||This book is one of the most egregious cases of misrepresentation of the product that I have ever witnessed. We're told it's a book about the Guild, the Creation-spanning trade empire that until now has been untouched in second edition except to explain that they sell drugs and slaves, but the Guild only gets a few, almost desultory paragraphs about their business practices per chapter, usually in the forms of lists of the things they sell, and the rest is barely related to the topic. This book is not about the Guild.
This book is about inspiration. The Guild is the framing device the writers uses to help us mainline concentrated IDEAS.
This is easily the most exciting Exalted supplement I have ever read. I am not being hyperbolic at all when I say that almost every paragraph has some new piece of information about Creation that makes me want to incorporate it into my games. Here, let me just riffle to completely random pages:
Page 8: Everything about Brem Marst, the founder of the Guild, is fascinating. He is a mortal who successfully defied the Empress and her entire empire of Terrestrial Exalted. This is the kind of cool I only wish I could write for one of my characters. If anyone deserves Solar Exaltation, it's Brem Marst, and it's only his bad luck he was alive when there weren't any Exaltations to spare.
Page 20: Oooooh, I hate Uncle Sugar so much, but in that really good way that makes it fun to plot his downfall! A former slave whose children are all the sons of his slaves, he sells his own children because he figures if they can't work their way to freedom like he did, then they deserve to be slaves.
Page 31: Caravans crossing the icy expanses of the North summon krakens to swim under the ice and hold it afloat until the caravans are safely across. Come on, that's just awesome.
Page 36: There is too much here for me to pick out any one thing. All I'm saying is, this single page did more to illustrate the madness of the fae for me than did the entire hardback devoted to them.
...Look, do I need to go on? This book is made of awesome, and every sentence is calculated to get your mind spinning with ideas. Just buy it. Why haven't you bought it already?
PS: Oh, and there's something in the back, mechanics that actually make merchant characters playable. These mechanics fix an endemic problem with the game that has been there since it was first published, and it is the least interesting thing in the book to me, which is a bit like saying Mercury is the least of the planets orbiting our sun: Mercury is still an utterly enormous land mass.
[5 of 5 Stars!]