It's certainly a well written book that compares well to other Hugo winners, but my reading experience suffered a bit. First, I had expectations that "The classic novel of C. J. Cherryh's Merchanter Universe" (from the back cover) would have more to do with the Merchanter ships. This one is planet-bound. Second, I forgot that so many of the author's stories are about kids growing up. I pretty much outgrew such stories some time back. I didn't get what I expected, so I was disappointed. It's still a pretty good page-turner.