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Publisher's Summary

Charles Stross builds a new series with Empire Games. Expanding on the world he created in the Family Trade series, a new generation of paratime travelers walk between parallel universes.

The year is 2020. It's 17 years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire, and the newly reconstituted North American Commonwealth is developing rapidly, on course to defeat the French and bring democracy to a troubled world. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence - the paratime espionage agency tasked with catalyzing the Commonwealth's great leap forward - has a problem. For years she's warned everyone: "The Americans are coming." Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis, for their leader, First Man Adam, is dying of cancer, and the vultures are circling.

In another timeline the US has recruited Rita, Miriam's own estranged daughter, to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. But her handlers are keeping information from her.

Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies are fumbling around in the dark, trying to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn't result in a nuclear holocaust. And two women - a mother and her long-lost adopted-out daughter - are about to find themselves on opposite sides of the confrontation.

©2016 Charles Stross (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Empire Games

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

The whole book just feels like setup for the next book. Only for serious fans of the series.

7 people found this helpful

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Interesting setting, poor format

The setting and story are compelling enough, yet I feel the way it is written does not do it any favours. While the idea to use a clueless recruit as the vehicle for introducing an established setting to new readers might be good, when the execution is a mind-numbing set of exposition scenes and ‘Huh? What? Eh?’ by the main protagonist, it really, really gets annoying. The between-chapters setups work poorly in an audio format, but strike me as terribly inelegant overall and not really suitable for this story in any format. It steals momentum and excitement from the main chapters.

A story I finished despite the way it was told, because the setting has merit. Will be researching further books in this setting eventually, but currently I would rather point people to selected Laundry Files and the magnificent Accelerando if they really want to enjoy an on-point Stross.

5 people found this helpful

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fun but...

The jump forward in time is welcome plus new characters. That said, the thick ideological bias is grating, 2d, and predictable... making an otherwise fun story seem wooden and preachy.

2 people found this helpful

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Long awaited and promises more.

Story starts slow and takes a while to build to interesting. Ends on high intrigue so I am looking forward to next book in the series. Hope the wait will not be as long until the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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Roaring good fun

Loved the merchant princes series, this just adds more to it. Great narration by Kate Reading as well... always a delight hearing her voice.

1 person found this helpful

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plot points are often repeated

Great performance. I liked the story and want more. There were sections of the the story that just restated an already often restated event. For example, the kidnapping. As other reviews the series can get very political.

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Good read

I love pretty much everything that Stross writes and this one didn't disappoint. He is good at weaving real world crazy into his fiction.