The Trade of Queens: Book Six of the Merchant Princes
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A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, have carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam Beckstein alive only long enough to bear her child, the heir to the throne of their land in the Gruinmarkt world.
The worst and deepest secret is now revealed: behind the horrifying plot is a faction of the US government itself, preparing for a political takeover in the aftermath of disaster. There is no safe place for Miriam and her Clan except, perhaps, in the third alternate world, New Britain--which has just had a revolution and a nuclear incident of its own.
Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series reaches a spectacular climax in this sixth volume. Praised by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman as "great fun," this is state of the art, cutting edge SF grown out of a fantastic premise.
hundred-gram lump of plutonium 239, which we subsequently confirmed had been produced in one of our own breeders. This got our attention, but his story was so crazy that DEA nearly wrote him off as a kook—they didn’t take the plutonium brick seriously at first. However, it checked out.” Click. Surveillance video, grainy black-and-white, showing a view of a jail cell. A prisoner is sitting on the edge of a plastic bench, alone. He glances around. Then, after a few seconds, he rolls back his left
threat, intrusions from another world, a parallel universe, is unprecedented and carries with it many unknown unknowns, if I may steal a phrase from the top. What we failed to appreciate at first was that the Clan were effectively a parallel government within their own nation, but not the government—an analogy with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan is apposite—and that the local authorities wanted rid of them. The situation was highly unstable. I am informed that negotiations with the Clan
raised an eyebrow at Huw. “Enough with the radio,” she said. Huw could take a hint: He switched it off, and waited for the glowing tubes to fade to gray before he followed them towards the waiting pot. Miriam was sitting on one of the two chairs, her hands clutching an earthenware mug of black coffee. The kettle still steamed atop the coal-fired cast-iron cooking range. “He’s on the radio,” she said, as if she didn’t quite believe it. “Voice of England. That’s the official news channel, isn’t
you desire the details, I will be happy to describe them later. For the time being, our best hope lies in New Britain, where Her Majesty is attempting to establish negotiations with the new revolutionary government—” Uproar. “I say! Silence!” Riordan’s bellow cut through the shouting. “I’ll drag the next man who interrupts out and horse-whip him around the walls! Show some respect, damn you!” The hubbub subsided. Olga waited for the earl to nod at her, then continued. “Unlike the Anglischprache
message was a giveaway: It reeked of near-panic. She’d said something about her relatives being caught up in a civil war, hadn’t she? Interesting. Burgeson reached out with his left hand and yanked the bell rope, without taking his eyes off the message tape. A few seconds later Citizen Supervisor Philips stuck his head round the partition. “You called, citizen?” “Yes.” Burgeson shoved the newspaper stack to one side, so that they overflowed the desk and drifted down across the empty rifle rack