families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the
scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose power to
walk between their world and ours make them rich in both. Braids of
family loyalty and intermarriage provide a fragile guarantee of peace,
but a recently ended civil war has left the families shaken and
Miriam, a hip tech journalist form Boston, discovered her alternate-world relatives with explosive results that shook three worlds. Now, as the prodigal Countess Helge Thorold-Hyorth, she finds herself ensnared in schemes and plots centuries in the making. She is surrounded by unlikely allies, lethal contraband, and, most dangerous of all, her family. With her modern American attitudes, she's not sure she can fit in, or if she even wants to, but to stay alive, she really has no choice.
To avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam must build a power-base of her own. She started applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade heretofore dominated by medieval mercantilists – with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family.
Blending the creativity and humor of Roger Zelazny, the adventure of H. Beam Piper and Philip José Farmer, and the rigor and scope of a science-fiction writer on the grandest scale, Charles Stross has set a new standard for fantasy epics.
Charles Stross is one of the big new SF writers of the 21st century, and the saga of The Merchant Princes is his most ambitious work yet.
Charles David George "Charlie" Stross (born 1964) is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy. Stross was born in Leeds.
Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams, Neal Asher and Richard Morgan.
Photo: Photograph by Simon Bradshaw, 1 May 2009, Book signing at Forbidden Planet, London. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.