A thrill-a-minute saga of multiple worlds, by the author of The Laundry Files.
What is The Merchant Princes about?
Written by British writer of science fiction and fantasy Charles Stross, The Merchant Princes follows Miriam, a hip tech journalist from Boston who discovered her alternate world relatives and with them an elite identity she didn’t know was hers.
Now, in order to avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam, known as Lady Helge to the Family, starts applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade dominated by mercantilists – with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family.
How to read The Merchant Princes’ Books in Order?
- The Family Trade (2004)
- The Hidden Family (2005)
- The Clan Corporate (2006)
- The Merchants’ War (2007)
- The Revolution Business (2009)
- The Trade of Queens (2010)
What is the plot of the Merchant Princes novels?
For more information about the books in the Merchant Princes series by Charles Stross, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:
The Family Trade – 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 Hidden Family – Miriam, a hip tech journalist from Boston, discovered her alternate world relatives, and with them an elite identity she didn’t know was hers. Now, in order to avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam, known as Lady Helge to the Family, starts applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade dominated by mercantilists — with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family.
The Clan Corporate – Miriam Beckstein has gotten in touch with her roots and they have nearly strangled her. She has tried to remain an outsider and her own woman, and start a profitable business in a third world she has discovered, outside the family reach. Now, however, she may be overreaching. And if she gets caught, death or a fate worse is around the bend. There is for instance the brain-damaged son of the local king who needs a wife. But they’d never make her do that, would they?
The Merchants’ War – Miriam has escaped to yet another world and remains in hiding from both the Clan and their opponents. There is a nasty shooting war going on in the Gruinmarkt world of the Clan, and we know something that Miriam does not; something that she’s really going to hate–if she lives long enough to find out.
The Revolution Business – Things are going badly for the Clan. 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. 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 Trade of Queens – 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.
Empire Games – The year is 2020. It’s seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust. And two women―a mother and her long-lost daughter―are about to find themselves on opposite sides of the confrontation.
Dark State – In the near future, the collision of two nuclear superpowers across timelines, one in the midst of a technological revolution and the other a hyper-police state, is imminent. In Commissioner Miriam Burgeson’s timeline, her top-level agents run a high-risk extraction of a major political player. Meanwhile, a sleeper cell activated in Rita’s, the Commissioner’s adopted daughter and newly-minted spy, timeline threatens to unravel everything.
Invisible Sun – An inter-timeline coup d’état gone awry. A renegade British monarch on the run through the streets of Berlin. And robotic alien invaders from a distant timeline flood through a wormhole, wreaking havoc in the USA. Can disgraced world walker Rita and her intertemporal extraordinaire agent of a mother neutralize the livewire contention before it’s too late?