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Merchants' War (Merchant Princes Series #4)
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Merchants' War (The Merchant Princes #4)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,744 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Miriam Beckstein is a young, hip, business journalist in Boston. She discovered in The Family Tradeand The Hidden Familythat her family came from an alternate reality, that she was very well-connected, and that her familywas 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 the
ebook, 387 pages
Published November 19th 2010 by Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,535)
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Joel Neff
This series frustrates me to no end. I really enjoy each book in the series (so far anyway), yet it has taken me the better part of each novel before it fully grabs my attention. And by better part, I mean that it's only in the last 20% that I find I can't put it down. Up until that point, each of the novels has had to contend with every other distraction in my not inconsiderable arsenal.

All of which is to say that, yeah, I liked it and will be buying the fifth book sooner or later. When I do st
Baal Of
Really about a 2.5 stars, I'm finding this series frustrating. I'm not very engaged with the characters, and it's a bit of grind. Stross did introduce another? parallel world which has some intriguing possibilities, but hasn't really done much with it in this book. Perhaps that is to come. I don't like what he's doing with Miriam. It seems she just keeps having things happen to her, and getting pulled farther and farther out of the center of power. Definitely my least favorite Stross series. Two ...more
Clare O'Beara
If someone has keenly followed Miriam's adventures they will probably enjoy this book of travel between alternate worlds more than I did. The series is one long story with no real conclusions, just continuations.

In this episode various characters have to fight for their lives in one or other of the two alternate worlds, though our modern US military has somehow managed to get there as well, and an atomic bomb is being sought in today's America. This makes for a confusing situation which appears
Beth Quittman
Having two characters, both scientists, one named Hu and one named Huw, was a puzzling decision.

Odd genetic inaccuracies continue from last book. If world-walking is inherited through mitochondrial DNA, it shouldn't be a recessive, it should be maternal descent, no?
This book lost a star for ending mid-action. A series with an indefinite number of books is fine, but it's courteous to wrap up the immediate plot arc and give the reader a chance to "get off the bus" at the end of every book (or at least every book after the second).
Liam Proven
Stross continues to carry a remarkable and excellent amount of pace as the Family Trade sequence hits its penultimate book. To be honest, at this point, it's not even really pretending to be fantasy any more - it's an SF story, one strand of which occurs in a pseudo-mediæval worldline. Lots of unexpected twists and turns and new directions for the story line in this one, together with some new character directions.

These books are more people-focussed than Charlie's earlier novels - really, tech
I stayed up last night finishing this book, and I was glad I did. I really enjoyed this next venture into the Family Trade series, and it gave me a lot to think about.

(Seriously, I was speculating about group theory and genetics and world travel and what the heck the current (soon to be outgoing) administration would do with world-travel. At one in the morning. I learned that I can remember the definition of an Abelian group at one at the morning, but heck if I can remember the name.)

I enjoyed
Fourth book in this series. Picked it up as soon as it was out in paperback. Some of you may remember my frenetic flight through the first three books in the series back in the spring. I was waiting with bated breath for this one, and as soon as I pulled it out of the box at the bookstore where I work, I bought it and started reading it. Well, I finished the stock order first, but it definitely bumped the other book I was reading back to the back burner. And now at least one and possibly two Cha ...more
Dans ce quatrième tome, on retrouve Miriam Beckstein juste après le coup d'état qui a mis Egon, alias le Pervers, au pouvoir. Coup de bol, dans ce tome, ça n'est pas la menace la plus immédiate pour Miriam qui se trouve dans une terre parallèle (évidement, puisque c'est précisément tout le sel de cette histoire).
Je suis bien plus content de ce tome que du précédent, il faut bien le dire. En effet, l'héroïne y était coincée la plupart du temps, et l'auteur n'avait pas encore réussi à se détacher
Christopher Sutch
FINALLY Charles Stross gets control of his own series. After three extremely uneven (and by uneven I mean generally bad to hideous), rather unusual for an author as gifted as Stross, this fourth novel in _The Merchant Princes_ series is more typical of his other work. While the (alleged) protagonist of the series _still_ does absolutely nothing (other than flee from assassination attempt to assassination attempt; she even thinks to herself at one point, "I wish I could _do_ something!"), the sup ...more
I've been tough on this series, finding that some of the books were a bit frustrating, but I liked this one rather more. It certainly advanced the storyline, balanced the various locations about evenly, and started tying off some loose ends from previous installments. About time, too.

Oh, and some resolutions were reached without having to go through Miriam, the heroine so far. Lessons learned from volume 3, perhaps?

Not sure I'd recommend reading the series to get to this one, but if you made it
I liked the first two books of the Merchant Princes series a lot and was a little disappointed by the somewhat lame third part. Hence, I was skeptical when I started with "The Merchants' War".

Luckily, this one is much stronger than its predecessor. The story is driven forward with a faster pace, some characters and places that were neglected a little bit in "The Clan Corporate" receive more spotlight, and Stross introduces a couple of new characters whom I find very likeable - and, more importa
Andreas Payer
4 stars because I am a fan of Stross, and even more so a fan of this series. I highly recommend the series, The Merchant Princes, it's fast paced, entertaining and imaginative, and the ideas stick in the brain long past the point of reading. This particular book reminded me of the last GRR Martin book, Feast for Crows. Not that the books have any similarities in subject matter, but because they are transitional novels, lots of cliffhangers, but no resolution. So while I enjoyed devouring this on ...more
3 and a half stars. Book 4 of the Merchant Princes series, in recovery from the mess that is Book 3. Miriam and her Leveler go on the lam via luxury transcontinental train, civil war between the Pretender and the worldwalker merchants ensues in the Auld Country, and the government task force in this world closes in on the worldwalkers, casting them as enemy alien terrorists based on the nuclear threat Matthias engineered when he defected. in short, somewhat of a return to form (though the first ...more
Brandon Fraser
This one was more interesting than the last. I find myself enjoying it more as he focuses on more characters and storylines.
Book 4 in the adventures of Miriam Beckstein (formerly an American business journalist, and now a reluctant Countess in an alternate world).

after the Royal coup, Miriam flees to world 3 (where she's started a business) and remains in hiding from...pretty much everyone. her W3 friends are planning a revolution and not very happy to see her :)

in the Clan world, civil war is threatening and in our world the FTO (organisation set up to deal with the 'narcoterrorist' Clan threat) is working on a way
Much better than book 3, action really picks up, interesting new characters.
So this installment is where things get really complicated - the US government of our world has discovered the family and the illegal activities they're using to finance themselves and has decided to get involved. Miriam is still a weak character but now the story driving the actions of the characters makes more sense and is more coherent. An old flame shows up, but at a totally wrong time, and Miriam is still on the run from both branches of the family. All sides are setting up their plans and ...more
This book is a lot more action packed than the previous book and Charles Stross made the book more action packed with may sides trying to get a leg up on the situation.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more characters now, so the original character, Miriam, is kind of put in the way side. I was hoping for more spunk from her, but all I am getting is that she gets into trouble, and she makes it worse for everybody. (which I guess is a plot device, but still... blah)

Can't wait for the next two books.
Joseph Aleo
Charles Stross managed to to succeed with The Merchants' War despite my initial misgivings. First, I feel that most authors who can't write what they need to say in one book are being lazy or trying to milk the cash cow with a series. Two, the last book Stross in the Merchant Princes series was king of dull but he picked up the pace and delivered a wallop with The Merchants' War. The simple truth of the matter is that Stross is an amazingly inventive author and succeeds where other writers fail.
At the half way point I am stopping. I am finding myself skipping through pages just to see if anything enjoyable happens. At this point, I have an even lower opinion than before for the likable characters (Brill, Paulie) from the previous book. The heroine has become a waste of precious wordage, and I still see no redeeming qualities in the people or worlds being written about.

I kind of feel like I did when I hit book 6 in the Wheel of Time...tired, bored and unhappy.
Alan Jeddeloh
Another volume, another cliffhanger...
Tim Hicks
Sigh. I foolishly thought this would end the series. If I had to sum it up briefly, I'd say, "all the pawns move forward a space." Most of the book has character A explaining to character B what character C has just done. One group finds something odd; one minor character discovers something from his ultralight; there's quite a lot of travelling from here to there while trying to avoid Bad Guys.

Yawn. It's time to wrap it up.
OK- I wasn't especially keen on the series when it started.

But at this point it's got a lovely twisty and convoluted plot, and I am enjoying it a lot. However: reading the previous volumes is required for this enjoyment, since keeping at least a vague track of who knows what and when and why is important to the enjoyment, and it's not spelled out here.

I'm about halfway through now, and looking forward to reading more.
Miriam walks three worlds, but is slipping into trouble in all of them. The American goverment finds out the walkers can move nukes, and sends a premptive strike to the walkers main world. They manage to blow up the army that is fighting to destroy the walkers, instead of destroying them. World three is slipping into war, too, as one of Miriam's cousins discovers world four, an advanced world where humans are extinct.
OK, picking up a bit. Much better than book 3, though he switches points of view so quickly that you get a bit of whiplash.

In previous books, a lot of things happened which seemed to be omens of catastrophe, which I thought was kinda dumb except now those trainwrecks are coming home to nest, and that makes it a little better. I mean, he is diverging from the Amber candy that I'm looking for, but really, it's not so bad.
This was a 2.5, maybe. Part of the problem was my own had been a while since I read the previous book, and I was having a hard time remembering who everyone was. However, I also felt like this one moved more slowly than the previous books...overall, not a lot seemed to happen. It seemed like one of those books that was setting up more interesting stuff in future sequels.
Joseph Teller
Fourth book in the series, this one picks up rapidly from the last and moves things along, but occasionally suffers from too many points of view being switched between.

All in all it is a reasonable follow thru, but ends rather abruptly in the middle of some confusion, to achieve what seems an author or publisher desired 'cliffhanger' for the second volume in a row.

Angela R.
After book 3 of this series, I was prepared for another clunker. But "The Merchant's War" was pretty good. It did get boring by bogging the reader down in politics and petty details at times, but on the whole the plot moved along nicely and kept my interest. I'll definitely be looking forward to reading #5 in the series!
Book 3 in this series was mediocre, and I wasn't sure this one would be worth reading. But this book gets the story back on track, with an intelligent storyline, many many complications, and a lot of scientific speculation about the greater implications of the family's ability to travel between timelines.
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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 Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes, #5)
  • The Trade of Queens (The Merchant Princes, #6)

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