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The Revolution Trade: A Merchant Princes Omnibus    by Charles Stross order for
Revolution Trade
by Charles Stross
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Revolution Trade is an omnibus edition of the fifth and sixth novels - The Revolution Business and Trade of Queens - in Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series that offers plenty of action while examining the economics of trade between parallel worlds at different levels of development.

It started when hi-tech reporter Miriam Beckstein uncovered a money-laundering scheme and found an unusual locket. The latter took her to a medieval parallel world, where she was embroiled in intra-familial plots. Miriam tracked down a lost branch of her family Clan and found a third world, midway between the other two in development. She started a new branch of the family business there, involving technology transfer rather than drug running.

The second omnibus was filled with civil war on the Clan world. Miriam (unknowingly impregnated with the heir to the throne) escaped to the new world she had discovered, to a country undergoing revolution (bearing similarities to Earth's French Revolution). Meanwhile Earth authorities learned of the Clan's existence and planned for nuclear war against their world (which has bountiful energy resources). And young Clan members discovered yet another world, a very advanced one.

In The Revolution Trade, a pregnant Miriam (acknowledged as ruler if only in title) works hard to organize a refuge for the Clan in the third world she had discovered. Meanwhile her mother and powerful grandmother pursue their own agendas, the latter taking atomic warfare back to their enemy, unaware of what that will unleash upon them. And back on Earth, Mike Fleming (Miriam's old DEA boyfriend) tries hard to stay alive long enough to tell his story of what is really going on to the world.

It's a fascinating series, well worth reading, as both a very thoughtful parallel worlds adventure and for its commentary on our own society and its priorities. If you haven't read it yet, start at the beginning with The Family Trade or the omnibus Bloodline Feud.

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