The Family Trade

The Family Trade

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
Believing she has found a career-making story when she stumbles upon a money-laundering scheme, reporter Miriam Beckstein is shocked when she is fired and threatened with death, a situation that turns increasingly bizarre when she learns the fate of her murdered mother and is transported to a parallel earth where her family rules a powerful kingdom. Reprint.

McMillan Palgrave

A bold fantasy in the tradition of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, The Merchant Princes is a sweeping new series from the hottest new writer in science fiction!

Miriam Beckstein is happy in her life. She's a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine in Boston, making good money doing what she loves. When her researcher brings her iron-clad evidence of a money-laundering scheme, Miriam thinks she's found the story of the year. But when she takes it to her editor, she's fired on the spot and gets a death threat from the criminals she has uncovered.

Before the day is over, she's received a locket left by the mother she never knew-the mother who was murdered when she was an infant. Within is a knotwork pattern, which has a hypnotic effect on her. Before she knows it, she's transported herself to a parallel Earth, a world where knights on horseback chase their prey with automatic weapons, and where world-skipping assassins lurk just on the other side of reality - a world where her true family runs things.

The six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose power to walk between the worlds makes them rich in both. Braids of family loyalty and intermarriage provide a fragile guarantee of peace, but a recently-ended civil war has left the families shaken and suspicious.

Taken in by her mother's people, she becomes the star of the story of the century-as Cinderella without a fairy godmother. As her mother's heir, Miriam is hailed as the prodigal countess Helge Thorold-Hjorth, and feted and feasted. Caught up in schemes and plots centuries in the making, Miriam is surrounded by unlikely allies, forbidden loves, lethal contraband, and, most dangerous of all, her family. Her unexpected return will supercede the claims of other clan members to her mother's fortune and power, and whoever killed her mother will be happy to see her dead, too.

Behind all this lie deeper secrets still, which threaten everyone and everything she has ever known. Patterns of deception and interlocking lies, as intricate as the knotwork between the universes. But Miriam is no one's pawn, and is determined to conquer her new home on her own terms.

Blending the creativity and humor of Roger Zelazny, the adventure of H. Beam Piper and Philip Jose Farmer, and the rigor and scope of a science-fiction writer on the grandest scale, Charles Stross has set a new standard for fantasy epics.

Publisher: New York : Tor Books, 2005, c2004
ISBN: 9780765348210
Branch Call Number: SF STROSS
Characteristics: 312 p. ; 17 cm


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pcschillawski May 16, 2016

One star. The author/editor need continuity lessons. First the heroine's chambers have no security on the "other side." Then about a chapter later her inner chambers suddenly do (because that's necessary to explain a failed assassination attempt). Then two pages later the inner chambers have no other side security again. That's just one example of many.

The author also has nearly zero knowledge of firearms. The tired old 'safety catch' on a modern revolver, "semiautomatic" machine guns, and other idiocies.

Billed by Tor as "rigor" on "the grandest scale." Not worth the effort.

Jan 14, 2012

I gave The Family Trade a three-star rating, and started into the sequel with guarded expectations.

Nicest thing I can say? I like the cover a good deal.

Sadly for me, my negative expectations were quickly fulfilled. The flaws of the predecessor were loomingly prominent in this sequel. I was hoping that the sequel would surpass the original, but it has been very much the same. There wasn’t one big nail in the coffin – more like a thousand paper cuts.

•None, and I mean none, of the interesting unresolved topics are being taken up yet.
•The plotting is mechanical and heavy-handed. Oooh, could the foster mother be any more ambiguous and possibly concealing something? Oh, look, she admits she’s concealing something.
•Secondary characters who were ambiguously threatening in book one… peel off that stretchy mask with the flair of a Scooby Doo villain and gloat over their revealed black-hat status.
•An entire new venue (third alternate Earth) pops up in the shooting gallery for double your extended-series enjoyment.
Pah. Removing the bookmark at page 117 of 309.
from my blog:

Jan 04, 2011

A densely plotted, mile-a-minute, whipsmart story.

I loved the whole series, and if you decide to read it, make sure you have ready access to all the novels. Each book picks up right where the previous one left off.

May 01, 2010

Too slow for me. More of a political intrigue type of fantasy. But I just couldn't get past p141. If you like the cross-over "conneticut yankee in king arthur's court" theme then go for Peter Garrison's, The Changling War - it's SO much better!


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