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Publisher's Summary

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 six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose exclusive inherited power to walk between the worlds makes them rich in both. Her unexpected return will supercede the claims of other clan members to her mother's fortune and power, and whoever killed her mother will be happy to see her dead, too. But Miriam is no one's pawn, and is determined to conquer her new home on her own terms.

Blending the creativity and humor of Roger Zelazny, the adventure of H. Beam Piper and Philip Jose Farmer, Charles Stross has set a new standard for fantasy epics.

©2004 Charles Stross (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Norman
  • Pearl River, LA, United States
  • 06-13-16

6 books - intriguing series

Any additional comments?

Charlie Stross creates a phenomenal/creative multiverse that really makes you think. Some of the things I wondered about are not developed until later books but he always out does my expectations. Charlie introduces lots of unexpected twists and turns through out the series. He may not be as hard on his characters as George Martin, but he can be ruthless. (He doesn't make death gruesome or revolting, but there is no doubt about the feeling of loss.) He doesn't seem to believe in everyone riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after. Life is hard and choices have consequences, but the series is adequately escapist. I did think it could be better if it was a little shorter, but it was certainly a fun romp and worth the investment. Finally, Kate Reading was a fantastic reader. She brought the characters to life and let the story develop. I recommend the entire series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Could be really awesome.

First I want to say the author has great imagination and vision. There is a lot of deep thought in the storyline to make a saga.

That said I found that this book lacked a certain level of action and intrigue. The book will have your attention and then it just fizzles out. I feel that it is about to get interesting in the following books but I don't want to spend the money or time out of fear that I will be wrong.

The narrator wasn't bad. I detected a lot of the UK in the New England accents but for me it was amusing.

I think there may be some other genres by this author I should check out because I like the style that was being developed but this book in particular didn't do it for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I wanted to like this book

I have picked up Stross books in the past and have not been able to find the supposed redeeming qualities others reviewers do.

This is a strange story. I like strange stories. But this one has too many lethargic uninspired observations. The underlying plot has a lady reporter adopted at birth finding out she is part of a clan that can travel between our world and a second copy of our world stuck in the Mid-evil era. The clan rules over there gaining great wealth by being drug couriers in this one.

Basically the novel is about fish out of water learning about either that world or this, political infighting, and B romance.

Character development, the underlying sci-fi/fantasy concept, dialog, and plot are all below average.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Charles stross always amazes me with tales

loved it. it was intense and fun. thrilling and funny. a masterpiece indeed! read it.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • MxH
  • San Tan Valley, AZ, United States
  • 02-07-16

A Techie Read A Manual On Novel Writing

I think this techie author read a manual called "How To Write Sci-Fi/Fanatasy For Dummies". The resultant world building, characterizations, and plot progression are shallow and incongruent. Its like listening to a crappy first-person game with audio description. Kate Reading, the narrator, saves the book from a one star rating.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

awesome book by an awesome author

these books are wonderful, captivating story lines, fascinating characters, great narrators as well. stress is a great author!

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This was a great listen!

I drive an 90 minutes in to work every morning and this book had me getting to work late as I found myself still sitting in my car and listening for "just a few more minutes".

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  • Elisabeth
  • STANTON, CA, United States
  • 03-11-17

Where Is The Rest Of The Book? Beyond Cliffhanger

[{"type":"Overall","question":"What did you like best about The Family Trade? What did you like least?","id":48,"answer":"I liked the concept of the parallel worlds. I liked that the protagonist is smart.The story just abruptly stops, seemingly in the middle,certainly not the end of the book. NOTHING is resolved. The original money-laundering \u0027big story\u0027 is completely dropped. Miriam goes off to another world and never contacts her mother again, though has time to keep up with her friend Polly. There is an asinine love/sex interest who could pass for a one night stand; then suddenly they are in love even though she doesn\u0027t know if he can be trusted. There are multiple factions trying to kill Miriam though we never find out who they are or why they are doing it except that maybe someone wants her share of money. She lands in a country where women are treated medievally so she decides that she wants to change the entire political and economic infrastructure. Though this does not happen. We are expected to believe that people would choose to live in a land that doesn\u0027t even have indoor plumbing and heating when all they have to do is look at a locket and voila they are in 21st century USA. Occasionally random scenes that have no bearing on the story are thrown in, presumably to let us know that the next book in the series might have a plot. Who cares."},{"type":"Story","question":"Would you recommend The Family Trade to your friends? Why or why not?","id":13,"answer":"No. Why? Because I like my friends.There is no story here. It starts out as \u0027woman in danger running\u0027 it ends with \u0027woman in danger running\u0027."},{"type":"Performance","question":" Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare? ","id":17,"answer":"Kate Reading is always first rate. I probably bought this book because it was narrated by her. "},{"type":"Genre","question":"If this book were a movie would you go see it? ","id":68,"answer":"This would never become a movie."},{"type":"Misc","question":"Any additional comments?","id":-1,"answer":""}]

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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And here I thought I found something..

So they kidnapped her, took away all her rights and she's bloody fine with it?! What's wrong with her reactions to events?!

To be continued... *keeps listening*

And totally rolls with the situation without protesting or making any fuss. Is she unable to say "no" and stand up for herself? I seriously hope she finds her backbone. A journalist should have one.

And then she becomes best buddy with the guy who explains all the things she is not allowed to do. Never once is she outraged.

Five hours and still no plot and no clue what this book is all about, apart from world traveling trade and aristocratic families.

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Don't bother.

If you want to read something good by Mr. Stross read the laundry files instead. Those are fantastic, this really isn't.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • people's bank
  • 05-31-17

don't go there

I have read the laundry series, which I thought was great. so of cause I tried his other series, don't go there you would not believe it's the same author.
started well but by the 4th chapter it lost its way.

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  • Montees
  • 04-22-15

a bit disappointing

Charles Stross' weakest so far. get back to the geek I say. Disappointed and couldn't wait for it to end.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 09-30-16

loved the book but the series is incomplete

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I'd love to give this book a good review because I enjoyed it heaps. However, only books one and 4 are available, and it's been like that for ages, no sign of the situation changing. It seems so perverse, why would they record in that order?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful