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The Trade of Queens

(The Merchant Princes #6)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,983 ratings  ·  111 reviews
A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, have carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam alive only long enough to bear her child, the ...more
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Tor Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  1,983 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

This is the sixth book, and final installment featuring these characters, of "The Merchant Princes." Alternate history novels about time-continuum-hopping people from an alternate America that's feudally run and stuck in ~1500 technologically; the few people who can hop between our own USA and their world (called "the Gruinmarkt") are rich beyond measure in both worlds.

The price they exact from our own USA is high, being the best and most successful of drug smugglers; the price
Nov 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
I'm a very big fan of Charles Stross, and from the beginning I very much enjoyed this series depicting the struggles of the heroine, Miriam as she came to not only come to grips with the revelation that she had the ability to travel between various worlds, but also that she was heiress to a powerful family in a parallel universe. That's a lot for anyone to try to get a grip on, but add assassination attempts, the family drug dealing business and her trying to build a business empire of her own ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helena Jole
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
A most unsatisfying conclusion to an overly convoluted and drawn-out series.

The first book (The Family Trade) caught my eye at the library. It wasn't anything like I was expecting, but I enjoyed it (though it was rather heavier on the sex and violence than I generally go for). The first couple of books are okay, and then it all devolves into a big unfocused mess.

Maybe I'm just no good with political subtlety, but when you're so subtle that your reader can't even tell what's going on I think
Jan 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Obscure, convoluted, hard to follow, poorly written. The premise of the first book was interesting, but it all went downhill from there. What started as a fascinating fantasy idea devolved into an apocolyptic morality parable. Stross is a good author, but you wouldn't know it from the Merchant Princes books.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a white-knuckle read right until the very end! Whew. It feels like this series was heavily influenced by the way the world turned after 9/11... Also, willful ignorance and refusing to change/adapt can be extraordinarily dangerous to those around you...
Clay Kallam
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Charles Stross’ “Trade of Queens” (Tor, $24.99, 304 pages) wraps up the The Merchant Prince, but unfortunately, Stross ran out of gas down the stretch, and the series, which started out brilliantly, limps to the finish line.

It may just be that Stross is burning himself out with his workload, which isn’t limited to just this series. He would probably do himself a favor, and certainly his readers, if he focused less on quantity and more on quality. Still, “Trade of Queens” is a pretty fun read,
Baal Of
finally at the end of this series, and it really cranked up like it was going to be something exciting. Nuclear bombs destroying the White House and killing the president, ought to be pretty great. Yet, my attention wandered, as Miriam got sidelined, and other more boring characters to center stage. And the ending with the US carpet bombing the alternate Earth with nukes, while most of the family flee to yet another Earth, but it just fell flat. I guess Stross was trying to say something about ...more
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
totally unsatisfying ending.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been able to read this series one right after the other so the only mildly annoying part is the need to jump quite a few paragraphs where we're given background - again. I've read series where I didn't have a middle or first volume and have had all sorts of references to people and events I know nothing about and unexplained references are probably more annoying than repeated explanations so I'll barrel along skipping stuff I remember.
The characters are very clear in their motivation to the
Paul Weimer
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Six books in, the Merchant Princes series has come to an end.

For those of you just joining us, Miriam Beckstein, journalist from Boston, discovered that she really is the scion of a family with a secret--with the aid of special clockwork knots, they can transport themselves between our world, and the primitive feudal world of their birth. They have used this power to amass wealth and power by through the lucrative trade of drug smuggling, using the Gruinmarkt as a way to get around the DEA.
Debbie Ginsberg
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a fun series, though repetitious in parts. Now that I've finished the first six books, I've got to wonder if Stross lives in a world where:

1. Everyone whistles tunelessly.
2. Everyone smiles humorlessly.
3. Everyone is constantly fighting an internal war with their own bile.
4. Everyone always seems like they've might have grown a second head.

Jonathan Lupa
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Glad I read the series, but it wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be after book 1.

When I read a book, and something happens, I consider that event from the point of view of the characters and the point of view of the author. Why are these Characters doing what they are doing? What is the author thinking? In Stross's books, it seems a lot of things happen for no good reason whatsoever. Events are chronicled that do not follow from the past, nor feed into the future. As such, they are
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, to-sell-or-donate
Without a full review or a lot of spoilers, it's hard to explain why I liked this so much less than the previous volumes in the series. I'll just say two things: (1) I don't think this provides a satisfying wrap-up for most of the story lines started in the earlier books, but the acknowledgements in the front make it clear that there won't be another book to tie things up. (2) In this volume, the main story turns a corner in this book into a very different place, and one I don't really want to ...more
Michael Hirsch
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Meh. This series is too long and really went no where. It was a good concept, but should have been one novel instead of 6. If it had, then I would be excited to read the next novel, but not the next series.

That said, Stross is always a good read. These books are written in his most pedestrian style, but that's still pretty good.
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
The series doesn't end so much as it just stops. Probably for the best, given Stross' increasing ranty tone.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is the last in The Merchant Princes series, originally 6 books later republished as three larger books encompassing pairs of the originals.

I generally hate series where the individual books have no real endings – or worse still cliffhanger endings. However, I would be prepared to make an exception for this series because for me it was a terrific story that was hard to put down. The story had many threads, but it all revolved around a group of people who had the ability to “world-walk”
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This series goes out with a bang. A lot of them, actually. There were times where I was seriously concerned for the main characters. Miriam takes center stage again, as the factions of the Clan battle each other and America, and it really doesn't go well for anyone involved. Miriam is left to pick up the pieces from all the various fall-outs as she takes the leadership role that has been pushed toward her. But that's all kind of secondary to the world-building (or perhaps world-destroying might ...more
Leonardo Etcheto
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Series ends with a bang – medieval world gets a taste of thermonuclear warfare and a lesson that no-one is alive to learn. The clan change worlds again, but changes are they will just screw it all up again by being greedy and selfish. The youth are in control and are wanting freedom from the old rules, but have no new scheme to put in place so who knows how it will end. The third world is basically about to have a Russian / French terror type of revolution so hang on to your hat.
A world full of
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure
So finally done - it was a pretty decent series. Got a bit depressing and hard to get through / follow towards the end, and I missed the simplicity of the earlier ones - as you add more people, more characters, more worlds, and more problems, it just gets harder and harder, more and more sluggish - but ACRONYMS aside, it still stayed pretty good all the way till the end.
It was a tragic ending - one group instigates a war, the other group responds with madness, and the simple general population
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, fiction, fantasy
This is an interesting world and the plots are cool, but the entire series feels a bit disjointed. I was under the impression that the original books were intended to be a single book (or at least a smaller number of books), but even having finished the series it doesn't seem like there was a major resolution to the storylines. It was certainly nice to see Miriam come into her own over the course of the series - it's not necessarily your usual "fish out of water" archetype, so it's cool to see.

Tom Rowe
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stross really hates the Bush administration. It's a good book, but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. This volume of the story doesn't focus on characters like past volumes which I thought was the strong point of the series. It does spend a lot of time turning conservatives and members of the Bush administration into cartoon super villains. I really think that if Stross had gone less evil super villain and presented those characters more sympathetically, it could have really been an ...more
Tracy Leigh
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Fimbulwinter
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Audiobook re-read.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I remembered from the first paper read. I still have a hard time connecting with Miriam as a character, but the thriller and political aspects carry the story. It's also weird to look at the GWB era of US politics as "relatively sane". The reader is also decent, handling both Mike Fleming's Boston accent and the consistent Germanic Hochsprache accent.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book felt like it was ending in middle of a longer story...but with the release of Empire Games, it now makes sense that it ended as it did. I felt like I did at the end of The Empire Strikes Back; which is an appropriate way to feel, I think.

My only major complaint with this series is an aspect of geographic the first trilogy, Neijwein (the capital of the Gruinmarkt) is co-located with New York/New London; but in the second trilogy, it is co-located with Boston. This was
Titus Fortner
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I seemed to enjoy the end of this series more than most people. It probably helps that I know there is a new series picking up the story of my favorite character, rather than leaving her as she was at the end of this book. The book was a bit cartoonish in parts with its anti-hawkishness, but it worked for the story.
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
The whole series is worth the read!
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, y17-07
Joe Jungers
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not the ending I expected.

There's plenty of loose plot hanging around for a 2nd series.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars
The ending leaves a ton of loose threads which I guess is for the next series 17 years later.
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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 Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes, #5)