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The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus    by Charles Stross order for
Bloodline Feud
by Charles Stross
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Bloodline Feud is an omnibus edition of the first two books in Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series: The Family Trade and The Hidden Family. Having read the first book many years ago, I was glad to take it in again along with the sequel. As well as offering an exciting adventure, the series examines the economics of trade between parallel worlds at different levels of development (the items traded limited to what can be carried by one person at a time!)

It all starts for hi-tech reporter Miriam Beckstein when she uncovers a money-laundering scheme. Soon she's fired on trumped up charges and threatened. At the same time, her adoptive mother gives her an unusual locket that belonged to her birth mother. It sends Miriam to a medieval world. She escapes, but is followed, kidnapped and returned to this strange world, where she's quickly involved in intra-familial plots. Miriam then spends her time learning local customs, dodging assassination attempts across dimensions, and plotting a restructuring of the family trade to get herself out of this mess.

The only good news is handsome cousin Roland, who has also questioned the family's business methods. But can she trust him? As the attempts to kill her intensify, with increasing collateral damage, Miriam tracks down a lost branch of the family, and discovers a third world, its technological development midway between the other two. With a little help from her friends, she starts up a new branch of the family business there. Now all she has to do is to convince each side of this longrunning feud that peace - and increased profit - is in their best interests.

It's an exciting story, filled with conflict and some surprising twists along the way. If you haven't found this unusual, well developed series yet, then this omnibus edition is a great place to start.

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