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May 4, 2010

The Trade of Queens (Merchant Princes Book 06) by Charles Stross

Filed under: Reviews-Science Fiction — Suramya @ 4:27 PM

The Trade of Queens (Merchant Princes Book 06)
by Charles Stross


A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, has carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam alive only long enough to bear her child, the heir to the throne of their land in the Gruinmarkt world. Mike Fleming, late of US intelligence, has just survived an attack on his life in Massachusetts and knows the worst and deepest secret: behind the horrifying plot is a faction of the US government itself, preparing for a political takeover in the aftermath of terrifying disaster. There is no safe place except, perhaps, in the third alternate world, New Britain – which has just had a revolution and a nuclear incident of its own.

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Review:Trade of Queens is the 6th book in the Merchant Princes series and concludes the current story line. By this time Nuclear bombs have been deployed in the US and the President along with most of the cabinet and senate are casualties, while on Gruinmarkt the clan is in the middle of a brutal civil war and a nuke has been deployed at the king’s palace. This is situation from where the ‘Trade of Queens’ starts from and expands.

As expected by now the characters in the book are quite well defined and the author uses the fog of war expertly to further the story line along with a couple of unexpected twists in the plot.

The book has a lot of different minor storylines going on in parallel and sometimes it took a few paragraphs to figure out what story line was being developed at that particular point in time. But it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, the different naming conventions in each of the three worlds made it easier to identify the players and when it wasn’t clear which side a character was on the author usually found a way to clarify that quite soon.

If you have been following the series then you will realize that the books in the series have gotten a lot grittier than the earlier books. Which in itself is not a bad thing but I personally enjoyed the lighter tone of the earlier books more.

One thing I noticed was that even though the author has stated that this is the last book in this storyline there are a lot of plot lines which have been left unresolved. I personally think that Stross will be writing additional novels in this universe but from a different point of view with new central characters. If he doesn’t do this then I would be disappointed because there is an amazing scope for new books in this universe.

Final Recommendation: A good read.

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