stop bugging his friends and family for a copy. (Whether they’ll believe, among themselves, that the published Envidaria is the real thing, is another matter – I suspect those Liadens inclined to believe in Terran trickery will consider this more of the same – but at least they’ll have to act in public as if they believe it.)

And it looks like I was wrong (again) about Ynsolt’i. I think, looking back, that I’ve been tending to get predictions wrong about this book by tending toward being too neat and tidy. Life don’t always go in for quick and tidy endings to things.

Speaking of things in life that aren’t neat and tidy, I’ve got some of my sympathy for Iza back. She’s a complicated woman, is Iza Gobelyn.

Trade Secret – Chapter 29

Arrival on Hatalan

In which Jethri Gobelyn regains his birthright.

Hah. I did wonder if they were just going to let the ex-Scout walk off with the Envidaria, but of course Captain ter’Astin had a plan.

Interesting that Jethri’s lucky fractin ended up in the deal. I wonder whose idea that was: just yos’Belin’s, to sweeten the pot? or did ter’Astin suggest it, knowing that Jethri would get to keep all, as a roundabout way of making a start at apologizing for bringing him all this trouble?

I like the bits where the Scout is describing the world they’re visiting: more of those bits of background detail that aren’t absolutely necessary but add to the richness of the story. (And then you get further on in the chapter and realise that there was, after all, a plot-relevant detail hidden in there.)

I’m not sure I grasp all the details of the extract from the Envidaria, but one thing I get is that it’s talking about shifts that cause Jump points to change, with some routes to become safer and others more dangerous, which sounds like the foundation of the explanation for why, a few centuries from now, it will be necessary to revise the official Jump tables. (And that the example of “more dangerous” is a Jump point moving hazardously close in to a star reminds me of the tale, near the end of Mouse and Dragon, of a certain pilot coming to grief through using the unrevised tables.)

Another thing I get is that he’s saying that in a particular area of space the result will be that the big Combine-backed cargo ships won’t be able to pass through, so trade there will be left to smaller ships, like the Market and Balrog. And this will continue for four or five hundred years, so it’ll still be the case in Val Con’s time and for some time after. (Say, I wonder where Bechimo rates on the scale of “small enough” to “too large”…)

And now, they’re for Ynsolt’i, which gives the idea of a nice tidy ending of the story at the place where it began. I was wrong when I predicted a geographical appropriateness for Jethri and Freza (although come to think of it, I was right that Jethri would have better luck on that visit, just not about who with); I wonder if I’ll be wrong again if I predict now that Jethri’s first return to Ynsolt’i since he left the Market will coincide with the Market‘s first return to Ynsolt’i since Jethri left.

Trade Secret – Chapter 27

Port Chavvy

In which Bar Jan chel’Gaibin gets what he traded for.

What little eloquence I normally have deserts me, and I have just one thing to say: Yes!

I like Jethri’s response when chel’Gaibin doubts that he is covered by the Code.

“All I ask is an honest advantage” has a polished sound to it, but if it’s a quote from somewhere else I’m not familiar with it.

Trade Secret – Chapter 26

Port Chavvy

In which there are many secrets.

This is another chapter that calls for the reminder that I do appreciate the emotional parts of the Liaden stories, but I’m not very good at talking about them.

Some of the things Freza tells Jethri about the intent of Arin’s Envidaria remind me again of the conversation Theo has with the Carresens of her time. (Though that doesn’t help as much as it might, because I don’t quite recall what the Carresens actually said.)

When the dateline said “Port Chavvy”, I said to myself, “That sounds familiar, has someone mentioned it earlier this book?” – and then there was Dulcimer, and Klay Patel Smith sitting by the equipment rack. So apparently I was wrong when I guessed “Out of True” was set earlier than the Jethri books, having underestimated how unfamiliar a sight Liadens are in parts of Terran space. In fact, there are several things about “Out of True” I understand better having read (this much of) Trade Secret, and I think I would recommend to a new reader that they read Trade Secret first and then “Out of True”.

Trade Secret – Chapter 13

Keravath, on Port, Balfour

In which Jethri and ter’Astin finish their business on Balfour and move on to their next destination.

Trouble indeed: somebody has been aboard the ship. Somebody who had a key, which they ought not to have had, and by the signs is a Scout. (Or an ex-Scout? I continue to cast suspicious looks in a very particular direction.)

Jethri’s meeting with the memorable Mr Dorster has turned up more of Iza’s neglect: basic documents and proofs of identity never completed or filed.

The Scout is also interested in the mysterious manifesto, “Arin’s Envidaria of the Seventeen Worlds”. As it is now too late to ask Freza more about it, Jethri merely tells him, truthfully but incompletely, that he never heard of it before today. The Seventeen Worlds are apparently a cluster of planets along the galatic arm where travel is unusually restricted by cosmic phenomena that are expected to last for the next few centuries; if Arin was taking the long view – and considering how old he probably was, it might not have seemed as long as all that – the Envidaria may involve a plan for how things will shift when the cosmic phenomena get out of the way. (And although “the next few centuries” is a pretty vague timespan, I can’t help noting that one plausible interpretation of a few centuries on from this novel puts us right about the time the next Liaden novel is due to be set…)

And now they are off to Vincza, where the Scout has hope for finding something and Jethri has been invited to a regional trade meeting (run by the Carresens Coordinating Committee, a name which rings a distinct bell: the Carresens are still trading in one of the later novels, and I seem to remember one of them mentioning Arin in a historical context, though I don’t recall what is said).

I wonder if Freza’s ship will also be attending the trade meeting. Not just because of the several reasons Jethri has for wanting to see her again, but also because the meeting’s being held in the system where they had their last, ill-fated meeting, and it would be kind of appropriate for it also to be the location of their next meeting, where hopefully they will fare better.