The Family Trade : The Merchant Princes

  • by Charles Stross
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • Series: The Merchant Princes
  • 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Miriam Beckstein is happy in her life as a successful reporter. When she gets iron-clad evidence of a money-laundering scheme, Miriam thinks she's found the story of the year. But when she takes it to her editor, she's fired on the spot and gets a death threat from the criminals she's uncovered. Before the day is over, she's received a locket left by the mother she never knew - the mother who was murdered when she was an infant. The knotwork pattern within has a hypnotic effect on her. Before she knows it, she's transported herself to a parallel Earth, a world where knights on horseback chase their prey with automatic weapons and where her true family is in charge.
The six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose exclusive inherited power to walk between the worlds makes them rich in both. Her unexpected return will supercede the claims of other clan members to her mother's fortune and power, and whoever killed her mother will be happy to see her dead, too. But Miriam is no one's pawn, and is determined to conquer her new home on her own terms.
Blending the creativity and humor of Roger Zelazny, the adventure of H. Beam Piper and Philip Jose Farmer, Charles Stross has set a new standard for fantasy epics.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Where Is The Rest Of The Book? Beyond Cliffhanger

What did you like best about The Family Trade? What did you like least?

I liked the concept of the parallel worlds. I liked that the protagonist is smart.The story just abruptly stops, seemingly in the middle,certainly not the end of the book. NOTHING is resolved. The original money-laundering 'big story' is completely dropped. Miriam goes off to another world and never contacts her mother again, though has time to keep up with her friend Polly. There is an asinine love/sex interest who could pass for a one night stand; then suddenly they are in love even though she doesn't know if he can be trusted. There are multiple factions trying to kill Miriam though we never find out who they are or why they are doing it except that maybe someone wants her share of money. She lands in a country where women are treated medievally so she decides that she wants to change the entire political and economic infrastructure. Though this does not happen. We are expected to believe that people would choose to live in a land that doesn't even have indoor plumbing and heating when all they have to do is look at a locket and voila they are in 21st century USA. Occasionally random scenes that have no bearing on the story are thrown in, presumably to let us know that the next book in the series might have a plot. Who cares.


Would you recommend The Family Trade to your friends? Why or why not?

No. Why? Because I like my friends.There is no story here. It starts out as 'woman in danger running' it ends with 'woman in danger running'.


Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Kate Reading is always first rate. I probably bought this book because it was narrated by her.


If this book were a movie would you go see it?

This would never become a movie.


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- Elisabeth

6 books - intriguing series

Any additional comments?

Charlie Stross creates a phenomenal/creative multiverse that really makes you think. Some of the things I wondered about are not developed until later books but he always out does my expectations. Charlie introduces lots of unexpected twists and turns through out the series. He may not be as hard on his characters as George Martin, but he can be ruthless. (He doesn't make death gruesome or revolting, but there is no doubt about the feeling of loss.) He doesn't seem to believe in everyone riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after. Life is hard and choices have consequences, but the series is adequately escapist. I did think it could be better if it was a little shorter, but it was certainly a fun romp and worth the investment. Finally, Kate Reading was a fantastic reader. She brought the characters to life and let the story develop. I recommend the entire series.

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- Norman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-10-2015
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio