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The Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes #5)

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,674 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Things are going badly for the Clan in this 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 co ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Tor Science Fiction (first published April 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,476)
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Baal Of
Mar 02, 2015 Baal Of rated it liked it
200 hundred pages into this book, I was just about ready to give it 2 stars and be done, but then I kept plugging away, and found just enough to keep my interest up. I'm sill not happy with how the next character, Miriam, has been manipulated, and also, I hate stories that revolve around pregnancy. This one doesn't commit that sin, but it does represent a major continuing plot point. However, by the time Stross got around to talking about how knot theory wove into the idea of travel into other w ...more
Richard Derus
Dec 27, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

The latest of "The Merchant Princes" series, book five in fact, is a wonderful deepening of a chain of alternate worlds that resemble the mundane one you and I live in more, or less, depending on which strand of his story Stross is highlighting at any given moment.

The basic premise of all alternate history is to take off from the world the reader knows at a point he or she can get revved up about. In the US, that most often means alternate outcomes of the American Civil War,
This was an enjoyable continuation of Stross's 'Family' series, recommended if you have read the previous novels in the series, but he is not at the top of his game with this novel. It could be tighter, some of the dialog drifts, for me it became difficult to keep all the character associations clear (Stross should post a 'dramatis persone' at the front of his next in the series). Finally a well-intended warning to Stross that he is showing the initial symptoms of 'Turtledoveitis', i.e. Turtledo ...more
Oct 10, 2009 Sueij rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
About as subtle as my preschooler's _Blue's Clues_ shows.

The fifth book in (hopefully only) a six book series, I'm sadly hooked enough on the storyline to want to know what happens.

I've read some of Stross' technology-based and futuristic stories, and they are wonderful. I have no idea what went wrong with these books, but I strongly encourage you not to start the _Merchant Princes_ series.
Jun 18, 2009 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed by this book. It did very little to further develop any of the characters. It was so fragmented and lacking details that it didn't seem much really happened. My biggest disappointment was that it tied the series to the past executive administration in the US making the book tied to the present. I think that this was a really bad idea since it destroys the believability of the fantasy.
Jul 03, 2009 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Surprisingly dull and uneventful compared to Stross's other works. Plus, it's clearly intended to have a least one more sequel, allowing Stross to spread too little material over too many pages.
May 30, 2009 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
Stross' Merchant Prince saga continues to go off the rails. Too many characters and a confusing story prevented me from really enjoying this.
Aug 05, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Americans have not only discovered the Clans and their cross dimensional trade, they've found new ways to travel between them. Add six missing backpack nukes, a king who wants all the tinkers dead, and a third world revolting as well and you've got major drama and adventure.

All that and we didn't even mention the baby.........

Building on the previous books, the plots develop nicely and the characters twist and turn in ways that aren't quite expected. It's lots of fun and I'm really looking
Paul Weimer
Jul 07, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Merchant Prince series, about Miriam Beckstein, is the series that got me into the works of Charles Stross.

The Revolution Business is the fifth in this series. It follows off of the explosive ending to the fourth novel, where the machinations of several parties, ranging from the Clan to the U.S. Government, to the political enemies of the Clan in the Gruinmarkt, all fall against each other, inadvertently messing up each other.

Even more important is Miriam, our central character. In the novel
Christopher Sutch
Oct 29, 2013 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While some very awesome plot developments do occur in this penultimate volume of Stross's longest (to date) series, in general the writing (and--probably--editing) this book simply are not up to the usual level of excellence of Stross's work for Ace Books. Given that this novel and the final volume were published in the same year, this strikes me as probably a sign that Stross was simply fulfilling a contractual obligation to Tor, and for good reason: the editing (butchering) his work received a ...more
Clay Kallam
The fifth installment in one of my favorite series, Charles Stross’s The Merchant Princes turned out to be a disappointment, as “The Revolution Business” (Tor, $24.95, 320 pages), as it’s the weakest of the five-book series.

In his blog, Stross admits to being a bit burned out, and “The Revolution Business” is more about turning the wheels of an increasingly more complex plot than it is about engaging the reader in the life of heroine Miriam Beckstein, who suddenly found herself not only with the
Dev Null
Well we certainly answered a lot of questions - like whether this is meant to be events set in reality but hidden from the reader, or whether we're looking at some sort of alternate history - cleared that one up with an exclamation point on the end! But for a book that claims to be the final book in the series, if not (hint hint) the final book he will write about the world, too much is left up in the air at the end. What happens to Mirriam? What happens to the survivors of Gruinmarkt? What happ ...more
This is book five in Stross's Merchant Princes series, which features tech reporter Miriam Beckstein, who discovered she's actually a noble member of a family with the ability to cross between parallel Earths and who subsidize their extravagant lifestyle (and bring high tech toys, guns and medicine to their native world for themselves and to bribe the other nobles) by running contraband on our Earth.

It's hard to write a review about book five in a series, especially since I get the impression t
Nov 29, 2008 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After flying through the first three books in this series one after the other and picking up the fourth soon after I finished the third, I was expecting to have to wait a little while (until next spring, in fact) to read the fifth in this six-book series. I wasn't looking forward to it, either; for one thing, when I read the fourth book after a few-month break, it was a little tough jumping back into the world of the Merchant Princes and being sure of exactly what was going on in every storyline ...more
Jennifer Arnold
So, a while back I was talking with an old book snob friend from my Barnes & Noble days about genres that we did't read - mine was mystery (nope, don't like 'em), his was science fiction - which got me thinking about sci fi. A lot of authors I really like - Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing - hell, even Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of Day) has written what's essentially science fiction (and a great book, so here's a plug for Never Let Me Go). And, I took a science fiction class as an undergrad ( ...more
By now this series has shifted over to sci-fi (from it's fantasy origins). One of the covers blurbs describes it as "economic science fiction" - I might call it economic/political, but either way it's awesome.

This book, more than the previous four, is firmly set in the middle of the Bush administration. The author's a very liberal resident of Scotland, so it's interesting having his outsider's perspective. Sometimes he comes across as specifically harsh on President Bush and related officials, b
Apr 02, 2012 Cate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm ready for this series to be over. He has to spend so much time each book reaquainting us with all the characters and reminding us again and again of the complicated situations. All I can say is if he doesn't do a line by line reveal in the last book I will be severely pissed off. I hate these bits of dialogue he writes, which are very true to the way people talk, but leave so much unsaid that it's hard to keep track of who's speaking, let alone what's going on. The ideas in this series are i ...more
Bert Kotterink
Nov 23, 2014 Bert Kotterink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good

Keeps you reading till early in the morning
Read it only when you have the sequel ready to finish the series
Virgil Fuqua
Jun 23, 2009 Virgil Fuqua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Very much, with the qualification its a series #5
Recommended to Virgil by: Me, myself and I
This was the fifth book in the Merchant Prince series. I really hate series they just seem to keep on going. BUT, I love them in that they keep me coming back to read more.

Well this one did not end the series, It;s like they sya. Let's take it to the next level. We have a medival culture with atomic bombs, they stole them. So are Heroine is on the run in two different alternate history no stop make that three different Unicvers, I think its time for her to discover a fourth so she has place to
Feb 07, 2014 Helen-Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I like this series, though wish that he'd stayed w/ economic "revolution" rather than military
Jul 07, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun and engaging.
Joe Santoro
I was a big fan of the first couple books in this series (and Charles Stross in general), but this one was a little much for me. There are now 4 separate factions to keep track of, on 3 worlds, and the promise of more... things get confusing, and not alot of time is spent on any one character.

Add the fact that Stross deicides to use our REAL former political leaders (which was really jarring, to me) and this one fell flat.

And the ending... Oy! I HATE it went books don't end properly.

David Wade
A political rant disguised as alternate history/multiverse scifi. The earlier books in this series ranged from fair to very good. Stross' politicized self-righteous, and personal anger at the Bush Administration grafts itself into the storyline, cheapening the series and ultimately making it feel dated. The prose also becomes more tired, suggesting that Stross was running up against deadlines and seized upon his worldview for inspiration as a kind of default. A terrible waste of a promising seri ...more
Apr 04, 2011 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Miriam assumes her royal duties things are spinning out of control on Earth prime and the Clan world; think nuclear weapons!! Is the New London world having a French, Russian, or American revolution? Sequel to The Merchants' War.
I don't want this to be a political posting but I would have much preferred Stross to have used a more generic US administration; "Dick Cheney is Darth Vader" gets a little old after a while. Good read otherwise.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2012 Patrick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi_fantasy
Somewhat blokey Sci-Fi (albeit with several lead characters), and quite complicated parallel-worlds premise which takes a fair bit of catching up to if you haven't read earlier books in the series (I hadn't).

Still, some interesting ideas, especially where the author tries to get inside the head of how the Bush-era US military would deal with a political threat from a parallel universe in the medieval era ;)
Mar 01, 2010 Karlo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Read this one while my wife was recovering post-section at the hospital. I felt that the series had drifted in the last book, but this one seemed to bring things back on track for me. The plot has moved forward with irrevocable changes to Earth Prime (which pleased me). I still don't appreciate the importance of Earth 3, but I imagine this will become clear in time. Overall this was a fun read without being heavy.
i like his bureaucracy cthulhu comedies more, but that is because i'm frivolous-minded. if you don't mind ballooning plotlines and you like your fantasy (or is it SF?) salted with economics and sound business practice - which is actually pretty cool - then this is the series for you. stross is also not scared to kill off substantive characters. i'm not yet clear on whether or not this is a good thing.
Aug 01, 2009 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Five of The Merchant Princes takes the inertia from book four and... really doesn't do much with it. The plot direction felt obvious and I didn't particularly care for Stross' decision to take potshots at our previous executive branch. Not that I have a problem with that, just that it's been done better by others, and didn't particularly add anything to the book.
Joseph Teller
This book begins to finally reveal some of the secrets that have been woven through the series and ends on a major cliff hanger that definitely makes one want to read the next (and supposedly final) book in the series.

Revolutions seem to be contagious, though in different forms, and this book is about three (or is it four) going on in three worlds...

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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.

More about Charles Stross...

Other Books in the Series

The Merchant Princes (6 books)
  • The Family Trade (The Merchant Princes, #1)
  • The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes, #2)
  • The Clan Corporate (The Merchant Princes, #3)
  • The Merchants' War (The Merchant Princes, #4)
  • The Trade of Queens (The Merchant Princes, #6)

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“It made economic sense, if you looked at it from the right angle; it was not in the Clan’s interest for the price of the commodity they shifted to drop—and drop it surely would, if it was legalized or if the pressure to keep up the war on drugs ever slackened. But for Mike Fleming, who’d willingly given the best years of his life to the DEA, it was a deeply unsettling idea; nauseating, even. Bought and sold: We’re doing the dealers’ work for them, keeping prices high.” 0 likes
“The idiot child they’ve placed on the throne does not impress with his acumen.” 0 likes
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