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The Clan Corporate: Book Three of The…
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The Clan Corporate: Book Three of The Merchant Princes (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Charles Stross

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7731511,948 (3.37)8
Member:LittleGreyDuck
Title:The Clan Corporate: Book Three of The Merchant Princes
Authors:Charles Stross
Info:Tor Fantasy (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
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The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross (2006)

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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I have mixed feelings about this book. I continue to be satisfied with the world-building; this actually puts some thought into the economic and political consequences of parallel universes with restricted travel between them. Characterization is acceptable. The plot didn't grab, somehow, and there is no wrap-up or closure at the end, just a "and in the next chapter ... you'll have to buy the next book to find out!".

I probably will buy the next book, but not a new hardcover. ( )
  sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
baen ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
I am starting to think Mr. Stross is playing a game with his readers in this series. I'm imagining him saying to himself, "let's see how far I have to go to lose every single reader's suspension of disbelief." My other rationale is maybe someone else wrote parts of this series. Or it was an exercise for National Novel Writing Month.

He mires his wonderful protagonist character down in so much muck that she doesn't have room to breathe as a character. He goes further and begins to betray the confident woman he created. She is now continuously weak, lacks foresight, and has a child's sense of consequences.

The ending of this book is a three ring circus, an Irwin Allen-sized disaster movie. The coincidences pile on far too high for me to suspend my disbelief. Mike's first assignment in the middle world happens to be with Mirriam (who he dated in the past) and the wedding announcement party is crashed by the prince at exactly the same time Mike is there to see her. Stop! Just... no. There are other similar issues but the ending was most egregious. This is the sort of plotting a teenage boy writes, not one of my favorite authors.

Going back, there was the whole episode with Matthias trying to escape. That sequence was so stupid it hurt. A smart security-conscious type does WHAT? The nuclear threat alone would have been enough to get closer to the front door than he got.

I'm invested enough in the story to continue but I'm hoping this is the lowest point in the crafting of this series. ( )
  Penforhire | Feb 29, 2012 |
This one was a bit more of a slog for me than its predecessors. It felt like Stross was spending most of the book setting up for the next one, rather than developing a work that stands on its own. That said, I am very much looking forward to the next one, which seems set up to proceed at a good clip. ( )
  mbg0312 | Feb 14, 2012 |
So, the third Merchant Princes book. The change in this novel from the previous two is interesting; it suddenly goes a lot darker, a lot more political. Miriam is a pawn trapped in the royal court, cut off from her business ventures and her friends, forced to live the life of an idle noble lady, and alienated from her one ally in the power structure. After a brief attempt to regain the upper hand, her options keep diminishing through family intrigue until, by the end, a forced marriage becomes the least bad option open to her.

One thing leapt out at me; as so much of the book revolves around Miriam being lost in society, we get a lot of play with people talking only in a language she doesn't speak very well. When a character does speak in English rather than the local language, it often has quite dramatic implications - why do they know it, and why are they using it? The problem is, there's no textual indication as to which is which. Occasionally it's noted in the text - the first and most dramatic case where someone speaks English is done this way - but usually, it's just left unnoted, save that there's no confused faltering, and even that isn't uniformly applied. The result is that you often have to read a paragraph, think that the conversation seems very lucid, read back, and try to work out if X secondary character's meant to be speaking in English or if it's just the narrative style. It's trivial, I know, but it bugged me.

The other darkness is in the "real world"; the US Government has realised vaguely what's going on, and decided not to treat it as a law-enforcement problem, but as a national security one. After all, these people are magically transporting crateloads of cocaine into major cities - what happens if they do the same with bombs? So, we get the dramatic thriller-ish response you'd expect; people rushed off to top-secret organisations with cryptic acronyms, doors kicked down, etc etc. Except... the book was written in 2005, contains a thinly veiled description of the then-current administration down to its powerful Vice-President, and has some entirely plausible but deeply unpleasant assumptions about just how this sort of response would go - very wrong, very fast, through "enemy combatant" and out the other side. (At one point, a lawyer muses on how easy things would be if your opponents were somehow able to be deemed technically not human... and seems quite enthused by the prospect)

We could have done with a lot more in the third world; it's interesting, and well-developed, but gets short shrift this time. Still, it manages - if possible - to casually outdo the others in looming unpleasantness, with the last throwaway line about it...

Not cheering, any of it. But it's well-realised, it's better executed than the first book even if there's a bit of sloppiness about recapitulating the plot, and there was only really one glitch where I lost suspension of disbelief.
  generalising | Jul 8, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The book starts slowly, filling in background detail for new readers (who would be advised to start with book one), picks up pace with some startling plot twists and ends with a clever cliff-hanger.
added by andyl | editThe Guardian, Eric Brown (Jan 10, 2009)
 

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Charles Strossprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nail lacquer, the woman called Helge reflected as she paused in the antechamber, always did to things to her: it reminded her of her mother, and it made her feel like a rebellious little girl.
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Back home in the United States, most people had an overly romantic view of what a monarchy -- not the toothless, modern constitutional monarchies of Europe, but the original l'etat c'est moi variety -- was like. In reality, a monarchy was just a fancy name for a hereditary dictatorship, Miriam decided. (chapter 8, "Reproductive Politics", p. 138)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765348225, Mass Market Paperback)

Miriam Beckstein has gotten in touch with her roots and they have nearly strangled her. A young, hip, business journalist in Boston, she discovered (in The Family Trade ) that her family comes from an alternate reality, that she is very well-connected, and that her family is too much like the mafia for comfort. In addition, starting with the fact that women are family property and required to breed more family members with the unique talent to walk between worlds, Miriam has tried to remain an outsider and her own woman. She started a profitable business in a third world she has discovered, outside the family reach (recounted in The Hidden Family). She fell in love with a distant relative, but he died saving her life.
 
Now, however, in The Clan Corporate, Miriam may be overreaching. And if she gets caught, death or a fate worse is around the bend. There is, for instance, the brain-damaged son of the local king who needs a wife. But they'd never make her do that, would they?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Miriam Beckstein has been in touch with her roots and they have nearly strangled her. A young, hip, business journalist in Boston, she soon discovers that her family comes from an alternate reality, that she is very well connected, and that her family is too much like the mafia for comfort. Originally published: 2006.… (more)

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