A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, have carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam alive only long enough to bear her child, the heir to the throne of their land in the Gruinmarkt world.
The worst and deepest secret is now revealed: behind the horrifying plot is a faction of the US government itself, preparing for a political takeover in the aftermath of disaster. There is no safe place for Miriam and her Clan except, perhaps, in the third alternate world, New Britain--which has just had a revolution and a nuclear incident of its own.
Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series reaches a spectacular climax in this sixth volume. Praised by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman as "great fun," this is state of the art, cutting edge SF grown out of a fantastic premise.
Things are going badly for the Clan in this new SF novel of the Merchant Princes, the immensely popular series by Charles Stross. Locked in a vicious civil war for control over the kingdom of Niejwein, their army is bottled up inside a fortress under siege in two parallel universes at once. Duke Angbard, the Clan's leader, has been laid low by a stroke: plotters are already conspiring in readiness for the deadly dance to come.
Miriam, rescued from a tight spot in New Britain, finds the hopes of the young, progressive faction focused on her. But do they want her as a leader or a figurehead? She soon finds herself thrown into a desperate struggle for power. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the Clan, researchers working for the US government have achieved a technological breakthrough. The War on Terror is about to go transdimensional.
Miriam Beckstein is a young, hip, business journalist in Boston. She discovered in The Family Trade and The Hidden Family that her family came from an alternate reality, that she was very well-connected, and that her family was too much like the mafia for comfort. She found herself caught in a family trap in The Clan Corporate and betrothed to a brain-damaged prince, and then all hell broke loose.
Now, in The Merchants' War, Miriam has escaped to yet another world and remains in hiding from both the Clan and their opponents. There is a nasty shooting war going on in the Gruinmarkt world of the Clan, and we know something that Miriam does not; something that she's really going to hate--if she lives long enough to find out.
A bold new fantasy, The Merchant Princes is a sweeping series from the hottest new writer in science fiction!
Miriam Beckstein is happy in her life. She's a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine in Boston, making good money doing what she loves. When her researcher brings her iron-clad evidence of a money-laundering scheme, Miriam thinks she's found the story of the year. But when she takes it to her editor, she's fired on the spot and gets a death threat from the criminals she has uncovered.
Before the day is over, she's received a locket left by the mother she never knew-the mother who was murdered when she was an infant. Within is a knotwork pattern, which has a hypnotic effect on her. Before she knows it, she's transported herself to a parallel Earth, a world where knights on horseback chase their prey with automatic weapons, and where world-skipping assassins lurk just on the other side of reality - a world where her true family runs things.
The six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose power to walk between the worlds makes them rich in both. Braids of family loyalty and intermarriage provide a fragile guarantee of peace, but a recently-ended civil war has left the families shaken and suspicious.
Taken in by her mother's people, she becomes the star of the story of the century-as Cinderella without a fairy godmother. As her mother's heir, Miriam is hailed as the prodigal countess Helge Thorold-Hjorth, and feted and feasted. Caught up in schemes and plots centuries in the making, Miriam is surrounded by unlikely allies, forbidden loves, lethal contraband, and, most dangerous of all, her family. Her unexpected return will supersede the claims of other clan members to her mother's fortune and power, and whoever killed her mother will be happy to see her dead, too.
Behind all this lie deeper secrets still, which threaten everyone and everything she has ever known. Patterns of deception and interlocking lies, as intricate as the knotwork between the universes. But Miriam is no one's pawn, and is determined to conquer her new home on her own terms.
Blending creativity and humor, and the rigor and scope of a science-fiction writer on the grandest scale, Charles Stross has set a new standard for fantasy epics.
The Merchant Princes is a sweeping new series from the hottest new writer in science fiction!
The six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose power to walk between their world and ours make them rich in both. Braids of family loyalty and intermarriage provide a fragile guarantee of peace, but a recently ended civil war has left the families shaken and suspicious.
Miriam, a hip tech journalist form Boston, discovered her alternate-world relatives with explosive results that shook three worlds. Now, as the prodigal Countess Helge Thorold-Hyorth, she finds herself ensnared in schemes and plots centuries in the making. She is surrounded by unlikely allies, lethal contraband, and, most dangerous of all, her family. With her modern American attitudes, she's not sure she can fit in, or if she even wants to, but to stay alive, she really has no choice.
To avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam must build a power-base of her own. She started applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade heretofore dominated by medieval mercantilists-with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family.
Blending the creativity and humor, and the rigor and scope of science-fiction on the grandest scale, Charles Stross has set a new standard for fantasy epics.
Charles Stross is one of the big new SF writers of the 21st century, and the saga of The Merchant Princes is his most ambitious work yet.