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The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes, #2)
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The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes #2)

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  2,259 ratings  ·  85 reviews
In the tradition of Roger Zelazny's classic Amber novels, the second volume of Charles Stross's thrill-a-minute saga of multiple worlds. Miriam, a hip tech journalist from Boston, discovered her alternate world relatives in The Family Trade, and with them an elite identity she didn't know was hers. Now, in order to avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam, ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Tor Fantasy (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rebecca
The first book in this series started as a refreshing take on the world-walking motif, in which instead of people just being kings in a magic world and then occasionally coming home, they exploit arbitrage opportunities, bringing goods back and forth. It was an interesting spin. Unfortunately, it ended abruptly, without making much sense or wrapping up much of anything. (There's one set of characters, apparently intended for a later part of the series, who show up, have a conversation, and never ...more
Joseph Teller
This book adds some interesting twists to the setting of the Merchant Princes, and expands on the main character, her family/clan, the relationships and business activities.

It shows the main character's quick adaptation and ability to apply an outsider's viewpoint to understanding the economical problems and an approach to them that is new and unique while dealing with assassins and other problems.

The last chapter of the book is its weak point. There's a climactic leap of events at the end that
...more
Andrew
Jumping straight into this book the second I finished "The Family Trade" felt particularly natural. Throughout "The Family Trade", I felt like I shouldn't be as far into the book as I was--it still felt like it was just getting rolling when I was less than 100 pages from the end. This turns out to have a lot to do with the changes Charles Stross made to this series between when he started writing it and when he sold it. I learned in an interview he gave Locus magazine that he'd originally planne ...more
Nicolas
Dans ce deuxième tome, Miriam utilise son talent de traverseuse d'univers pour s'en aller explorer une troisième terre parallèle, coincée à peu près l'époque victorienne, et donc entre le moyen-âge de la terre des voyageurs et son Boston natal (qui est aussi le nôtre, en fait).
Elle y découvre certains secrets des machinations ayant cours autour de sa famille, et se plonge dans des histoires géopolitiques très différentes.
Comme le premier tome, c'est à la fois distrayant, subtil, bien amené. La s
...more
Sueij
Well, more of the same, that is, not really worth reading. Scott stopped reading after this one, and I think he made the better choice.

We're already struggling to assimilate information about two worlds and Clan politics, and then this novel goes and adds a third world. While Miriam's actions there are fairly interesting, I just couldn't figure out why Stross had to add this third dimension. It seems to me there was more than enough of interest in the interaction of the first two worlds he intro
...more
Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Babcock
I rediscovered this while sorting out my overflow bin of books to read. I hesitated, because since buying it years ago, I’ve learned that the series has been re-edited and republished in doorstopper form, apparently to its benefit as a story. Still, it was there, and I wanted something not too heavy to read.

The Hidden Family picks up right where The Family Trade left off (literally, because they used to be one book). Whereas I was impressed with The Family Trade, I’m less enamoured of The Hidden
...more
Virgil Fuqua
This book is a continueation of the Merchant Prince series. It basically has the same review as book 1.

In this book Miriam in her struggles to stay alive in a world that makes the Italian Renansiance look like politics in a kindergarden. One of the assasins that came after her had a locket that she took from his body.

Later looking the locket over she determines that its different from the lockest her family carries when she tries it she ends up in an alternate world that is different form her
...more
Jacey
Ah, good, a satisfying ending to the second Merchant Princes book without tying up all the loose ends. Miriam is now settling into the idea of being Helge, the long lost countess with a whole heap of money at her disposal courtesy of the Clan who walk between worlds and who are settled in an alternate America that's pretty well stuck in the medieval period. (Castles, mud, poor sanitation and dienfranchised peasants.)

This story opens immediately after The Family Trade finishes and really the two
...more
Chris "Stu"
Stross clearly has some Marx education in his background; a lot of his novels very definitely bring on the way your situation and economics affect how you live your life. Often times this is sci fi economics: how does the ability to travel through space change the way we live, or sentient computers, or something like this.

This is his trip into the fantasy world, where he creates a plausible economics of the ability to jump between dimensions.

Don't worry, it's a lot more exciting than that sounds
...more
Alastair McDermott
I had completed book 1 and was nearly half-way through book 2 and I felt like I was still waiting for the story to begin. Kind of David Gemmell-style where the first 90% of the book is introduction, and then the entire plot happens in a rush at the end.

This is an old idea with some interesting spins from Charles Stross. Around halfway through book 1 I thought it had massive potential, but I just haven't really enjoyed it so far, which is surprising for me because I love his other work, e.g. Sin
...more
Clare O'Beara
This read better than the first book because the situation is now well established and we can get on with the action.
Miriam finds that a third word can be accessed by world-walking with a different locket. She reckons that people from that world are trying to kill her but still it seems like a good idea to go there and set up a patent selling business. This is a more developed world than the first one she encountered but this America is still running on coal as in 'The Two Georges' and has stea
...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/499648.html[return][return]Enjoyed it. Our heroine from the first book has a business plan, an economic model, three parallel universes to trade between, and a bunch of enemies out to kill her. Some vivid scene-setting, including of the weather; one nice little touch:[return][return]"I don't know much about English history, but it's got this civil war in the sixteen forties, goes on and on about some dude called the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. I looked him up in E ...more
Richard
Following the previous book in the series, "The Family Trade", the author added a bit more excitement in this book by adding another "world" to explore and also revealing the mysterious "6th family".

I think the author has opened up a HUGE world to explore with the mechanism that he has devised with the "world raveling" mechanism.

Other than that, the story I think is okay. It is definitely more building of world than building of character. He focused more on how to move the plot along than really
...more
John Hart
I tried to read the Merchant series but was turned off by Stross's wooden prose.

I think it was the second or third book in the series where he used the phrase "he pulled a face" five times in as many chapters. I'm not even sure what he's trying to say by using this idiom - some sort of wry expression to match the glib quippy dialogue?

Lazy writing, and cemented my growing suspicion that his writing can't match his ideas.
David Fewtrell
Carrying on straight from the first this adds more intrigue and another reality. It's starting to gather pace and I like it. Probably not enough to read the other 4 straight off the bat but I will over time. It's always good to have a familiar world to drop back into - like a comfortable pair of slippers or something :)
Alina
This novel is the second in a series about a family with a mysterious ability to pass between our world and their parallel world, where history took a different turn. They've used this ability to become a cross-dimensional drug cartel, transporting narcotics into our universe from their much less developed one. The main character is a member of the family who grew up in our world, ignorant of her special abilities. I didn't read the first book, where she discovered her heritage and dangerous rel ...more
Kalyn
In this installment, Miriam begins to impliment her ideas to change the business structure of the family and overthrow the old way of thinking by using all three worlds that her family can travel to. This upsets not only the powerful in the family but also the powerful in the lost branch of the family. Now Miriam is fighting two factions - all of whom would be happier with her dead. This idea should be a lot more exciting than it is - something always feel missing to me. I think it might be beca ...more
Beth
Still enjoying the series, despite not great writing and some obvious plot twists
Hester
The fun continues. My brother and I disagree about both Miriam and Roland. I think it isn't quite believable that Miriam makes the perfect technology choices outside of her wheelhouse, biotechnology. My brother, a freelance journalist, thinks it is credible. He thinks Roland is out of a romance novel. I think he has been in DC too long.
Olga and Brill continue becoming more interesting; they make a wonderful foil for how emotionally clueless Miriam can be. Her mother's emotional relationships we
...more
Nardia
The flaws I felt in the first book remained in the second. Miriam is as likeable as ever, and the worlds still have promise, but the building and execution of conflict don't really grab me the way I wanted and the entire process of Miriam executing her plan began to bore me. Perhaps the rest of the series gets better, but so far the flow of story and exposition do not convince me. A lot of great ideas and events hidden by chunks of dull writing. Charles Stross definitely has his strengths but pe ...more
Andy Matthews
This one was a little harder to get into at first. The second half of the book made it worthwhile though.
Arun
I'm not sure why I don't like this book. I read it and it's predecessor on the strong recommendation of a friend, but it hasn't grabbed me. I was skimming the last third of the book, because I just wanted it to be over. The characters are likable, the story is interesting, but I'm just not interested. Perhaps I can't get into his style of writing, but it doesn't seem all that different from the style of many others. I think I'm just not involved in the characters, and the problem seems both solv ...more
Joseph
A lot of "important" things happen in this novel. Economies change, characters visit new worlds, identities are in flux, etc. And yet, as far as I could tell, no people change in any meaningful ways, except for the one who dies. One of the outstanding opportunities in an ongoing series like this one is for character growth in successive novels (for example, the Vorkosigan Saga). The first two Merchant Princes books fail to seize that opportunity, and the saga looks to be a plot carnival, but a c ...more
Barbara
A silly but pleasant fantasy that owes much to Zelazny's Amber series. The world-hopping protagonist hails from modern America and has a bit of Mary-Sue about her: she's a professional journalist with a medical degree under her belt, a good understanding of macro-economics and a talent for and suprising working knowledge of running a business, as well as an above-average knowledge of mechanics, industry and engineering. But very little history and no interest in lamguages, so she isn't all thing ...more
John
See my review of book 1.
Matthew
Hard to describe why I want to like this book and series and yet find myself dreading attempting to finish the third.

May be a nice stopping point.
Thomas
Worth noting: this and The Family Trade were originally written as one volume but wound up split up for publication, which makes The Family Trade's abrupt and weak ending make a lot more sense.
Janine
An interesting concept to begin with, parallel-universe traveling Medicis.

This particular book was good; although it is, like the others, a little hrad to get through if you don't know an insane amount of medieval or industrial revolution fun facts to match up with the various time periods traveled through.

All in all, good series; interesting and original concept to start with and well written to boot.
Josh
The continuation of the merchant princes story about a family that can travel between worlds. In this book, a new family branch is revealed which has been traveling to a third world whose technology is in between Earth and the original homeworld of the family. Lots of theorizing about mercantilism and capitalism. Interesting, and a quick read, but somehow lacking in greatness.
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Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.

SF
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More about Charles Stross...
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