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The Traders' War: A Merchant Princes Omnibus

(The Merchant Princes #3-4)

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,075 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Miriam was an ambitious business journalist in Boston. Until she was fired—then discoverd, to her shock, that her lost family comes from an alternate reality. And although some of them are trying to kill her, she won’t stop digging up secrets. Now that she knows she's inherited the family ability to walk between worlds, there’s a new culture to explore.
 
Her alternate home
...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Tor Books (first published May 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Robert
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I'm ambivalent about this series: most of Stross's flaws are absent - no Luggage Syndrome! - but somehow it's not the page turner most of his books are. Thinking about why that is led me to two conclusions. Firstly the characters are not that interesting. Secondly, the characteristic Stross humour is conspicuous by its absence. There's another volume combining books five and six that wraps up the series and I'll likely read it some time, because I'm just invested enough to want to see how things ...more
Wesley George
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I've liked pretty much everything I've ever read from Stross, and have never had concerns about his pacing, but this book(s) took some work to finish. The concept is still intriguing, and the effort put into fleshing out not just one, but 3 distinct worlds is noticeable. Unfortunately, it got really bogged down in the political maneuvering, and the multiple periods of near-imprisonment meant that the reader also felt the character's boredom as it dramatically slowed the pace of the story. It sti ...more
Melliane
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I had a good time with the first novel that compiled the first two volumes and I was curious to see what the author would present us for the following events. I must say that he did a pretty amazing job. Oh yes because he has not only created a world, but three very different along with the characters who continually visit them. Besides, it goes without saying, but we have a lot of different actors in view with this big organization and it is always fascinati
...more
Kara Babcock
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Miriam Beckstein discovered that she can travel between worlds. In fact, she’s the lost scion of the Clan, a family of worldwalkers from the other world, which is at about a medieval level of tech development. Discovering the Clan’s monopoly on inter-world trade of devices and drugs, Miriam also stumbles into the middle of a Byzantine political situation. As matters rapidly deteriorate, The Traders’ War raises the stakes significantly for Miriam and friends: wedding bells, nuclear threats, and t ...more
Laura
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like that portable weaponry transcends timelines/worlds for continuous boomstick action.

Related: I saw a theory on the philosophical stomping ground that is Twitter that when the Cubs won the World Series, we shifted into a dark timeline. I was just counting on the other three horsemen of the apocalypse putting in an appearance. I THOUGHT WE COULD HANDLE IT. Sorry, y'all.

Alas, this is still the only planet I can live on. Spiking my coffee now.
Luke
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chewed through all three volumes of this trilogy in about 10 days, so I guess I quite liked it! Some light spoilers ahead so take care if you worry about that sort of thing.





The basic setup is that there is an alternate world to ours (actually it's very similar to, but not quite the same as, our world; there are a couple of clues in the text which point to it diverging from us somewhere between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq), where history took a different turn and a bunch of post-Viking princi
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Dave
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part 2 of a three part series, or parts 3 and 4 of the original 6 parter. The adventures of world-walking Miriam and friends run deeper and slower in this second act. Looking fwd to part 3.
Peter
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miriam's gotten used to her recently-discovered family having the ability to pass between parallel worlds, and even has schemes to make their businesses more profitable... but what she hasn't gotten used to is how stuck they are in the ways of the medieval society they started from. Isolated from her allies, she's pressured into a marriage alliance... and as bad as it seems, things are about to get a whole lot worse. Because back on the Earth she grew up in, the US government has discovered the ...more
Dare Talvitie
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Merchant Princes series: It's like Amber, but it's sci-fi masquerading as fantasy instead of the other way around. It's like A Song of Ice and Fire crashing into The Sum of All Fears, except with more likeable characters and less horrible politics. It's really, really good science fiction.

The Traders' War in particular is a bit of an uneven book that takes a while to get going - but once it gets its groove on, it's thrilling, surprising and immensely satisfying. The plot may not play quite a
...more
Out0fAmmo
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pace of the story undergoes a hard reset and all the momentum is lost initially. It feels like a substantial portion of the beginning could've been trimmed. The author seems to belabor the point about how difficult life was for women in the Middle Ages (as if men had it any easier). It's difficult to feel sympathetic for the main character when she acts so irrationally but I suppose that's setting the stage for personal growth in the third act.

That all may come off as sounding negative so le
...more
Alex Borghgraef
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Second volume I read in this alternate universe/parallel worlds series, and again it's mainly Stross having great fun and not taking himself too seriously (some character names really made me chuckle). But he's having a blast and so was I. Overall, great worldbuilding, nice attention to detail and the unintended consequences of the rules applying to these worlds, devious scheming and the characters aren't too shabby either (which is often the weak point of this sort of near-rpg-session-log genre ...more
Impishfae
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I hit the end running and I now must start the next in the series instantly. Right now!


But it also took me ages to get to the final third. I just wasn’t motivated to prioritise reading it.

Still, I love that even in a variety of patriarchal worlds, it is the norm that his female characters all are powerful in different ways and have a story of their own, not just as an adjunct to the hero’s tale.
Tony
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuation of the saga of the parallel world-walking clan. 3 versions of Earth in different states of political and economic development begin to collide because of the clan's ability to move between them and exploit their needs and abilities. This is a really addictive series; good story line, good characters and plenty of cliff-hangers that keep you coming back. Great fun.
Vincent
After the fist book, I was prepared to read about the ascent of Miriam a la Connecticut Yankee/Lest Darkness Fall/Cross-Time Engineer/ kind of way in new Britain but that's not what happens at all.

I said that The Bloodline Feud read like the Chronicles of Amber crossed with Lord Kalvan but this one is more like a Tom Clancy techno-thriller than anything else.
Mohsin
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Stross is a fun writer, but he sometimes gets entirely too bogged down with minutiae. The constant references to random code names that he's clearly fond of generating, and painstakingly detailed (yet oh so very boring) operations, combined with the severe dumbing-down of the key characters in the series until this point make these two books an utter slog.
Peggy Thomson
Having Cheney as a behind the scenes character is really disconcerting-if not nauseating. The anagram happy US government guys are pretty unsympathetic characters and the growing mass of characters cause some confusion for me. I think some of this distracts from the stories of our main character and her closer associates.
Shaun
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rogues, scoundrels & idealists.

Fast paced, a well handled group of viewpoint characters and a heroine you can really cheer for. Plus a plot that keeps coming up with twist and turns so you can't be sure of what will happen next.
...more
Andre
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
As with the first part, I found I was more in love with the overall concept and ideas than with the story and characters.
Paul Klinger
Exciting and quite fun, but after the end of the previous book I was really hoping for something slower paced and more focused on the details of technology transfer between the worlds.
Aaron
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found the book to kind of drag in the middle, but the last half was really good and action packed with quite a few divergent storylines all happening at once and then converging at the end.
Fiona
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author created a believable and intriguing world which drew me in and kept me turning each page. Very enjoyable.
Jamie Rich
The Traders' War (The Merchant Princes, #3-4) by Charles Stross

Okay, so you thought the first Omnibus was confusing? Well, then let's add in another world with it's now set of distant, and pissed off Clan, and oh yeah, the US government is also pissed off as well.
So now our hero, the ever plucky Miriam aka Helge, has to negotiate thru landmines (sometimes literally) in all three worlds, while dodging various bullets. Oh, and being under house arrest is not a good idea for her either!
At least th
...more
Julie
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess this being the middle book it was less riveting than the previous. Still, curious about the story and I'm sure I'll be reading the next one soon.
Joe Martin
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So there’s a Clan of jumped-up tinkers from an alternate timeline who can world-walk between timelines. They grew massively wealthy through a simple physical arbitrage. They pick up medicinal grade heroin down in Florida or Central America. They switch over to their home timeline, still stuck in the medieval period. They load the heroin into a caravan, guarded by Clan members with automatic weapons. They transport the heroin all the way north to their home base of the Gruinmarkt. Then they switc ...more
Charles
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read the first book in this series, The Bloodline Feud and through it was great. I'm finding this book to be exceedingly dull.

I think my change in mind has to do with the author's change in writing the story. The first book was written from the perspective of the Miriam character alone. This was well handled. This book has the author alternating characters. There are never less than four active in the mix at once. While I like the Miriam character, these other characters I either don't like, o
...more
Pavlo Tverdokhlib
The pacing sucks in this book. The novelty's worn off, and the main character of the first 2 books spends most of this volume under various types of house arrests, to the point where her chapters/sections were easily the most boring part of the book.

Some of the other storylines were better, but it sometimes seemed that Stross is juggling too many balls, and he keeps trying to add more facets to the story- to the point where I don't really see a way to resolve it all nicely. Also, he completely
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Clyde
Good book. But, definately not a stand-alone novel. This is the middle volume of the reedited and reissued omnibus editions of Charlie Stross's Merchant Princes stories. (This one combines The Clan Corporate and The Merchants' War.) The Bloodline Feud should be read before The Traders' War and it will be necessary to read The Revolution Trade to finish the story.
What's it all about? Well, there are alternate Earths with histories that differ from our own. And, there are some people, a small rela
...more
Jeremy Frens
If I were rating just the first half of this book, I would give this two stars, maybe only one. Miriam was a good main character in the first book. She's pushed to the side and given the worst plotline. She's virtually and then physically held prisoner. The one time she's on her own, she gets into serious trouble. There's a slight hint of violent rape threat against her. There's a definite forced marriage and forced pregnancy. (Ooops. Technically that's a spoiler, but you should know how shitty ...more
Matt Brown
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A strong continuation of the series, the shifting allegiances and capabilities (if that's the right term) for many of the supporting characters help to keep the story interesting.

Towards the end of the book (I guess book #4 of the original series), you start to see a shift away from the "magic" aspects towards more science fiction style explanations for the world-walking and universes. It's going to be interesting to see where that ends up in the final volume.

Reading Time: 10 hours, 17 mins
Hisham El-far
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second installment of the Merchant Princes series that follows the intricate relationships and actions of a convoluted clan of world walkers. Crossing universes/timelines using a strange knotwork pattern that triggers their step across the barrier of reality.

In this installment two previously published novels (The Clan Corporate, The Merchants' War) have been re-edited back into their originally intended form - as The Traders War.

Another brilliant book in an exceptional series.
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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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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 Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes, #5)
  • The Trade of Queens (The Merchant Princes, #6)

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