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The Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes #5)

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Things are going badly for the Clan in this new SF novel of the Merchant Princes, the immensely popular series by Charles Stross. Locked in a vicious civil war for control over the kingdom of Niejwein, their army is bottled up inside a fortress under siege in two parallel universes at once. Duke Angbard, the Clan's leader, has been laid low by a stroke: plotters are alread Things are going badly for the Clan in this new SF novel of the Merchant Princes, the immensely popular series by Charles Stross. Locked in a vicious civil war for control over the kingdom of Niejwein, their army is bottled up inside a fortress under siege in two parallel universes at once. Duke Angbard, the Clan's leader, has been laid low by a stroke: plotters are already conspiring in readiness for the deadly dance to come. Miriam, rescued from a tight spot in New Britain, finds the hopes of the young, progressive faction focused on her. But do they want her as a leader or a figurehead? She soon finds herself thrown into a desperate struggle for power. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the Clan, researchers working for the US government have achieved a technological breakthrough. The War on Terror is about to go transdimensional.


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Things are going badly for the Clan in this new SF novel of the Merchant Princes, the immensely popular series by Charles Stross. Locked in a vicious civil war for control over the kingdom of Niejwein, their army is bottled up inside a fortress under siege in two parallel universes at once. Duke Angbard, the Clan's leader, has been laid low by a stroke: plotters are alread Things are going badly for the Clan in this new SF novel of the Merchant Princes, the immensely popular series by Charles Stross. Locked in a vicious civil war for control over the kingdom of Niejwein, their army is bottled up inside a fortress under siege in two parallel universes at once. Duke Angbard, the Clan's leader, has been laid low by a stroke: plotters are already conspiring in readiness for the deadly dance to come. Miriam, rescued from a tight spot in New Britain, finds the hopes of the young, progressive faction focused on her. But do they want her as a leader or a figurehead? She soon finds herself thrown into a desperate struggle for power. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the Clan, researchers working for the US government have achieved a technological breakthrough. The War on Terror is about to go transdimensional.

30 review for The Revolution Business (The Merchant Princes #5)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five The latest of "The Merchant Princes" series, book five in fact, is a wonderful deepening of a chain of alternate worlds that resemble the mundane one you and I live in more, or less, depending on which strand of his story Stross is highlighting at any given moment. The basic premise of all alternate history is to take off from the world the reader knows at a point he or she can get revved up about. In the US, that most often means alternate outcomes of the American Civil War, Rating: 4.5* of five The latest of "The Merchant Princes" series, book five in fact, is a wonderful deepening of a chain of alternate worlds that resemble the mundane one you and I live in more, or less, depending on which strand of his story Stross is highlighting at any given moment. The basic premise of all alternate history is to take off from the world the reader knows at a point he or she can get revved up about. In the US, that most often means alternate outcomes of the American Civil War, 1861-1865; I'd hesitate to speculate about other countries, but I've seen a LOT of Bonaparte-wins stuff in French. In a way, this area of fiction allows readers to fulfill fantasies of what the world Could and Should be like. What I most like about this series of books is that Stross takes off from multiple departure points, and some so subtly that most all readers will slide right past the references that let you know you're down the rabbit hole until sucker-punched with the difference. Stross does that in this book, and he does it well, if a sucker-punch can be done well. A nagging not-quite-rightness from previous books gets brought up full force, and it's a game-changer for the series. Well done, Sir Charles. Now, there is a downside to every artistic choice...since there are multiple alternate worlds, each with its own issues and problems to work out on these pages, the focus tends to be a bit blurry. The constraints of having the series POV character physically move among the alternate realities limits Stross's forward momentum in her story, and can feel as though the alternates are getting short shrift. I'd have to say, though, that the sensation of wanting more of all the threads is a good sign that Stross is a capable storyteller operating at full throttle. This entry in the series will repay your time spent reading it. Don't start here, though...start with book one, The Family Trade. It's high-quality thinking, and reading. Oh, and George Bush gets blown up by a nuke. (That's the extra half-star!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    How can the intensity just continue to build like this?! Anyway, yeah, another cliffhanger, so make sure you have the next book on hand.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    About as subtle as my preschooler's _Blue's Clues_ shows. The fifth book in (hopefully only) a six book series, I'm sadly hooked enough on the storyline to want to know what happens. I've read some of Stross' technology-based and futuristic stories, and they are wonderful. I have no idea what went wrong with these books, but I strongly encourage you not to start the _Merchant Princes_ series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    200 hundred pages into this book, I was just about ready to give it 2 stars and be done, but then I kept plugging away, and found just enough to keep my interest up. I'm sill not happy with how the next character, Miriam, has been manipulated, and also, I hate stories that revolve around pregnancy. This one doesn't commit that sin, but it does represent a major continuing plot point. However, by the time Stross got around to talking about how knot theory wove into the idea of travel into other w 200 hundred pages into this book, I was just about ready to give it 2 stars and be done, but then I kept plugging away, and found just enough to keep my interest up. I'm sill not happy with how the next character, Miriam, has been manipulated, and also, I hate stories that revolve around pregnancy. This one doesn't commit that sin, but it does represent a major continuing plot point. However, by the time Stross got around to talking about how knot theory wove into the idea of travel into other worlds, he had my attention again. More of that please. I also liked the powerpoint presentation/recap of how screwed the family is that was given by Miriam, excuse me, Helge, because it really helped me straighten out the factions in my mind again. Ironic that, since powerpoint presentations can be so loathsome in the real world. For this series, my enjoyment is sharply curtailed since I don't really like political thrillers. I appreciate a well done backdrop of politics in a story, that provides gravitas, but not when it because the primary or major focus. To Stross's credit, he's writing a style of story that isn't generally to my taste, and yet he manages to throw in just enough to keep going.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This was an enjoyable continuation of Stross's 'Family' series, recommended if you have read the previous novels in the series, but he is not at the top of his game with this novel. It could be tighter, some of the dialog drifts, for me it became difficult to keep all the character associations clear (Stross should post a 'dramatis persone' at the front of his next in the series). Finally a well-intended warning to Stross that he is showing the initial symptoms of 'Turtledoveitis', i.e. Turtledo This was an enjoyable continuation of Stross's 'Family' series, recommended if you have read the previous novels in the series, but he is not at the top of his game with this novel. It could be tighter, some of the dialog drifts, for me it became difficult to keep all the character associations clear (Stross should post a 'dramatis persone' at the front of his next in the series). Finally a well-intended warning to Stross that he is showing the initial symptoms of 'Turtledoveitis', i.e. Turtledove at his best (e.g. Guns of the South) does not serialize his concepts as a marketing event, at his worse he does and the result are some series that are ever more ponderous, searching for the light at the end of the serialization tunnel...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    I was very disappointed by this book. It did very little to further develop any of the characters. It was so fragmented and lacking details that it didn't seem much really happened. My biggest disappointment was that it tied the series to the past executive administration in the US making the book tied to the present. I think that this was a really bad idea since it destroys the believability of the fantasy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Stross' Merchant Prince saga continues to go off the rails. Too many characters and a confusing story prevented me from really enjoying this.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Surprisingly dull and uneventful compared to Stross's other works. Plus, it's clearly intended to have a least one more sequel, allowing Stross to spread too little material over too many pages.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leonardo Etcheto

    Now the nukes show up. They confirm there are six missing. One is found in Boston and sent back to Medieval world where it zaps the bad guy from the previous book. So the new bad guy is of course the government of the united states who basically stop at nothing for oil. Ho hum, pretty tired trope, but book was written when W was president and so it goes. I am always amused when people imagine these huge secret conspiracies in the government. They can't keep anything secret, and the theft is not Now the nukes show up. They confirm there are six missing. One is found in Boston and sent back to Medieval world where it zaps the bad guy from the previous book. So the new bad guy is of course the government of the united states who basically stop at nothing for oil. Ho hum, pretty tired trope, but book was written when W was president and so it goes. I am always amused when people imagine these huge secret conspiracies in the government. They can't keep anything secret, and the theft is not some clever and secretive plan, it is basic crony capitalism where you write the rules to help your friends and then they give you a nice cushy job. Or to your kid or your wife. There is only one solution - small goverment. That lesson is shown throughout this series of books where all the goverments are basically all powerful and as result mistreat their citizens. The other bad guy is the venal doctor whose status has been degraded so he sells everyone out. The world walker breeding program is pretty clever actually, but the US goverment fixes the problem the old fashioned way IQ and money and you have a world walker machine. Lots of cheating, backstabbing, self justifying and craziness. The thin duke is killed by a clever bit of forcing him to worldwalk which gives him a stroke, then suffocating him with a pillow then pretend to try to revive him. Good fun as the crazy train keeps rolling. It ends with a carbomb incredibly enough.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cale

    I may have given this an extra half star just because it finally gets Miriam back to be at least somewhat proactive. She's still the center of a maelstrom of activity as a couple major plot threads get resolved (one that made a large part of the previous book kind of pointless, but oh well) and all the other plot threads start tying themselves together. A couple of the plot pieces get short shrift (poor Paulette gets one brief scene, and the entire New Britain storyline has major ramifications b I may have given this an extra half star just because it finally gets Miriam back to be at least somewhat proactive. She's still the center of a maelstrom of activity as a couple major plot threads get resolved (one that made a large part of the previous book kind of pointless, but oh well) and all the other plot threads start tying themselves together. A couple of the plot pieces get short shrift (poor Paulette gets one brief scene, and the entire New Britain storyline has major ramifications but minor coverage), but the main plot threads have more than enough to keep the book busy. The conflict between the Hochsprache and Federal Government heats up (in some ways literally). The last dozen pages have several major surprises, such that I want to pick up the next book as soon as possible. On its own, I can't say I'll remember the events of this book on their own, but as part of the overarching story, it is a fundamental and interesting piece.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom Rowe

    Wow! Charles Stross really hates Dick Cheney. This book continues the Merchant Princes story. It's a page turner, and while many reviews I saw call this series predictable, I didn't find it to be. It's fun. It's a page turner. I'm burning through each of these books in 2-3 days. Good times. Now on to the last one to see how this thing ends. It' feels like he has a lot of balls in the air. I'm curious if he will catch them all.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shiftless McKenney

    Thankfully short but this felt like one huge stalling point in the story. One discovery is made which is then explained then explained again then explained again while the rest is redundant politics. Overall building up the story but that was the entire book. Still, looking forward to diving into the next book as so far this series has been fairly good.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alan Norrie

    This book is hard going at times. The politics of the early 2000s seems out of place in a fantasy novel. Most of it seems to be the author's own fantasies and this dates very fast. It would be good if the book had concentrated on Huw, Hulius and Elena because these characters seemed fresh and interesting. Erasmus's storyline in New Britain was really boring and the other characters are getting very tired. Miriam/Helge's battle learning hochsprache is really annoying. Even peasant maids can learn This book is hard going at times. The politics of the early 2000s seems out of place in a fantasy novel. Most of it seems to be the author's own fantasies and this dates very fast. It would be good if the book had concentrated on Huw, Hulius and Elena because these characters seemed fresh and interesting. Erasmus's storyline in New Britain was really boring and the other characters are getting very tired. Miriam/Helge's battle learning hochsprache is really annoying. Even peasant maids can learn English but she whinges constantly. Too many bossy knowall women and not enough story. I keep hoping Helge will be assassinated. Maybe Mike can do that. I have started the next book. Sigh!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karl Schaeffer

    Miriam becomes parts of the revolution in New Britain in Timeline 3. The Clan is factionalizing in Timeline 1 as well as being pursued by their nonworldwalking brethern in Timeline 1. meanwhile in Timeline 2, researchers for the US Gov't have figured out how to worldwalk. Shite's gettin' realz!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Like the others in the series, it continues to set up and expand an interesting universe. But also like the others in the series, not much actually happens. There are a couple of events that have major effects on the universe, but the book doesn't actually spend that much TIME on those events.

  16. 5 out of 5

    JT

    Damnit, Charlie! Two cliffhangers in a row? Really? That said, quite a good book - a corking good tale, and a wild ride and all that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Tedin

    Ramps up the tension The series gets more and more tense. Stross fully believes the dictum “Get your Character Up a Tree, then throw rocks at her”.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    Another huge cliffhanger! Really enjoying the character development though

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gabe

    Series isn't continuing well.. I feel like I have to finish it though because of the investment.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Review reserved for The Trade of Queens (listening as a pair).

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Shlingbaum

    Nice cont' for the story a bit slower then the previous books but still good

  22. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    After flying through the first three books in this series one after the other and picking up the fourth soon after I finished the third, I was expecting to have to wait a little while (until next spring, in fact) to read the fifth in this six-book series. I wasn't looking forward to it, either; for one thing, when I read the fourth book after a few-month break, it was a little tough jumping back into the world of the Merchant Princes and being sure of exactly what was going on in every storyline After flying through the first three books in this series one after the other and picking up the fourth soon after I finished the third, I was expecting to have to wait a little while (until next spring, in fact) to read the fifth in this six-book series. I wasn't looking forward to it, either; for one thing, when I read the fourth book after a few-month break, it was a little tough jumping back into the world of the Merchant Princes and being sure of exactly what was going on in every storyline. It didn't help that I was coming back in at a point in the series where a lot of different plots were moving in a lot of different directions, either. The unexpected miracle of receiving an advance copy of this, the fifth book, only a month after receiving the fourth, put me on much better footing to realize what was going on as soon as I picked it up. However, I'm now looking at a nearly two-year wait until the sixth and final book, so the plan is to start over at the beginning and read all 5 of the books I already have before finishing the series, whenever such an opportunity becomes available. After the slight downturn of the third book in the series, the fourth book was a return to the excitement and awesomeness of the first two, and the fifth is more of the same. I don't really want to discuss plot details at this point in the series, since the whole thing is one long story and I don't want to ruin things for people who might read this review at a point where they are a book or two behind the curve. But I will say this--everything that was heating up in the previous volume is REALLY heating up now, and things are moving away from the seeming fantasy of the first couple of volumes into an obviously science fictional basis for this story's particular McGuffin, which I like. Stross has said in interviews that these six books were originally intended to be two much longer books, and that he has notes for what would have been two more much longer books to follow the two that eventually became these first six. At this point in the story, I can totally imagine what might be in store for those later volumes, and while Stross has no immediate plans to actually write them, I sure hope he does at some point. There are way too many possibilities left in this story for me to be satisfied with what will be explored and wrapped up in only one remaining volume. That being said, I can't wait to see how this particular series ends. My only quibble is that I'm going to have to wait two years to do that. Boo.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is book five in Stross's Merchant Princes series, which features tech reporter Miriam Beckstein, who discovered she's actually a noble member of a family with the ability to cross between parallel Earths and who subsidize their extravagant lifestyle (and bring high tech toys, guns and medicine to their native world for themselves and to bribe the other nobles) by running contraband on our Earth. It's hard to write a review about book five in a series, especially since I get the impression t This is book five in Stross's Merchant Princes series, which features tech reporter Miriam Beckstein, who discovered she's actually a noble member of a family with the ability to cross between parallel Earths and who subsidize their extravagant lifestyle (and bring high tech toys, guns and medicine to their native world for themselves and to bribe the other nobles) by running contraband on our Earth. It's hard to write a review about book five in a series, especially since I get the impression that the Merchant Princes series isn't terribly stand-alone right now. For example, I'm not sure whether this book actually has a stand-alone plot, besides advancing the arc from book 4. I enjoyed it, but I couldn't tell you want the actual book-specific conflict was. Sure, Miriam and the progressive faction of her family was stuck between the conservative faction of the family and the US government (who had twigged to world-walking druglords and was not happy). But little is resolved, and the book is left at a cliffhanger, just like the last one was. I suppose the closest thing to a real conflict is Miriam's decision about whether to stay in the Clan and keep at the reform movement, or say 'fuck all of this, I'm going back to Boston'. As the US government got involved in the last book, you also get more political commentary. It's post 9/11 and the president and VP aren't named except by codenames, but there's anvil-sized hints dropped about who they are. (Seriously, the president 'BOYWONDER' is the son of the president-before-last, and considered a dim bulb, and the VP 'WARBUCKS' is a former oilman who wasn't expected to re-enter politics... and creepy, even offscreen, and quite willing to use this for his advantage.) Considering the secret government black ops, this isn't terribly flattering for Bush 'n Cheney. OTOH, I think Stross makes it clear that even 'our' Earth is an alternate Earth (well, besides that our government didn't discover world-walking in the mid Naughties... or did they?). At one point, he mentions Joe Lieberman as the head of the minority caucus of the Senate, and says that Saddam Hussein was deposed by his cousin prior to the US invading Iraq. Given how this book ends, it is decidedly not our Earth. That's all I'm saying about that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Sutch

    While some very awesome plot developments do occur in this penultimate volume of Stross's longest (to date) series, in general the writing (and--probably--editing) this book simply are not up to the usual level of excellence of Stross's work for Ace Books. Given that this novel and the final volume were published in the same year, this strikes me as probably a sign that Stross was simply fulfilling a contractual obligation to Tor, and for good reason: the editing (butchering) his work received a While some very awesome plot developments do occur in this penultimate volume of Stross's longest (to date) series, in general the writing (and--probably--editing) this book simply are not up to the usual level of excellence of Stross's work for Ace Books. Given that this novel and the final volume were published in the same year, this strikes me as probably a sign that Stross was simply fulfilling a contractual obligation to Tor, and for good reason: the editing (butchering) his work received at Tor was dreadful. The writing here is repetitive, often giving the reader the same information repeatedly that they just read mere pages before; during the middle third or so of the novel nearly every character develops a "cheek twitch" when they are annoyed or tense or upset; and several loose plot threads dangle apparently unnoticed and forgotten by either Stross and/or his editors. The central _ideas_ and some of the overall plot shaping are great in theory, just not in practice. I did very much enjoy the growing sense that what Stross was going for with this book (and, evidently, series) was a satire of the Bush/Cheney administration (and he quite sharply zeroes in on the neocons vulnerability in their attempts to ruthlessly build a new American Empire, even if he doesn't quite get the economic purposes behind it), and was even further delighted when, towards the end of this volume (SPOILER ALERT) he actually makes the offstage actions of Dick Cheney a key causal part of the series's plot. I also have to say, on a sidenote, that, while I don't subscribe to libertarianism at all (for a number of reasons, but primarily because the American version of this ideology has no conceptual or practical understanding of economics, despite all their bluster about the subject), it is refreshing to read a libertarian author who has actually read the classic political economists, and particularly Marx, and _understands them_. This is not something that American libertarians appear interested in or capable of (with the exception of Heinlein, who did read Marx but did not understand his economics or philosophy; see _Starship Troopers_). I'll be glad to move on through the final work in this series and get back to the much better work Stross has done over at Ace Books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weimer

    The Merchant Prince series, about Miriam Beckstein, is the series that got me into the works of Charles Stross. The Revolution Business is the fifth in this series. It follows off of the explosive ending to the fourth novel, where the machinations of several parties, ranging from the Clan to the U.S. Government, to the political enemies of the Clan in the Gruinmarkt, all fall against each other, inadvertently messing up each other. Even more important is Miriam, our central character. In the novel The Merchant Prince series, about Miriam Beckstein, is the series that got me into the works of Charles Stross. The Revolution Business is the fifth in this series. It follows off of the explosive ending to the fourth novel, where the machinations of several parties, ranging from the Clan to the U.S. Government, to the political enemies of the Clan in the Gruinmarkt, all fall against each other, inadvertently messing up each other. Even more important is Miriam, our central character. In the novel, she quickly finds herself thrust into politics of the Family in a way that she could not imagine even in previous novels. Her previous efforts are nothing compared to the cut and thrust of politics now, in the wake of the deadly politics in the Gruinmarkt. And then there is the technological breakthrough of the US Government in terms of worldwalking, and the Clan's very personal approach to their feud with the US Government... About the only fault I have in the novel is that we don't get enough of the third world, the New Britain world. It suffers a bit in comparison to events in our world and the Gruinmarkt. With that aside, though, this novel continues to build on the previous four novels of the series. Stross has managed this series, its worlds and assumptions, with enviable and undeniable skill. His skill in developing believable and complex characters, having them grow and change (and in some instances, kill them off) is admirable. There is one more novel planned in the sequence, and Stross ends this book with an explosive cliffhanger that will make you want to read the sixth book all the more. I know that I certainly do!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Clay Kallam

    The fifth installment in one of my favorite series, Charles Stross’s The Merchant Princes turned out to be a disappointment, as “The Revolution Business” (Tor, $24.95, 320 pages), as it’s the weakest of the five-book series. In his blog, Stross admits to being a bit burned out, and “The Revolution Business” is more about turning the wheels of an increasingly more complex plot than it is about engaging the reader in the life of heroine Miriam Beckstein, who suddenly found herself not only with the The fifth installment in one of my favorite series, Charles Stross’s The Merchant Princes turned out to be a disappointment, as “The Revolution Business” (Tor, $24.95, 320 pages), as it’s the weakest of the five-book series. In his blog, Stross admits to being a bit burned out, and “The Revolution Business” is more about turning the wheels of an increasingly more complex plot than it is about engaging the reader in the life of heroine Miriam Beckstein, who suddenly found herself not only with the ability to travel to a parallel universe much like Earth, except it’s about 500 years behind. Oh, and she’s also a princess there who’s uncomfortably close to the throne of this new earth. Stross has played this out in four previous books, and promises a conclusion in volume six next year, but unless he adds a synopsis (or at least a cast of characters), I’d advise waiting until the final book comes out, and then go back and read all of them in relatively close proximity so that there’s a chance of separating the bad guys from the good guys, and grasping the significance of various plot developments, as you read. Stross also ends the books, serial-fashion, with a cliffhanging situation, and then begins “The Revolution Business,” for example, as if the reader had just closed “The Merchant’s War.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Arnold

    So, a while back I was talking with an old book snob friend from my Barnes & Noble days about genres that we did't read - mine was mystery (nope, don't like 'em), his was science fiction - which got me thinking about sci fi. A lot of authors I really like - Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing - hell, even Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of Day) has written what's essentially science fiction (and a great book, so here's a plug for Never Let Me Go). And, I took a science fiction class as an undergrad ( So, a while back I was talking with an old book snob friend from my Barnes & Noble days about genres that we did't read - mine was mystery (nope, don't like 'em), his was science fiction - which got me thinking about sci fi. A lot of authors I really like - Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing - hell, even Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of Day) has written what's essentially science fiction (and a great book, so here's a plug for Never Let Me Go). And, I took a science fiction class as an undergrad (taught by Flora J. Zbar, who was also my Literature and The Occult prof, and who, on the side, was a haunting expert. She told excellent stories). All that to say that that talk made me think about reading some science fiction again, when I ran across a revew of Charles Stross' Merchant Princes series, I thought, why not? It's turned out to be pretty interesting series, actually So, do I feel a bit Dwight Shrute-ish reading this? You bet. Did it make me feel better that the 5th book had a blurb from Nobel Prize winning Paul Krugman on the front cover? A little bit. But I can still embrace the science fiction-liking side of my literary tastes. In the wise words of Jim Halpert in his Dwight Shrute costume: Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dev Null

    Well we certainly answered a lot of questions - like whether this is meant to be events set in reality but hidden from the reader, or whether we're looking at some sort of alternate history - cleared that one up with an exclamation point on the end! But for a book that claims to be the final book in the series, if not (hint hint) the final book he will write about the world, too much is left up in the air at the end. What happens to Mirriam? What happens to the survivors of Gruinmarkt? What happ Well we certainly answered a lot of questions - like whether this is meant to be events set in reality but hidden from the reader, or whether we're looking at some sort of alternate history - cleared that one up with an exclamation point on the end! But for a book that claims to be the final book in the series, if not (hint hint) the final book he will write about the world, too much is left up in the air at the end. What happens to Mirriam? What happens to the survivors of Gruinmarkt? What happens to the new government and our friends in New Britain? For goodness' sake; in a series where we clearly and deliberately don't have a single black-hat baddie, we don't really even know what happened to our least favorite puppy-kicker, the "good" doctor! Even the folks for whom we do get resolution have a disquieting tendency to slip away offstage; we miss the duel and only get Fortinbras turning up at the end to count the corpses. I still liked the series as a whole quite a lot, but I didn't feel that it was wrapped up sufficiently for something I'd invested 6 books on.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cate

    I'm ready for this series to be over. He has to spend so much time each book reaquainting us with all the characters and reminding us again and again of the complicated situations. All I can say is if he doesn't do a line by line reveal in the last book I will be severely pissed off. I hate these bits of dialogue he writes, which are very true to the way people talk, but leave so much unsaid that it's hard to keep track of who's speaking, let alone what's going on. The ideas in this series are i I'm ready for this series to be over. He has to spend so much time each book reaquainting us with all the characters and reminding us again and again of the complicated situations. All I can say is if he doesn't do a line by line reveal in the last book I will be severely pissed off. I hate these bits of dialogue he writes, which are very true to the way people talk, but leave so much unsaid that it's hard to keep track of who's speaking, let alone what's going on. The ideas in this series are interesting and they make me think...and I want to think about economics and numclear warfare not concentrate on who ven Hajalmer is or keep track of made up acronyms in a pseudo-US government. And about that Tom Clancy-style that keeps infringing on my fantasy novel...yeah I can do without that. I don't care what sort of guns they're using and I don't know the difference between them. Big guns, automatic weapons, but I don't need the specs.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John

    The Americans have not only discovered the Clans and their cross dimensional trade, they've found new ways to travel between them. Add six missing backpack nukes, a king who wants all the tinkers dead, and a third world revolting as well and you've got major drama and adventure. All that and we didn't even mention the baby......... Building on the previous books, the plots develop nicely and the characters twist and turn in ways that aren't quite expected. It's lots of fun and I'm really looking The Americans have not only discovered the Clans and their cross dimensional trade, they've found new ways to travel between them. Add six missing backpack nukes, a king who wants all the tinkers dead, and a third world revolting as well and you've got major drama and adventure. All that and we didn't even mention the baby......... Building on the previous books, the plots develop nicely and the characters twist and turn in ways that aren't quite expected. It's lots of fun and I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. This was a lucky find for me in a used book store. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

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