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

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  2,502 ratings  ·  91 reviews
A bold fantasy in the tradition of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, 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. Brai
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
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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
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
Baal Of
Decent story with good characters. Miriam is nicely complex as a female heroine without being the absurd action hero/ninja that is common in a lot of fantasy fiction. The world building is interesting, if not as imaginative as a lot of Stross's other work. I'm impressed that he killed off a pretty major supporting character near the end. This series is not my favorite work by Stross, but it's enjoyable enough that I'll continue since I've already got the books sitting on my shelf.
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
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
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I think Stross should have stopped with two worlds for this series, and not added on a third. It's a little too complex, and it means you don't really get to understand any world very well. I do like that most of the characters in this series are women, and kick-ass women. He overdoes that a little, but it's a nice balance to most science fiction. I'll keep reading this series even though it is not the Laundry Files because I find his thinking pretty interesting, even when his plots don't match ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
Nicholas Whyte[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
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
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 :)
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
Kerryn Taylor
The economics and political part of this story bored me silly but the characters and their actions held my attention so I had to keep reading to find out what happens. I will give the third book in the series a try out of pure curiosity.
Brandon Fraser
It was alright. Well thought out, and the world travel and interactions remain interesting. Miriam seems a bit unreal, too knowledgeable and good at everything.
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
Still enjoying the series, despite not great writing and some obvious plot twists
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
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
Jessica Taylor
Better than the first one of the series...
Andy Matthews
This one was a little harder to get into at first. The second half of the book made it worthwhile though.
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
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
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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 Clan Corporate (The Merchant Princes, #3)
  • The Merchants' War (The Merchant Princes, #4)
  • The Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes, #5)
  • The Trade of Queens (The Merchant Princes, #6)
Accelerando The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1) Singularity Sky (Eschaton, #1) Halting State Glasshouse

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