The Trade of Queens (Stross)

The Trade of Queens: Book Six of the Merchant Princes

So here’s the thing. If you liked the earlier books in this series, you will find this, the last installment, to be simultaneously enjoyable and frustrating. Enjoyable, because it closes the story arc in a convincing way, one that leaves open the possibility of future books in the same universe. Frustrating, because it very much seems to be a short appendix to the previous book, plumped into book length by unnecessary repetition.

There’s also the political angle: Dick Cheney (never named, merely code-named WARBUCKS) was helping the Gruinmarkt Clan smuggle drugs into the US; he becomes President after he manipulates the Clan into attacking the US with nukes, after which he conveniently has a heart attack so that Don Rumsfeld can become President. I mean, come on. This probably pleases a certain segment of the population, but it didn’t do much for me.

Not a bad read, though it was helped for me a bit because I’d read this exegesis by the author before I actually read the book. Recommended if you’ve already finished the preceding books in the series; eminently skippable otherwise.

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