Three short shories about Nicholas van Rijn, the title trader.
All three revolve about contact with aliens, and his working out what to do. Very different in other respects. The first involves discovering which alien beings are the sophonts hiding among animals. The second, an attack on an alien world. The third, his hearing the account of fighting on an alien world and working out what happened.
And in the midst of it all, though not so much from his point of view, we get the boisterous, superstitiously pious, endlessly lamenting his hard work and danger of poverty, van Rijn. Quite a character.