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The Family Trade (Merchant Princes 1) Paperback – Unabridged, 2 Nov 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Unabridged edition (2 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330451936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330451932
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 887,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Fantasies with this much invention, wit and gusto don't come along every day.'
-- SFX

'One of the defining phenomena of twenty-first century SF is Charles Stross, for the quality of his work at its best...'
-- Timeout

About the Author

Charles Stross lives with his wife in Edinburgh. In addition to working as a writer of fiction he has worked as a technical author, freelance journalist, programmer, and pharmacist. He holds degrees in Pharmacy and Computer Science. His short fiction has been shortlisted for both the Hugo and Nebula awards.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Stross' latest work takes a bit of a step from his usual hi-SF prose, and moves over to the fantasy genre. Stross has taken a dollop of Zelanzy and a pinch of Beam Piper, to create a fantasy world that's not exactly like anything you'll have ever read before.
The protagonist - a thirty something reporter - finds that she can walk between worlds; our modern world of the 2000's and another, nearly identical world, that is still ruled by a feudal system and is technologically stunted. Soon she finds that she is the classical long lost family member, of a family that is anything but loving and more reminiscent of a world domineering mafia.
Intregue, plots, murder and romance follow - all with an underlying mystery that begs to be solved... Can Miriam change the way this new world works, can she survive the murderous intent of the other Families, her supposed close relatives (including possibly her newly discovered grandmother) and a mysterious third faction? And finally, will she be able to continue her secret affair in public, without fear of recrimintation!?
Not to move too far away from what we've come to expect from Stross, he still shows his panache for political thought and find that earth's alternate world is a boiling pot of politcs. Its also refreshing to see that the fuedal system is described the way it would really be, and not some fairytale of lords and ladies. Nor should you expect tales of heroic knights on horseback.
The only knights you'll meet in this fantasy setting have glocks and Sub-machine guns.
The story itself is part of a larger series, and if the book itself feels a little stunted and sudden - it is. Originally this and book two were meant to be a single volume, so the ending is a cliffhanger even though it feels a little wrong.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a clever idea but I've read it done a lot better. Its not a patch on the Recluse series and I was disappointed after first coming across Stross with Singularity Sky - this seems a bit more formulaic and it spends a lot of time looking at culture shock rather than getting on with the story. Sorry , but I cannot recommend this
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lured by Mr Stross's wonderful, eccentric later works of inspired 'hard' science fiction, I thought I'd have a go at this. Not as truely bad as some of the reviews I read insist - let's be kind and say a journeyman piece. Anne McCaffrey does it better, but some nice ideas... and hey - I'm buying book 2!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a lot of Charles Stross' other stuff, so wasn't really expecting this. At first I thought it was going to be a sort of "Narnia" sort of thing with wacky mediaeval style fantasy world and hi jinks and crossing back and forth, etc.

Then reading more I began to expect a typical American power fantasy about bootstrapping a civilisation.

Spoiler below:

Still spoiling

Dimension travelling drug dealers throw down against the USA. I didn't see that coming.

Fantastic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I shouldn't expect an author to keep on churning out the same type of book over and over again - but having read Atrocity Archive, Jennifer Morgue and Halting State in quick succession, and being avid for more, I was desperately disappointed to come across what reads like a Jackie Collins airport novel, written by someone who's just finished a housewives' creative writing course. The first person narrative of some of his other novels feels a lot more direct and interesting than the rather mechanical progression through scene setting and character development that you get in the first few pages of Family Trade. I should also add that the feisty American who just happens to be able to move to different worlds has been done before, repeatedly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a standalone book in any sense. It does not come to a satisfactory conclusion at all. It reads like the synopsis for a TV series that desperately wants to be commissioned for a second series, so leaves everything open and unexplained. Since I have read and enjoyed quite a few of his books, i was disappointed. I like a series of books but don't like being ripped off by book 1 being half a book, or possibly less.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not written as well as some of Stross's other works, and actually only half a book spread a little too thin - make sure that you've got The Hidden Family primed and ready to go and you won't feel too cheated.

I actually nearly read this a few times and put it down because the blurb on the back put me off. If instead it had said 'an investigation of how knowledge of startups, VCs and economic development can be applied in alternate histories to give you an edge in business.' I would have been much more interested.

So yes, it's far from Stross's best, but ultimately, there's something very cool about knights in armour with machine guns and the entertainment for a medieval feast being shown on a Sony flat screen. It's well worth a read as long as your expectation level is right.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book introduces the reader to the heroine,Miriam,and to the idea of parallel worlds.These worlds are only accessible to members of one inter-related "Family" known as" the clan".Fans of alternate history/time travel/science fiction will probably like this series,although they are not exactly any of those categories.If you read this first book you will want to read the rest.You have been warned.
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