Tuesday, December 1, 2020

ARC Review: Trader's Leap by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Trader's Leap

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Series: Liaden Universe (Book 23)
Publication: Baen (December 1, 2020)

Description: The only bridge between past and future is a leap of faith.

Pursued by enemies, exiled Liaden clan Korval is settling into a new base on backworld Surebleak. Moving is expensive, as is war, and Korval is strapped for cash. Delm Korval has therefore instructed Master Trader Shan yos'Galan to design and implement new trade routes, quickly.

But this is no easy task.Dutiful Passage is targeted by Korval's enemies, denied docking at respectable ports, and cheated at those less respectable. Struggling to recuperate from an attack on his life, while managing daughter Padi’s emerging psychic talents, Shan is running out of options—and time. His quest to establish the all-important trade route puts him at odds with his lifemate, while doubting crew desert the ship. Facing the prospect of failure, Shan accepts the assistance of chancy allies and turns the Passage toward a port only just emerging from Rostov's Dust and awash with strange energies.

Without trade, Clan Korval will starve. Will a trader's leap of faith save everything—or doom all?

My Thoughts: This twenty-third book in the Liaden Universe focuses on Shan, Priscilla, Padi and the Dutiful Passage though it doesn't begin with them. 

We begin on a planet we haven't seen before which is divided into two main cultures - Civilization and the Haosa - and which has recently had an attack by Reavers who wanted to kidnap and steal the power from some of the people. There is a lot of psychic talent on the planet and the Oracle is telling them that Great Ones are coming.

Back on the Passage we find Shan trying to recover from the depletion of his psychic talent after he healed and was healed by Tarona Rusk - a dramliza in the service of the Department of the Interior. We also find Padi who is learning about her new and unwanted dramliza powers which are getting in the way of her desire to become a Master Trader.

Shan's mission is to find new and profitable trade routes to benefit his clan but he is having trouble because of the continuing interference of agents of the Department of the Interior. He does have some hope when he connects with a representative of the Carresens-Denobli family who are another non-Liaden trade family which a long history. He also has more luck when he determines to explore a new region of space which has recently come out from behind Rostov's Dust. 

We also get to see Tarona Rusk on her new quest to destroy the Department - get revenge on the Department - the co-opted and used her for their gain. And we see one of the other results of Shan's healing of Tarona in that the talents that survived the severing of Rusk's control have their own plans for the dissolution of the Department of the Interior.

And finally, we see the results of the final defeat of the ancient enemy that forced the escape from the old universe and how that effects Moonhawk and Lute and their current vessel Priscilla and descendant Shan. 

This was an engaging and entertaining story that I just gulped down and which will stand up to any number of rereads. Of course, there are threads left dangling and questions left unanswered for long-time fans of the series. But this story also brings to an end some of the long-running plot threads. Hopefully, we have seen the last of the Department of the Interior. And there are so many new possibilities for Korval...

Favorite Quote:
"Is Trader Denobli your father?"

"No, worse! He's my mother's double-brother - from the Carresens and Denobli! Great deeds are expected of me daily, if not by the hour."

He shook his head and looked at her.

"The master trader - is he your father?"

"He is, indeed, and I am his heir. You understand, great deeds are not expected from me, for it is no great thing to achieve the amethyst, when so many others have done so."

Trader Vanz did not withhold his laugh.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Baen Books. You can buy your copy here.

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