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The Clan Corporate (Merchant Princes 3) [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Charles Stross
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 Dec 2008 Merchant Princes 3

In The Family Trade and The Hidden Family, Miriam got in touch with her roots. Now those roots have begun to strangle her.

A young business journalist from Boston, Miriam discovered that her family comes from a parallel timeline, that she is very well-connected, and that her family is way too much like the Mafia for her comfort. She’s tried hard to remain her own woman, even going so far to start a profitable (and legitimate) business in a third timeline she has discovered, outside the family reach.

There have been murders and betrayals. Now, however, she may be overreaching – if she gets caught, death or worse is around the bend. For instance, there’s the brain-damaged son of the local king who needs a wife . . . But they’d never make her do that, would they?

‘Stross gives us an escape fantasy that is most seductive, indeed’ Salon

‘The Clan Corporate offers more proof, if any were needed, why Charles Stross has become universally acknowledged as one of science fiction’s major new talents’ Mike Resnick

Frequently Bought Together

The Clan Corporate (Merchant Princes 3) + The Merchants' War (Merchant Princes) + The Revolution Business (Merchant Princes)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Unabridged edition (5 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330460943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330460941
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England, in 1964. He has worked as a pharmacist, software engineer and freelance journalist, but now writes full time.

Product Description


'A healthy dose of brainy, energetic and mind-expanding fun.'
-- SFX Magazine

'Startling plot twists.'
-- Eric Brown - The Guardian

'[Fans] will recognise his trademark skill at world building - you can almost see the filth on the streets.' -- SciFiNow


'A healthy dose of brainy, energetic and mind-expanding fun.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third of the Merchant Princes 18 July 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the third of a continuing series, a parallel worlds saga spanning (so far) three different timelines. I think it's safe to say that if you are still reading at book 3, then you enjoy the series - and if you don't like them, you will have stopped. Either way I don't think this will change your mind.

For my part, I am enjoying this series. I don't think they're great writing, but I like seeing Stross set out his canvas and set to work filling in the detail. And I find the central dilemma of Miriam, the main protagonist, interesting.

That said, this volume is mildly frustrating because, apart from one or two jaunts, Miriam is - frankly - trapped through most of the book, unable to drive the plot forward, but only to react - hence only three stars.

Developments are brewing but they don't really link up before the end of the book. I think there will probably be fireworks in the next installment (due in 2007?) which I certainly look forward to.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No 3 - not the best one of them 21 July 2006
By humanitysdarkerside VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Miriam is definitely stuck in this book. She is discovering just what her role is in this mideval society that her relatives come from. Things are not quite as black and white as she might have thought and her enemies are not always who she had thought. Friends are being shunted to the side or even killed and Miriam is left increasingly alone in a society where a woman's role is to bear children - period.

For Miriam this is incredibly unfair. She feels that she has built a successful business in world 3 - a business that is left in the hands of a less than competent male relative. Her life is in increasing danger from her uncles and her mother is manipulating things in a manner that leaves Miriam feeling more and more helpless.

The ending was a bit abrupt and extremely unfinished - intentional on the part of the author I'm certain. This way we HAVE to buy no. 4.

I have enjoyed this series. This book is no exception.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow to start, but a great read 25 July 2009
Number three in the series, this book really takes its time to get going, but after a hundred pages of meh it picks up and is back to the pace and quality of its pre-decessor. Again, like The Hidden Family this is the first half of a larger story that got split for some reason, but the split is handled better this time, ending on a nice cliff-hanger but without too many loose ends. As the third installment in a large series, there is of course the problem of how to bring a new reader up to speed who hasn't read the earlier volumes, but this is done without the repetition being too irritating for someone who has started at the beginning. My only niggle is that some exposition is handled somewhat maladroitly as "transcripts" of bugged conversations, but these transcripts (and the organisations and people making them) aren't obviously used. Perhaps they'll show up in a later volume. But I can forgive this, as to a large extent these solve the problem I noted in The Family Trade, that the plots and schemes within plots and schemes are too opaque to the reader. These serve to remove the veils somewhat. Again, I recommend it, but with the proviso that it will work a lot better if you've read the previous two books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enough with the cliffhanger endings 1 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A disappointment after the first two books. Stross is a very good novelist but the writing in this book feels rushed with too much anachronistic dialogue and slow plot development. It is also a great shame that he resorts to manipulating the reader with these cliffhanger endings. Other writers seem able to deliver long-running series with multiple story arcs yet at the same time provide a coherent, self-contained narrative to each book. If he carries on in this stlye, all Charles Stross will do is end up alienating fans.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is about world walking, but it is more about alternate world : what would have happened if the Vikings had settled in America? Or if the wars between the French and English crown had resulted into a Prussian like English Kingdom in North America? Such are the world depicted, and the adventures of Miriam Beckstein are fascinating.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too long, too slow, too 'corporate' 19 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this a few months ago, started it, got distracted, picked it up a few weeks later, stopped...
started.... tried again... get the picture?

I never do this with a book. I consume them. In large gulps of focused absorption. If I give up on a book it is usually because of incompetent plot twists, incongruous pink fluffy stuff, or ridiculous characterisation (God, don't I sound arrogant?!?). Nothing like that here. I like Miriam, and the whole plot/world(s) hang together very well.

So, considering how much I enjoyed book 1 (and less so book 2) in this series, and how I delight in some of Stross' other work, I have tried to work out why this one is so blandly indigestible.

I think it is just too long and too detailed for the amount of plot. The main character Miriam is a woman of action paralysed by situation, the complex detail of social, political and legal minutiae in three, yes THREE different worlds is too dry to hold my attention, and what action there is didn't kick off until I had skipped a few too many paragraphs on otherworld politics or the inner mechanics of American law-keeping. Yawn. And of course, by then I couldn't even remember in which world the current chapter was set.

So I have given up, 2/3 of the way through, with no real clue as to what has been happening for the last half book. And no inclination to ever pick up a book 4.

Such a pity. I really wanted this book to get back to the form of the first one. It is such a brilliant concept. Such a fantastic opportunity to romp (and Stross can certainly romp in his other books). I was brought up on Zelazny's Amber novels, and Jack L Chalker's various operas. Both writers have limitations that Stross does not. If you don't believe me, try his Laundry novels.
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