The end is near,
This review is from: The Revolution Business (Merchant Princes) (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is simply amazing - not the best of the Merchant Princes, but only because the sequel The Trade of Queens (Merchant Princes) - the last in the series - is fractionally better.
So. At the end of The Merchants' War (Merchant Princes) the Clan were in a perilous position, under attack from the pseudo medieval army of Gruinmarkt, an alternate history replacement for the eastern United States. This volume picks up exactly where that one left, and maintains a frenetic action laced pace throughout, flipping between Gruinmarkt, our world, and the third reality, "New Britain", a world of steam cars and revolutionary cabals. (That timeline doesn't really come into its own till the sequel, but when it does...!)
Anyway, the languors of The Clan Corporate (Merchant Princes 3) are now left long behind and the story pushes on. Miriam, the closest person to a hero in this sequence, is still trying to get some control over her life, despite the rising tide of events - not only the war in Gruinmarkt, but increasingly hostile interventions by the US security forces (Stross does their business rather well, with a dense barrage of CODENAMES, tersely described tradecraft, and numerous expletives. (And where did he find out so much about how atomic weapons work? It's rather worrying.)
Some mysteries remain, but the storylines are now being tidied up, so though there are some - actually quite a few - surprises it's a bit less baffling than the earlier ones.
A really good read: I enhanced the pleasure by denying myself this until The Trade of Queens (Merchant Princes) was out (it really is, you know!) then reading the two back to back.
There are hints form the author that he may, in a few years' time, consider a new sequence set in this universe. I do hope so. In the meantime we have The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry 3) to look forward to (am I turning into a Stross nerd? I fear so...)