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The Revolution Business

(The Merchant Princes #5)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  2,212 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Things are going badly for the Clan in this new 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 ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Tor Books (first published April 2009)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  2,212 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Richard Derus
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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,
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Baal Of
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 ...more
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. ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can the intensity just continue to build like this?! Anyway, yeah, another cliffhanger, so make sure you have the next book on hand.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Never mind that; I want a copy of book 6. Now!
Those back packable nukes we heard about? They're still around and there are factions in the Clan and that Family Trade Organisation the US government (well, a department of the US government) set up to deal with the Clan is really wanting to deal with the Clan and Mike Fleming, the agent who got caught in a man trap outside the Summer Palace, suffers with a broken leg all through this book and Miriam has discovered what happened to herself back in
Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
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 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
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 rated it it was ok
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.
Leonardo Etcheto
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Now the nukes show up. They confirm there are six missing. One is found in Boston and sent back to Medieval world where it zaps the bad guy from the previous book. So the new bad guy is of course the government of the united states who basically stop at nothing for oil. Ho hum, pretty tired trope, but book was written when W was president and so it goes. I am always amused when people imagine these huge secret conspiracies in the government. They can't keep anything secret, and the theft is not ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I may have given this an extra half star just because it finally gets Miriam back to be at least somewhat proactive. She's still the center of a maelstrom of activity as a couple major plot threads get resolved (one that made a large part of the previous book kind of pointless, but oh well) and all the other plot threads start tying themselves together. A couple of the plot pieces get short shrift (poor Paulette gets one brief scene, and the entire New Britain storyline has major ramifications ...more
Tom Rowe
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! Charles Stross really hates Dick Cheney. This book continues the Merchant Princes story. It's a page turner, and while many reviews I saw call this series predictable, I didn't find it to be. It's fun. It's a page turner. I'm burning through each of these books in 2-3 days. Good times. Now on to the last one to see how this thing ends. It' feels like he has a lot of balls in the air. I'm curious if he will catch them all.
Tracy Leigh
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
These cliffhangers are killing me. Seriously. I’ve never read a serious that so obviously just leaves you hanging. It’s terrible when you don’t have the next one to just plow into. Frustrating, really. But I love this series very much and haven’t gotten tired of it at all. I’ve kept reading this series even though David Lynch released a new book and we got a new puppy. That says quite a lot, even if I only rated this one a 3. Sometimes I’m just not into the New Britain storyline. ...more
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable. Especially the revelations regarding the other worlds and the necessary implications (perfect dentistry was a GREAT universe artifact). I'm excited for reading the last book that bridges this series with Dark State/ Empire Games BUT, given what I already know after having read those books, I'm supremely disappointed that we haven't even seen a hint of the 'big bad' yet, despite having something like 4 books worth of evidence of their existence. It's unnerving.
Shiftless McKenney
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Thankfully short but this felt like one huge stalling point in the story. One discovery is made which is then explained then explained again then explained again while the rest is redundant politics. Overall building up the story but that was the entire book. Still, looking forward to diving into the next book as so far this series has been fairly good.
Alan Norrie
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is hard going at times. The politics of the early 2000s seems out of place in a fantasy novel. Most of it seems to be the author's own fantasies and this dates very fast. It would be good if the book had concentrated on Huw, Hulius and Elena because these characters seemed fresh and interesting. Erasmus's storyline in New Britain was really boring and the other characters are getting very tired. Miriam/Helge's battle learning hochsprache is really annoying. Even peasant maids can learn ...more
Mark Edlund
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Economic science fiction - Stross continues his Merchant Princes series with a book that really accelerates the hostilities between our Earth and the parallel Gruenmarkt. Miriam gets an very unexpected and unwanted promotion. The ending is sobering.
No pharmacy references.
Canadian references - brief mention of Ontario and Quebec; character talks about escaping to Canada.
Karl Schaeffer
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miriam becomes parts of the revolution in New Britain in Timeline 3. The Clan is factionalizing in Timeline 1 as well as being pursued by their nonworldwalking brethern in Timeline 1. meanwhile in Timeline 2, researchers for the US Gov't have figured out how to worldwalk. Shite's gettin' realz!
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-and-gone
Like the others in the series, it continues to set up and expand an interesting universe. But also like the others in the series, not much actually happens. There are a couple of events that have major effects on the universe, but the book doesn't actually spend that much TIME on those events.
Joe Jungers
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interdimensional politics?

Those never end well.
Damnit, Charlie! Two cliffhangers in a row? Really?

That said, quite a good book - a corking good tale, and a wild ride and all that.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another huge cliffhanger! Really enjoying the character development though
David Shlingbaum
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice cont' for the story a bit slower then the previous books but still good
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, fiction, fantasy
Review reserved for The Trade of Queens (listening as a pair).
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Series isn't continuing well.. I feel like I have to finish it though because of the investment.
Michael Tedin
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ramps up the tension

The series gets more and more tense. Stross fully believes the dictum “Get your Character Up a Tree, then throw rocks at her”.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this, volume 5, the proper conclusion to volume 4 happens on about page 141. I blame the publishing industry as a whole and their obsession with turning out similarly-sized volumes on a tight timeline more than I blame Mr. Stross. If the true volume 5 starts on page 142 and runs through to page 320, it's a page turner--I finished that part in a single sitting.
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
Christopher Sutch
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...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.


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)
“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.” 1 likes
“The idiot child they’ve placed on the throne does not impress with his acumen.” 1 likes
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