Rimrunners Rimrunners is a science fiction novel written by C. J. Cherryh and set in her Alliance-Union universe, in which humanity has split into three major power blocs: Union, the Merchanter's Alliance and Earth. Chronologically, the book follows immediately after the author's award-winning Downbelow Station and is one of Cherryh's series of "Merchanter" novels.

The book was nominated for a Locus Award, and the cover art, by Don Maitz, won the 1990 Hugo Award for Best Original Artwork

It's one of the so called Merchanter novels. These science fiction novels explore the merchanter subculture: the extended families that own and operate the ships that supply goods, transportation, news and trade to the various worlds and space stations in the human Earth, Alliance and Union space.

The merchanter-oriented works include:

Merchanter's Luck (DAW Books, 1982)
Rimrunners (Warner Books, 1989)
Tripoint (Warner, 1994)
Finity's End (Warner, 1997)

All four books were nominated for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in their respective years of eligibility, but only Rimrunners and Finity's End were shortlisted. Cherryh's Hugo Award-winning novel Downbelow Station (DAW, 1981), is also closely related to these works, as it covers the conclusion of the Company Wars between the Earth Company Fleet and Union, and the formation of the Merchanter's Alliance itself.

The books are works of space opera, and some also have aspects of military science fiction, particularly Rimrunners.

Wikipedia: Merchanter Novels, Rimrunners,