Most helpful critical review
The merchants' war
on 3 May 2014
If someone has keenly followed Miriam's adventures they will probably enjoy this book of travel between alternate worlds more than I did. The series is one long story with no real conclusions, just continuations.
In this episode various characters have to fight for their lives in one or other of the two alternate worlds, though our modern US military has somehow managed to get there as well, and an atomic bomb is being sought in today's America. This makes for a confusing situation which appears to be contrary to the original premise that world-walkers came from a certain bloodline.
We open with a devastated palace where a bomb and fire have killed many people who were hoping to celebrate a wedding. Plotters want to take over the throne and can do this by killing their own family members. Miriam, a journalist from our time, has managed to escape being wed to a family member and runs off, promptly world-walking her way into trouble. Meanwhile a patrol of today's soldiers encounters both deadly fire and steel man-traps in the undergrowth.
The trouble, I think, is that a new reader will have no knowledge of what is going on, so several different people each have to tell someone else what has happened up to then, but in all this scramble, we are left without any emotional connection. So someone is killed - should I care? Whose side was he on, and which is the good side? Is there a good side? Who is Miriam and why am I supposed to like her? I had read the earlier books a few months previously and during this book I felt no sympathy for any character so halfway I stopped being concerned about the outcome. It was all just fighting.
I suggest that maybe reading the books back to back is the way to do it, to sustain connection with the story and characters.