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The Traders' War: The Clan Corporate and The Merchants' War (Merchant Princes Omnibus Book 2) by [Stross, Charles]
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The Traders' War: The Clan Corporate and The Merchants' War (Merchant Princes Omnibus Book 2) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 625 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

"Stross's ability to combine interesting ideas with solid plotting is one of his great strengths."--Asimov's Science Fiction

"Stross sure ends things with a bang... satisfying and chilling."--RTBookreviews.com

"These books are immense fun."
--Locus

Book Description

'Fast-moving action’ Asimov’s Science Fiction

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1917 KB
  • Print Length: 625 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (9 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C2T56JC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,279 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Black VINE VOICE on 5 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second 'mega volume' of the 'Merchant Princes' books reformatted into three volumes.

It's a far better read than the first one with the plot switching and changing through complex twists and turns as the various alternate worlds discover that each other exist and try and stop the smuggler clan who seem to exploit them.

All this is seen from the point of view of the smugglers rather than by the almost accidental protagonist from the first volume. She has been sidetracked into her own series of adventures that are well away from the main action.

However the action transfers to a striking blonde who's also a dead shot and, like many of Mr Stross's recent heroines, is right out of an Ian M Banks novel, but none the worse for that...

As the US government discovers it has cuckoos in the nest it acts in its usual manner. It galvanises an assortment of its murderous 'alphabet soup' agencies who then charge about in all directions, making a mess, casually killing people and making next to no progress but confusing the situation for all concerned.

The locals in the other alternate worlds also act in a similarly murderous manner, and seem to cause equal mayhem and confusion.

There are a couple of gaping plot holes. The Merchant Princes, after 200 years in America and with their incredible wealth, do not seem to have any political connections at all. They also buy their guns and communications equipment and other technical toys over the counter when any major smuggling ring with any sense would be buying politicians and phone shops and guns shops. Smugglers don't buy stuff retail...
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It's a shame when a writer you've enjoyed produces a clunker like the "Merchant Princes" series. By this second volume the rot has started to set in, and the whole thing suffers from being more intellectual exercise than passion project.

The series is essentially a portal fantasy about notional central character Miriam and the three parallel versions of North America she can "world-walk" between.

Part one reveals that her power to teleport means Miriam is really from a parallel medieval Earth with a complex and not entirely coherent class and honour system. The ability to breed more world-walkers means she is in some ways regarded as property, which is why she was spirited away as a child and raised in "our" USA. The honour code and breeding programme are the engines behind some none-more-soap-opera sub-plots based around family alliances and betrayals involving her mother, her uncle and her grandmother.

Miriam has also stumbled into a Victorian steampunk parallel version of North America, where she is free of her cod-medieval chains of servitude, and has a second - or it could be her third - life as a progressive modern business-woman.

There's a strong foreshadow of mid-series Twilight in this second volume, when our notional heroine takes a back seat and stares at a medieval castle wall while other characters do the more interesting stuff. Eventually the family compulsion for deceit and lies drags her back to somewhere not far off centre stage, but there's a tangible sense of doubt about her viability as the main character.

In return some slightly more cartoonishly feisty action-girls trot on stage to dutifully wave automatic pistols and take names.
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I really struggled with this. I like most of Stross' other books, but this lacked pace and humour. The plot is convoluted and the situations unrealistic. The science was dubious at best, and led to a feeling that this was written by someone with much less experience than Stross, who we know can do better.
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Written, ironically, with a market in mind. This would have been better set in the country that the author knows. It seemed fake to me. Way too long for the ideas included. Repetitive. Poorly sketched characters (well it's science fiction). I didn't finish this, and I nearly always fight through a book.
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I've just started on the 5th story of the series in the 3rd and last book. As I've mentioned before, I have to keep reminding myself where I am in this story cycle as it's easy to lose track if I get involved in anything else in between "courses"
This volume introduces a much more startling theme with overtones of a certain Ridley Scott movie series. this jazzes up the story no end, and what with loose pee-wee nukes, more "knots" and all the other plot lines galloping along apace you'll be assured of of a good read in it, and still be left wanting those 5th and 6th installments. Buy the lot!
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Where the previous volume just happened to be set partly in the USA, this one feels like a conscious bid to grab the American market. It's not just the locations, or the spelling, or calling things by the American name rather than British (e.g. nail lacquer, not nail varnish): it's that whole post-9/11 war on terrorism thing. And most annoyingly, it's full of sometimes impenetrable CIA spook-babble that really gets in the way of the story. Apart from that it's fairly enjoyable -- I just hope that the last volume feels less like a product and more like a novel.
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