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The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes…
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The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus: The Family Trade & The… (edició 2014)

de Charles Stross (Autor)

Sèrie: Merchant Princes (Omnibus 1-2)

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'The Family Trade' and 'The Hidden Family' - The first two installments of the "Merchant Princes" series combined in one volume. Miriam Beckstein is a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine. So when she discovers a huge money-laundering scam, she thinks she's hit the big time. But when she takes it to her editor, she's not only fired, but receives death threats. That's just the beginning. To distract her furious daughter, Miriam's adopted mother unearths mementos from her real mother, murdered when she was an infant. But these reveal a secret that will ultimately throw governments into disarray. For what Miriam thinks is a simple locket has the power to fling her into an alternate timeline. In this less-developed world, knights on horseback wield automatic weapons, and world-skipping assassins lurk on the other side of our reality. Here, her true family runs a criminal empire - and they want her back. But Miriam has other plans.… (més)
Membre:CristianAndreuT
Títol:The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus: The Family Trade & The Hidden Family
Autors:Charles Stross (Autor)
Informació:Tor Books (2014), Edition: First Edition, 576 pages
Col·leccions:Added In Revision
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Informació de l'obra

The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus de Charles Stross

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Miriam is a journalist who’s just been fired for investigating the wrong tech bubble story. She discovers, in the belongings of her murdered birth mother, a mysterious locket that has the power to take her into another world, where the economics and culture are still basically medieval, and it turns out her family uses worldwalking to smuggle goods/get power. Because her talent is too valuable to the family, but also internal quarrels mean that there are people out to kill her no matter what, she decides that her best strategy is to use her knowledge of economics to change the business model from mercantilist to industrialist. It’s fun to see economics and patent law in fantasy, though Miriam is a bit of a nice white lady (pace her thoughts on the absence of police states in the modern US, which are period-appropriate for the character but probably not what Stross would say now). ( )
  rivkat | Nov 16, 2021 |
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3776157.html

This is a compilation and revision of the first two books in Stross's Merchant Princes series (originally intended to be one book rather than two). When I read the first, The Family Trade, in 2005, I wrote:

"I had been looking forward to reading this for some time. Reviews that I had skimmed (and indeed hints dropped by the author) led me to understand that it borrows the feudal and feuding families who can walk between the worlds of Roger Zelazny's Amber series, a firm favourite of mine from an early age. But my anticipation was mixed with a little trepidation: even Zelazny was unable to really pull it off in the end - while the Amber books contain some of his most lyrical prose, the plot has holes you can drive an army of dark, clawed, fanged, furry man-like creatures through, and his own interest and energy had very obviously faded by the middle of the second series. And as for the Betancourt prequels - critical reaction has been pretty unanimous, so I don't think I'll bother.

Well, I think Charlie has pulled it off. He's taken Zelazny's idea and wondered what people with that ability would actually do with it in today's world; applied an economic model to it, if you like. Amber was always supposedly a great trading nexus (Corwin had written its anthem, the Ballad of the Water Crossers), but the evidence of this was pretty minimal - rather than wealth, its children seemed to be more attracted to power, and went off to find kingdoms and wars of their own. In the Stross version, there is a convincing business model using the fact that those with the gift can shift between our world and one where the Vikings settled North America and Europe never developed (and, we suspect, at least one other such parallel universe). Also in the Stross version, we have a plot that makes sense and is compelling reading; and some very interesting and complex characters. The Family Trade doesn't have the vivid imagery of some of his other work, but I sat up much later than I should have last night to finish it, and now can't wait for the sequel, The Hidden Family."

A few weeks later, I wrote of the second part, The Hidden Family:

"I once again sat up far too late reading this, the sequel to The Family Trade. And enjoyed it too. Our heroine from the first book has a business plan, an economic model, three parallel universes to trade between, and a bunch of enemies out to kill her. Some vivid scene-setting, including of the weather; one nice little touch which reminded me of my debate with Ken MacLeod back in August:

I don't know much about English history, but it's got this civil war in the sixteen forties, goes on and on about some dude called the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. I looked him up in Encarta and yes, he's there, too. I didn't know the English had a civil war, and it gets better: they had a revolution in 1688, too! Did you know that? I sure didn't, and it's not in Encarta -- but I didn't trust it, so I checked Britannica and it's kosher. Okay, so England has a lot of history, and it's all in the wrong order.

As the climax loomed and the number of pages left to read dwindled rapidly, I began to wonder if the book would end on a genuine cliff-hanger to encourage us to look out for The Clan Corporate. But in fact enough was resolved - if in a bit of a rush - for the story to come to a satisfactory halt for now.

Charlie does like his feisty women heroes! And does them well."

Sixteen years on, I had forgotten enough of the plot to enjoy it all over again, and also to note that some of the rough edges have been filed off. Perhaps I know the northeast of the US a bit better now than I did, after various visits to my brother in Boston and my former employers in New York, and also a bit more historical background reading, so it all cohered a bit better in my mind. I still love Zelazny and Amber, but I also really like the economic/business mindset that Stross's heroine brings to a similar situation, and the desperate attempts of surveillance states in each of the parallel worlds to keep track of people who can move between them. ( )
  nwhyte | Oct 6, 2021 |
Dimension hopping drug dealers, good stuff ( )
  erroneous-wolf-man | Aug 24, 2019 |
Bloodline Feud is a reworking of the first two books in the Merchant Princes series. Charlie Stross explained why he'd rewritten them on his blog. Basically he'd written them this way and was asked by the publisher to split them into smaller books because the fantasy doorstop wasn't in fashion.

I'd already read the entire series so I was wary of buying the Bloodline Feud. The only reason I did was because it was on special offer from Amazon for 99p. At that price almost anything is worth trying. Bloodline Feud is mostly the same story, but it is better than I remember either of the two books being. Also the combining them into one volume works very well. The story has a better pace and feels like a single story rather than two smashed together.

That said, these aren't pure fantasy books. They're a modern thriller with a fantasy element. The premise is that parallel worlds exist. A recessive gene allows those with two copies to walk between worlds. Set around 2002, when the books were first published, they take a female business journalist and give her access to a parallel world.

Miriam is a classic unreliable narrator, almost the entire story is told from her point of view. There are other points of view so that the reader knows the bigger picture, but these form interludes to foreshadow later things or to explain other sides.

The Bloodline Feud of the title is related to the world walking ability. The family having realised how it works tries to keep control over itself. However, power struggles caused an internecine war. Miriam brings that back when she world walks, she's the surviving daughter of a marriage intended to stop the war. Her parents were ambushed and she was taken to the US by her world walking mother. Adopted as a child she knows nothing of her heritage.

Miriam is given a locket, which contains the world walking sigil. This leads to her switching worlds and coming to the attention of her estranged family, the Clan. Her return triggers more activity around the Bloodline Feud. There are assassination attempts on Miriam. This leads to her going with her journalistic leaning to uncover the background to the Bloodline Feud. This leads to her discovering a third world.

Worth a note on the worlds. We start in the modern US about 2002. This is the most advanced technologically of the three. Miriam then visits the home world of the walkers. This is topographically identical but much more sparsely populated. It appears to have been settled by vikings and history diverged hundreds of years before. This world is feudal and has a c16 level of technology, apart from what the clan has brought over.

The feudal nature of this world limits the viewpoint and nature of clan operations. They are intrinsically conservative. This makes them less interested in social and economic development than in trade. They use their ability to move information rapidly between places in their world. In the other direction they use their wealth and power to move drugs.

The Clan are largely ignorant of world three. Miriam stumbles into it when tracking the Bloodline Feud. Its history diverged from the modern US about 1745. The Hanoverian Kings ended up ruling the American colonies after a successful Jacobite rebellion backed by a full scale French invasion. This world is around late 19th or very early 20th century in terms of technology. It's also a police state.

Overall it is a very good take on parallel worlds with some really good female characters. Worth a read. ( )
  jmkemp | Jul 5, 2016 |
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'The Family Trade' and 'The Hidden Family' - The first two installments of the "Merchant Princes" series combined in one volume. Miriam Beckstein is a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine. So when she discovers a huge money-laundering scam, she thinks she's hit the big time. But when she takes it to her editor, she's not only fired, but receives death threats. That's just the beginning. To distract her furious daughter, Miriam's adopted mother unearths mementos from her real mother, murdered when she was an infant. But these reveal a secret that will ultimately throw governments into disarray. For what Miriam thinks is a simple locket has the power to fling her into an alternate timeline. In this less-developed world, knights on horseback wield automatic weapons, and world-skipping assassins lurk on the other side of our reality. Here, her true family runs a criminal empire - and they want her back. But Miriam has other plans.

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