From Publishers Weekly
Miriam Beckstein, aka Countess Helge Thorold-Hjorth of the Clan, finds her own world to conquer in this fast-moving sequel to The Family Trade (2004)—a neo-Victorian America ruled by an English king in exile. Determined to show her uncle, Duke Angmar, that a hidden branch of the Clan is responsible for past assassinations and present attempts on her life, Miriam tracks them to the world of New Britain. There, she connects with a pawnbroker-cum-revolutionary and begins her own revolution to demonstrate the higher profits found in intellectual property smuggling. Before long, Miriam is battling suspicious royal security and the hidden family's hit team at the same time. Stross continues to mix high and low tech in amusing and surprising ways. However, while giving a gritty SF portrait of the marvels of modern market economics and correcting the too pretty portrait of too many medieval fantasy lands, he sometimes overlooks the realities that constrain both. Still, less historically minded readers can lose themselves in Miriam's attempts to survive the Clan's equally dangerous high-stakes business and social games. Stross weaves a tale worthy of Robert Ludlum or Dan Brown. Agent, Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates. (June 9)
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The sequel to The Family Trade (2004) continues the adventures of Miriam, the high-tech journalist flung into a fantasy world that really does recall the early volumes of Roger Zelazny's Amber series. Miriam is now Lady Helge, and her family resembles one of the Mafia variety too closely for her own peace of mind. Meanwhile, she is the equivalent of a local capo. The locality in which she functions, at several levels of technology and ethics, is a well-drawn avatar of the Victorian era, whose people are, however, anything but helpless victims, and wouldn't be even if Lady Helge had far fewer scruples than she does have. Indeed, she is already showing enough scruples that, sooner or later, the family may notice--and being nice to clients is a big taboo for members of the hidden family. Laugh your way to an ending that clearly promises further enjoyable volumes. Roland Green
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