Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Hidden Family (The Merchant Princes #2)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  3,387 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
In a second installment of the series beginning with The Family Trade, Boston journalist Miriam, known as Lady Helge to her alternate timeline family, applies modern business and scientific practices to three other worlds, with unexpected consequences. 30,000 first printing.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Hidden Family, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Hidden Family

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Megan Baxter
I picked up the digital copy of this for free from's Book Club, and it included the first book in the series as well. As I was feeling lazy and didn't want to figure out where the middle was, exactly, I reread The Family Trade before going on to read The Hidden Family.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
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
Richard Derus
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

Not quite as devastatingly fresh to me, so down a half-star.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Chris "Stu"
Nov 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
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
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Baal Of
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
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.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helen Ladewig
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read book 3 first by mistake so I read it out of order - still a good yarn. Have ordered the next 3 books from the library - can't wait to read them.
Charles Stross is a pretty good fantasy writer, it turns out - but an even better steampunk one. The worldwalking plot device is an awesome mechanic for crossover novels - he did the modern day corporate crime and drug trade, he did the medieval royal court intrigue and swords, serfs and secrets... and now he's got a hardcore bona fide alt history steampunk world complete with consumptive revolutionaries, airships, bobbies and literally steam-powered cars.
Can it get more awesome?
Yes it can, wi
Karl Schaeffer
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading books by C. Stross. His ideas and world building are excellent. He writes in an easy to read style and communicates complicated ideas very well. I missed this series initially, now it's out of print. Got to read #2, via an interlibrary loan. The other books in the series are unavailable locally, so I'm casting my net further afield. Miriam is learning about the Clan, her place in it and another parallel universe not well known to the Clan, and where the USA never successfully bro ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picks right up where the last one left off, with our parallel-universe-traveling investigative journalist/savvy businesswoman dodging assassination attempts and navigating political and social jungles in various worlds.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neo-fantasy
Fast paced and fun read!
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The ending is very abrupt and vague. Otherwise, it was a fun read. But if the next book doesn't clear up those loose ends then I will think less highly of this book.
Not bad, picked up pace at the end, which was good. Stross did OK in character and plot development but I've read a lot better.
Tom Rowe
A great way to satisfactorily close out a two-book series and leave it open enough for more to come. I love the characters. I love the settings. Great fun!
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a reasonably satisfying conclusion to The Family Trade - I definitely recommend reading these Merchant Princes books in pairs (and in fact my understanding is that after the original releases, these were in fact also published as 2-book pairs when the series was completed).

I like how Stross focuses on essentially the business possibilities of the scenario he has set up. There's the necessary intrigue to drive the plot along, but it's fun to see "What would be the best way someone could
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty interesting. Maybe 3.5 actually, but what the heck. The story continues, this is a significant step up from the first book IMO. Glad that the series got some legs, because the premise has a lot of promise but the beginning was a bit shaky, but that's often the case.
Miloš Petrik
It feels like what it is - the lopped off portion of the first book of the series. The New Britain world is interesting, but we've so far only seen a single polity in each of the realms.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Clare O'Beara
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
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
Virgil Fuqua
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
More strong female characters emerge in Book 2 of this series, and we get more interesting world-building, with the addition of an intermediate world between ours and The Gruinmarkt. But the plot threads become confusingly tangled and require a bit of unconvincing jiu-jitsu to resolve by the end of the book.

In addition, while I enjoy the emphasis on economics, I'm not 100% on board with the idea that development at any cost is an overall improvement for every society, especially when no attentio
Dec 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Candle (Century Next Door, #3)
  • Strange Attractors (Chaos Chronicles, #2)
  • Carthage Ascendant (Book of Ash, #2)
  • The Tomb of Horrors (Greyhawk Classics, #7)
  • The World Before (Wess'Har Wars, #3)
  • Spin Control (Spin Trilogy, #2)
  • Crystal Rain (Xenowealth, #1)
  • Permanence
  • Resonance
  • The Precipice (The Grand Tour, #8; The Asteroid Wars, #1)
  • Newton's Cannon (Age of Unreason, #1)
  • Resurrection Day
  • Pasquale's Angel
  • Effendi
  • The Wizardry Compiled (Wiz, #2)
  • Of Tangible Ghosts (Ghost, #1)
  • The Candle of Distant Earth
  • Migration (Species Imperative, #2)
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)
“What better way to weaken a powerful enemy than to get it fighting itself?” 1 likes
More quotes…