Tag Archives: Tan Sim pen’Akla

Trade Secret – Epilogue


In which the young gentleman returns home.

And so Jethri’s story comes to an end, for now. And hasn’t he come a long way from the young fellow we met at the beginning of Balance of Trade?

I’m much happier with Balance of Trade and Trade Secret, taken as a two-part whole, than I was with Balance of Trade by itself. All the major questions raised have been given answers, and we got a suitably dramatic climax. There are still openings for further stories about Jethri, his kin, and his friends, and I’ll be happy to read them if they happen, but if this is all we get of Jethri’s story, I’ll be content.

And with the end of Trade Secret, we reach the end of Phase 1. Phase 2 begins tomorrow, with one of Captain ter’Astin’s colleagues and a reminder of why the Scouts don’t like Old Tech at large, in “Naratha’s Shadow”.

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 23


In which the Scout has located Jethri’s logbook.

Given that the Scout has made his discovery after being seen speaking to the chel’Gaibin’s pilot, I feel confident in predicting that Wynhael‘s abrupt departure has some connection with the business which now brings on the departure of Jethri and the Scout. That thought doesn’t seem to have occurred to Jethri yet, though it has doubtless occurred to the Scout.

I’ve been wondering since Master Trader pin’Aker asked to speak to Tan Sim whether that was going to result in him offering to buy out Tan Sim’s contract. I’m currently entertaining a vision of Jethri and Samay getting hooked up in a contract marriage, simultaneously as a genuine strenghthening of bonds between Ixin and Midys and as an excuse for Samay’s uncle to give Tan Sim to Jethri as a wedding present. That’s just for my own amusement, though; it’s a bit too tidy to be plausible as an actual resolution.

Trade Secret – Chapter 20

Tradedesk, Gallery 770

In which Jethri receives some good advice.

The story is really picking up now. It’s getting harder to put the book down for a day at the end of the chapter.

I wonder if Tan Sim has a specific reason to be interested in the Uncle, or if it’s just that anybody who can throw around money as seemingly-casually as he just did is a person a trader might find interesting.

I like the moment when Jethri and Tan Sim are “a riot of emotions for Liaden eyes, and the picture of restraint to Terran”. Moments of comparison like that are some of the things I love this series for. (It also reminds me of one of my favourite non-Liaden novels, Janet Kagan’s Hellspark, which is written in a similar mode and has many cross-culture moments like this. In the arena of idly wondering what protagonists of your favourite stories would make of each other, Clan Korval and the crew of the Margaret, Lord Lynn are pretty high on my list.)

Trade Secret – Chapter 16

Tradedesk, Dockside and More

In which networks are affirmed and expanded.

At Tradedesk Control, Jethri and the Scout make the acquaintence of Director ViChels Carresens, who is in charge of the station, and who shares a name with the Carresens Coordinating Committee that’s running the trade meeting.

Speaking of shared names: the ship he mentions that his family has donated for moving the station to its final position, Nubella Run, is one of those ships Paitor mentioned to Khat as being involved in whatever Arin Gobelyn was up to.

Speaking of shared names: along the way, Jethri overhears some pilots discussing another arrival whose name is doubly interesting. The new arrival bears the name of Omron, and is perhaps that same D. Omron who signed the invitation that brought Jethri here; and her given name is Dulsey, perhaps that same Dulsey who is an associate of the Uncle. If all the perhapses bear out, it would appear that the Uncle wishes to meet with Jethri…

And as if Jethri didn’t have enough to look forward to, there’s Samay pin’Aker, Clan Midys, who went to such trouble to accidentally meet him. (A familiar name, here: one of the students who facilitates Aelliana’s demonstration of practical probabilities in Scout’s Progress is a pin’Aker – and his partner is a ven’Deelin. No way of knowing whether that tells us anything useful about Samay, of course.)

Trade Secret – Chapter 14

Coyander Kenso at Finifter

In which Tan Sim pen’Akla collects the mail.

The ship on which Tan Sim is serving out his exile has undergone a mysterious transformation. When he told his tale to Jethri in Balance of Trade, the ship was Genchi and its captain was named sea’Kira; now, though it’s clearly the same ship, its name is Coyander Kenso and the captain’s name is dea’Blanco.

We learn in passing that Tan Sim plays a musical instrument, of the keyboard family, though we don’t learn whether he has one available to him in his exile.

It appears Tan Sim is going to be able to persuade the Captain (whatever his name is) that accepting the invitation to the trade fair will be good for the ship as well as for Tan Sim himself. If he keeps this up, by the time Master ven’Deelin and Jethri get their rescue planned out he may not need rescuing.

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.

Trade Secret – Chapter 11

Wynhael, Sater System, Orbit

In which Bar Jan chel’Gaibin wishes to take command of his own affairs.

Bar Jan chel’Gaibin is showing as a rather ambitious young man; more ambitious, I think, than is quite wise. I think it may be within his power to gain the Delm’s ring as he plans, but I remain unconvinced he has it in him to hold it and use it well. It’s clear that he, unlike Jethri, has never been taught that an effective trader needs to have some understanding of people and things outside his own particular sphere. (Not that he seems much interested in being an effective trader, either, but it would have been a useful lesson for a Delm-to-be, as well.)

We are introduced to a new member of the conspiracy, Rand yos’Belin, who presents as a courier, but has rather more influence over the making of plans than that might suggest. Bar Jan notices the amount of influence she has with his mother, but seems less aware of her influence on himself; by the end of the chapter, she’s got rather more from him than he apparently has from her.

Courier yos’Belin is a former Scout, flying a top-of-the-line ship such as a Scout Pilot might be expected to fly (but an ex-Scout might, perhaps, not). She speaks of a determination to preserve Liad’s natural supremacy over the Terrans. I find myself wondering if perhaps she’s an agent of that “internal agency” of which we’ve lately heard.

The Terran plan of which she speaks seems likely to be connected with the politics Paitor has been discussing with Khat. The proposition that its progress has been kept off the record by a secret cabal doesn’t ring true to me; I suspect, given what Paitor said, that it just never got off the ground. The question is, does yos’Belin (or whoever’s behind yos’Belin) actually believe in the secret cabal, or is it just a convenient hook to pull in conspirators with?

On a side note, it’s interesting that the former employer of Wynhael‘s captain was Ixin, of all clans, considering how things stand between Ixin and Rinork. Just coincidence, or has Rinork been actively poaching Ixin’s employees when it sees profit in doing so?

And now Bar Jan is looking toward Franticle. Who else do we know who was headed in that direction…?

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 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).