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Cover artist for the first six volumes: Paul Youll
Volume 7 is a photo composite
The series consisted of six books published from 2005 to 2010. However, in 2017 a new cycle of the series started – we now have seven books with more to come.
It is an interesting and intense series of parallel worlds, where some people have the ability to jump between these worlds.
We follow the main protagonist Miriam Beckstein as she finds out, what and who she really is and the consequences for her and the parallel worlds. We are deftly sucked into a whirlwind of intrigue, crime, political power struggles and personal problems with strong characters trying to save the day. No holds are barred in the cataclysmic ending of book six.
If you like your SF fast paced, full of ideas and politically savvy, then this series is a must read. Personally, I am eagerly awaiting the next book.
The Merchant Princes
- The Family Trade
- The Hidden Family
- The Clan Corporate
- The Merchants’ War
- The Revolution Business
- Trade of Queens
- Empire Games
In the acknowledgements page in the first book, Charles Stross writes: “This book might not have happened if I hadn’t read the works of H. Beam Piper and Roger Zelazny.”
Parallel worlds is the theme of H. Beam Piper’s Paratime novels and stories, and the Amber books of Roger Zelazny. Try and search them out, they are very good.
Empire Games is number seven in the series The Merchant Princes. The series started in 2005 with The Family Trade, and book six (The Trade of Queens) was out in 2010. Then we had a long gap until Empire Games came out here in 2017.
The earth is not just the earth – but one of many parallel earths. Some people can skip between these earths, if they have the right coordinates. This trope is not new, but the details are different from other outings of course.
Rita Douglas is the daughter of Miriam Burgeson (aka Miriam Beckstein – the main protagonist of the previous books). However, she was adopted at birth, and has never known her mother. Does she have world skipping abilities, will she be roped into the political machinations surrounding the parallel worlds and will she meet her mother?
The series continues to be filled with action, high politics and personal dramas – it’s good to be back in this interesting and exiting multiverse.
I suppose you could start with this book – at the beginning the author gives us an overview of timelines and main characters – but you really should start with the first one, The Family Trade.
Empire Games is clearly the start of a new cycle of the series. I am going to read the new ones as fast as they are published.