TRADE OF QUEENS

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This is the sixth and final volume in the Merchant Princes series (at least for the current storyline), and Stross sure ends things with a bang -- the multiple plots all converge, and watching the pieces fall into place is a good deal of fun. Fans of this series should find this conclusion satisfying and chilling.

A growing rift between different factions of the Clan -- a group of alternate universe merchants that has traded covertly with our universe for more than a century -- has led to the unthinkable: a nuclear attack on the United States that leaves the president and thousands of civilians dead.

Miriam Beckstein, a member of the Clan raised in the United States, is pregnant with the heir to the throne and needs to figure out a way to escape the inevitable retribution. The only clear option is the third known world, New Britain, also embroiled in a civil war. It's Mike Fleming who has the most terrifying piece of information of all -- about the government's true motives. (TOR, Mar., 302 pp., $24.99)

Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs