October 18, 2006

The Family Trade by Charles Stross

woman in modern clothes walking towards medieval castleMiriam is a journalist reporting on corporate startups and venture capital. With the help of research assistant Paulette, she uncovers a massive money laundering operation. Rather than making her career, the discovery gets her fired and possibly stalked. If that weren't enough, her adoptive mother gives her a box of things relating to her birth mother. Among those things is a locket with a strange pattern inside. When Miriam examines it closely she finds herself abruptly transported from her cosy home in Boston to a cold dark wood.

In over her head in two worlds is about the size of it. But Stross's Miriam is a strong swimmer.

I was very distracted in the first few chapters when I wasn't sure whether the setting was England or New England. Mostly it seemed like the US, but there was just enough ambiguity ("Cambridge" doesn't narrow it down for example) and misplaced British terms to keep throwing me off. Also I think I was reading it too sporadically to get into the setting.

Miriam is one of those hyper-competent protagonists who are fun to read about but hard to believe. Fortunately Stross writes a tale with enough mysteries and a fast enough pace to distract you from the implausibility.

Posted by jeffy at October 18, 2006 08:28 PM
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