The Bloodline Feud – Charles Stross

“Ten and a half hours before a mounted knight with a machine gun tried to kill her, tech journalist Miriam Beckstein lost her job.”

What if you discovered you could travel between worlds, from here to the ‘same’ spot in another reality? What if you discovered that you were the missing heiress to a powerful family, who use this unique ability to rule their world? And what if you discovered that someone tried to kill you once, and now that you’ve returned they mean to finish the job?

The Bloodline Feud is an omnibus edition of the first two Merchant Princes books, The Family Trade and The Hidden Family, with possibly a little re-editing, I believe. There’s another two such omnibus editions, so a total of six books in the series, and another trilogy due soon. This is somewhat important, as there is no sense of a ‘stand alone’-ness to this book. I’d hate to think how frustrating the original single volume was, as even with the two together there’s really only an opening to a story.

As for that story, well, I enjoyed it, but… hmm. As you can see below, it took me quite a while (by my standards) to read, as I did keep putting it down and reading other things. Then a bit of the story would totally grip me, and I’d be right back with it! Safe to suggest, a little uneven, then?

It didn’t help that I wasn’t desperately invested in any of the characters. I quite like the main heroine, especially as she’s in her 30s and has a bit of get-go to her. I can quite easily imagine the scenario here played out very differently in another pair of hands, with a younger and less proactive lead. On the other hand, the rest of the cast were a bit flat, as far as I was concerned – there to serve plot purposes more than feeling ‘real’, so to speak.

Overall, I do love Mr Stross’ imagination, and the way he turns sci-fi/fantasy about a bit with a realistic dose of economic theory (see also: Neptune’s Brood). Nothing has had quite the appeal for me of the marvellous Laundry Files, but I’m happy enough that I read this, while still not really rushing forward a big recommendation. I’ve got the remainder of the series to try out, but the fact that there’s a new trilogy on its way is vaguely promising, I think. Watch this space!

Kindle: 564 pages / 10 parts / 29 chapters
First published: 2013 (individually 2004/2005)
Series: The Merchant Princes books 1 and 2 (omnibus) of an original 6, plus soon to be joined by a new trilogy
Read from 22nd December 2016 – 18th January 2017

My rating: 7/10

One thought on “The Bloodline Feud – Charles Stross

  1. I know what you mean – Stross’ books are often intriguing and entertaining but they can also be bloody hard work. (‘Accelerando’ was a bit of a brain-melter for me…) This series was intriguing enough to sustain my interest, and I’m looking forward to the new trilogy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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