The Merchant Prince Book 1: Returning Home

by TaxReligion

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Enter a world of deceit and assassins.  Augustus DeCastellian is a member of a wealthy merchant family, with ports all over the known world.  He is sent on a voyage to new lands to open trade routes, but when he returns he will need to fight, using his tools of manipulation and cunning, for what he is owed.

Author's note:  This story is somewhat slow-paced, especially in comparison to the norm on Royal Road.  The first three chapters act almost as a prologue, to give you a feel for what the rest of the story will be like.  So, I suggest new readers try to get to the end of chapter 3 before deciding if this story is for them.
A few of my reviews have said that this story is abnormal for Royal Road.  I agree with that sentiment, at least based on what I've read on the site.  It was just an idea that was in my head, that I began trying to write once my hobbies were cancelled due to the virus.  I found Royal Road after I started writing it.  Honestly, it's probably not even tailored for the web-novel format.  But it's the story I wanted to tell.


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This story is about a cold merchant named Augustus in a renaissance-inspired world. It reads like an old-school fantasy book, with plenty of worldbuilding and slow-paced (but not boring) action. There’s a lot of merchant talk and the story, as far as I’ve seen, is not focused on high-octane battle scenes. Rather, it is more about how a merchant would operate in the era, with the logic and way of doing things that follow the station of the main character in that setting. There are other characters, and they are all believable and well-developed.

The grammar is great, but the one thing that bothers me is the formatting, which is almost non-existant. It makes an otherwise great story harder to read. 

To conclude, I would say that this story stands out from the rest, and is an enjoyable read.


Fun merchant documentary meets renesance-era drama.

Reviewed at: Chapter 11 (Part 1)

(Written as of chapter 11 part 1 )


The merchant prince is a slow-paced story about Augustus, a smart, analytic and sometimes cold merchant, though at least so far he doesn't take up more than 50% of the screen time, not that it's a bad thing since all the other characters are great too.

As mentioned before, the pacing in this story is pretty slow, usually i'd have a problem with this but the colossal amount of worldbuilding and merchant-info is more than enough to keep my interest.

The characters are as previosuly stated, really good! When we got introduced to Augustuc after the short time-skip I was a little surprised by how cold he was.

Later on in the story we find out this is more than justified and arguable necessary for his line of work!

A lot is explored in this story, from tradition and customs to tricks and the logic held by a merchant of the time.

Everything is worded really well and I couldn't find a single spelling / grammar mistake, (not that I'm great at spotting those thought, haha)

It's difficult for me to comment on the plot right now, so far we've been introduced to a potential villain and a goal... that being to earn money - I mean this is as story about merchants!

In conclusion I definitely reccomend this story to fans of historical fiction and business and or merchant fiction.

It was an absolute joy to read and I look forward to seeing where it goes :D


Promising so far

Reviewed at: Chapter 6

This is an early review, 6 chapters in, but the story looks promising.

The worldbuilding is good. The world seems inspired by the Renaissance, and so far there isn't much magic, but it isn't needed. We learn about the world without too many info-dumps, and everything fits together.

The plot has barely started, and this is shaping up to be a slow-paced story. What events have happened are interesting and leave potential for future conflict that should be engaging.

The characters are reasonably well-drawn. Augustus seems like a nice take on the 'young master' type, with a good mix of being calculating but still having a conscience. He's also shown cunning and charm, although not all the time. Marielle isn't very fleshed out yet, but I think she has potential, and their relationship promises to be interesting. The other characters are very archetypal, which isn't a bad thing, if they're grown beyond just the archetypes.

The grammar is decent. There are some issues, but it's certainly readable. Same for the style. There are some repetitions of words (especially 'was'), and the descriptions could be improved, but nothing that really detracts from the story. There's certainly far worse on this site.

As a disclaimer, I've read this as part of a review swap, but these are my honest opinions. I intend to continue reading the story.


The author has done a good job of crafting a webnovel that reads like a traditionally published novel. 

Instead of dumping info to tell you about the world, the author has woven relevant info into the narrative so that you learn about the world he has built in a more natural way. Because of this, the first couple chapters are admittedly very slow, but it was definitely necessary to have a lot of exposition so that the story makes sense.

Speaking of the story, it's quite good. I found myself wanting to read more, and I definitely will read more past the point of this review. The characters all have very clear personalities and desires. I actually want to learn more about them, and I look forward to doing so.

The style the author writes in is pretty decent. He strikes a good balance between giving you a lot of description and only giving descriptions that are relevant to the story. I never found myself overwhelmed and bogged down in pointless and redundant descriptions, which is something that happens to me quite often while reading novels on this site.

The grammar is, for the most part, fine. There aren't any errors that leap out at you, but there are run-on sentences and comma splices every now and then that may distract you a bit if you're a person who is hyper-sensitive to those. I didn't find any typing or formatting errors, so the text itself is very clean and consistent. The author has done a fairly good job of proofreading.

Overall, I like it a lot. It's a refreshing novel in a sea of litrpgs and isekais that I personally don't care for.

I Don't Bite...

I must say this story has been quite the unexpected, but pleasant surprise. The start, although isn't my favourite, The more I read, the more the story managed to immerse me within its world and characters. The depth and intricacy woven withing this story are impressive...

Style: For me, the style is the least favourite aspect of this story; especially the first chapter or two, where info-dumps are prevalent. Some of the dialogues are also done just give the readers information. The so-called, 'as you know' or 'maid and butler' dialogue. Further into the story, these problems are less prevalent and the narration also started to grow on me. And although some expositions are still there, it's done in a subtle, less intrusive way...

Grammar: I've got nothing...

Story: A masterful story, with carefully handled dark themes, along with subtly rising tension of political intrigue. I especially liked how the character's way of life is brought to life(I know, redundant) through tiny rituals like wearing a different dress for separate occasions. There's also a lot of attention to detail. Though I'd have liked a bit more tension in the earlier chapters...

Character: The main characters are fleshed out enough, though some of the side characters still have room to improve. But their character is also starting to come through as the story progresses...

As today I'm feeling particularly inarticulate, I wouldn't say anything more, but if you're a fan of strategies and political intrigue, then this is a story is a must-read...

(Disclaimer: Everything I wrote is only my opinion)


Political intrigue, culture, and economics

Reviewed at: Chapter 8

(This review was completed as a part of a review swap)

If you had told me when I started reading this that someone could make fantasy world economics be interesting, I probably would have doubted you.

However, despite the fact that I would shy from stories like this normally, TaxReligion has succeeded in making a story about trading and economics (and the political intrigue behind them) that is entertaining.

I don't want to say more since spoilers shouldn't be listed in reviews, but if you don't enjoy the maneuvers that the main character makes towards the end of chapter 3, then you probably will not enjoy this novel.


The style is slower than most novels on Royal Road. However, I am not saying that as a critique. The style is slower, but that gives more time to expand on the world and learn about the different things going on.

In fact, I think the slower style suits the level of intrigue that the author is going for very well. For example, if the simple act of not addressing a priest is a social blunder, the audience needs that slower style in order to see all of the plays and blunders that are going on in the social and political arena that the MC is in.


Very minor grammar issues. A few run-on sentences, a missing comma or two, and misuse of you’re instead of your in one spot. Honestly, this could probably be 5 stars, but I basically have to find no mistakes at all to give that for grammar.


You can really tell the amount of worldbuilding that has gone into this. Whether it is the gods, the political system, or even the amount of work that went into the taxation and monetary system (which is something most people handwave), this novel has covered its bases more than covered.

The story has also settled on a theme of, seemingly, Renaissance-era type trade and politics, and done a good job sticking to it.

Oh, the MC is getting married? Well, that marriage is in fact purely political and not romantic at all. Just as it would have been in those days.


The main POV characters, Augustus and Marielle, are fleshed out and well-written. Augustus displays the level of wit and scheming that you would expect of him once you learn a bit more about his background, while also not being perfect.

Marielle meanwhile gives the audience their chance to learn more about the world since she is behind the curve for her education. Her hard work on trying to be useful also made me want to root for her success.


Overall, I think this is an excellently written novel.


Style 5/5: From the first paragraph, you can tell that this story is a step up from what you would normally read on Royal Road. Quality descriptions, nothing feels rushed, nothing feels unnecessary.  Reading each sentence is a delight. This is the kind of story you should savor. 

Story 4.5/5: I wasn’t sure what route the story would take until the third chapter, when the main character makes an important decision that I’m sure will set the tone for the rest of the story.  I’m guessing this will be a soft-power colonialism story? 

Grammar 5/5: Sentences are well-written and very well structured. I only caught a few uses of you’re instead of your in the 2nd chapter.

Character 4.5/5: I had trouble getting a read on the main character until the third chapter, then I felt like I finally understood what he stood for.  I’m not particularly drawn to any of the side characters yet, so that’s why I’m taking off .5.



Ben Arisson

Fantastic MC - Let the games of Ambition Begin!

Reviewed at: Chapter 7

This piece is an excellent tale of power and the brutality and resolution it takes to acquire and wield it. The story gave me Medici (the Netflix historical bio-drama) vibes, which I thought was fantastic. Any fans of that show will love this series.

There were two standouts within the author's work, the worldbuilding and the MC. 

The worldbuilding was fantastically done. The world the author created had a lot of depth and character. Venocia, in particular, was incredibly fleshed out and given so much care. It wouldn't seem out of place if placed in our world back in the 15th or 16th century; it's history and culture rivaling many of the global powers during that time.

The next standout is Augustus Castellian, the MC and incredibly savage and ambitious heir-apparent to the Castellian's trading empire. The author pulls no punches in depicting his fair but unforgiving nature. Personally, I find it hard to write genius or near-genius characters, but Augustus' characterization expertly handled. Every decision he makes is in character, no matter how shocking the decision is. Honestly, there were a few scenes I was unprepared for, but I'm glad I didn't see it coming.

I can't wait to see what the author has in store for his world and Augustus.

strand VV

Cloaks and the daggers. Pens and sword.

Reviewed at: Chapter 15

Currently this is an action and adventure story that seems will integrate a fantasy part later in the story.

First this is a slow burn story so I suggest anyone to rea to chapter 3 before they decide whether it is good or bad.


The story seems to take place in a historical fantasy and of course giving what that entails. Schemes, politics, wars and of course some action. 

The best thing in my opinion in this work is its world building. It is very real that you could clearly imagine it with everything tht it haves without any problem. 


The story is one of the most surreal plots I have read. Currently without alot of fantasy, it is very realistic and everything about it is told, like the dark side of humanity and how the corruption of power affects people.


the style shows everything and is clearly explained, if there is one thing I had to pick was that I would like to see how the actions affect people. Without spoiling I would simply want to be shown the consequences of the some actions to the world and the people around. But thats just my opinion.


All the characters are clearly fleshed out, but what i enjoyed the most was the chaotic neutral personality of the MC. He does what he need to do to strive for power, which adds even more realistic depth to the story. 

Mia Dendragon

First and foremost, this story is not my usual cup of tea. However, I found myself reading the entire available chapters and looking forward for more. 

The author portrayed the world in a very descriptive and highly detailed. The worldbuilding are nothing less but excellent. Every lines written by the author takes you into the world in his imagination as if you are there to experience it yourself.

Its a slow pace story with lots of conflicts, drama and power struggles, but its enjoyable nonetheless. 

Grammar is good and the spelling are excellent. There might be a misspelled (I think I did spot one or two) but its really unnoticeable and doesn't affect me that much.

The MC of this book, was a cold and ruthless man. An ambitious merchant who knows what he want. He have good communication with his wife, by the way, despite his coldness.

Overall, its a good story to read and highly recommended!