Thursday, April 9, 2020

Audiobook: Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Balance of Trade
Author: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Narrator: Kevin T. Collins
Publication: Audible Studios, Sept. 4, 2012
Length: 15 hours and 29 minutes

Description: Assistant Trader Jethri Gobelyn was an honest, hardworking young man who knew a lot about living onboard his family's space-going trade ship; something about trade, finance, and risk-taking; and a little bit about Liadens. It was, oddly enough, the little bit he knew about Liadens that seemed like it might be enough to make his family's fortune, and his own, too. In short order, however, Jethri Gobelyn was about to find out a lot more about how far they might go to protect their name and reputation. Like the myriad of things one might say-intentionally or not-with a single bow. Like what it would take to make a Liaden trade-ship crew trash a bar. Like how hard it is to say "I'm sorry!" in Liaden. Pretty soon it was clear that as little as he knew about Liadens, he knew far less about himself. With his very existence a threat to the balance of trade, Jethri Gobelyn needed to learn fast, or else help destroy all he held dear.

My Thoughts: I listened to this story and enjoyed entering into Jethri's world again. Because it is out of the main line of most of the series. I have only read this one a couple of times. I enjoyed seeing what the universe was like when Liadens and Terrans were first brushing against each other in the trade arena.

Jethri is the youngest on his family ship and, according to his mother who is also the captain, he is unneeded and unwanted. He has been learning how to trade from his uncle and is getting quite good at it. When his mother wants to trade him to another family that doesn't give him any scope to grow as a trader, he has no choice but to find his own place on a different ship.

When he discovers a scam that seems to be putting a Liaden Master Trader in danger of losing reputation, he goes to her and tells her about it. In Balance, she decides to accept him as her own apprentice. Jethri would be the first Terran to become a member of the Liaden Guild of Traders. But there are those who don't want to open their association to Terrans.

As he tries to learn how to properly get along with Liadens he makes a friend and also makes an enemy of another Liaden family. His Master Trader decides that he needs to know more about Liadens and drops him off on a world to spend time with her foster mother for some intensive education in Liaden culture.

Part of the culture clash between Terrans and Liadens has to do with Old World Technology. Liadens hate all of it and the Liaden Scouts are quick to confiscate any they find. This is problematical with Jethri because he has a piece of Old World technology - a fractin - that is his good luck charm and he has a device that he thinks is a weather forecasting device which turns out to be something very different. Jethri also learns some things about his deceased father and her father's quest to learn more about Old World Tech that changes what Jethri thinks about himself.

This was an entertaining story with great characters and interesting world building. Kevin T. Collins did a great job narrating and choosing distinct voices for the many characters.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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