I read this book in the late 90's-early 00's. The premise was that an oft conquered mercantile Empire had recently been conquered by another militaristic race with caste system.

The monetary system was based around blocks of various metals, and trade was central to the conquered empire's way of life.

The empire was named after the originally conquered race, who were a large ant-like species >2meters in height

Any one know the title?

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Do you happen to recall the cover at all? Is the plot of the story that the conquerors are being absorbed by the people they conquered?
    – DavidW
    Sep 3, 2020 at 22:55
  • That's one of the themes, that every would be conquerer eventually becomes subsumed into the empire as yet another "client" race, as they all come to realize there is greater profit to be had in letting yourselves be "conquered"
    – ouro
    Sep 4, 2020 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


I think this is A Matter of Profit. Though it is from 2001, so it is probably too late for what you are looking for.

The story is focused on Ahvern, a Nobel of a militaristic Empirethat just conquered a mercantile one, the T'Chin. 39 of the 40 planets in the T'Chin Confederation surrendered immediately, and the last one fell after a short war. Ahvern is suspicious about the easy victory, and after making a bet with his father, does some investigating on the planet. He goes to a bibliogoth, someone who "will teach you how to figure out what facts you need, find them, and organize them in a manner in which you can use them and then put them to use."

The biblogoth is a T'chin, a member of the race for which the confederation was named. The T'chin are described as 8 feet tall ant-like creatures. The biblogoth also charges 1 gold brick per session, and it is mentioned that Ahvern's stipend is only 4 silver bricks a month.

  • That's it indeed! Wow I was off on the timing... Thank you!
    – ouro
    Sep 4, 2020 at 13:28

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