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It's been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon's Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel's Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the It's been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon's Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel's Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan Mackenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper Mackenzie. Their leadership has saved countless lives.But not every leader has altruistic aspirations. Norman Arminger, medieval scholar, rules the Protectorate. He has enslaved civilians, built an army, and spread his forces from Portland through most of western Washington State. Now he wants the Willamette Valley farmland, and he's willing to wage war to conquer it. And unknown to both factions is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers...


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It's been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon's Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel's Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the It's been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon's Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel's Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan Mackenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper Mackenzie. Their leadership has saved countless lives.But not every leader has altruistic aspirations. Norman Arminger, medieval scholar, rules the Protectorate. He has enslaved civilians, built an army, and spread his forces from Portland through most of western Washington State. Now he wants the Willamette Valley farmland, and he's willing to wage war to conquer it. And unknown to both factions is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers...

30 review for The Protector's War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    The charm of the first book wears off a bit. While the basic story is quite good, I think, this novel suffers the same unfortunate problems of most science fiction. The book is simply flabby: there is a lot of unnecessary stuff, and it would be a tighter, better paced, more exciting story if 1/3 of it were cut out. Stirling has no ear for dialogue whatsoever (and I wish I could find all these writers that feel the need to write accents phonetically and punch them in the face), and his characteri The charm of the first book wears off a bit. While the basic story is quite good, I think, this novel suffers the same unfortunate problems of most science fiction. The book is simply flabby: there is a lot of unnecessary stuff, and it would be a tighter, better paced, more exciting story if 1/3 of it were cut out. Stirling has no ear for dialogue whatsoever (and I wish I could find all these writers that feel the need to write accents phonetically and punch them in the face), and his characterizations are generally clumsy. In addition to that, the cultural aspects of the post-Change world--on which he spends an incredible amount of time--are overwrought to the point of cliches. I doubt there are many Americans of Finnish ancestry (even the crazy ones from the depths of Michigan) who know ten words of the Finnish language, much less ones that would be inclined to shout medieval war-cries, recall the details of Gustavus Adolphus's military campaigns, or quote lengthy passages from the Kalevala. The whole wiccan thing gets really tiresome too, but the thing that rankled me the most is that the whole book comes off as a sort of paean to the pre-modern world, when everyone worked for their food and fought for their kin and blah blah blah, before those stupid useless citified folk came and mucked everything up. I don't think Stirling intends for it to come out that way, but the pervasively smug anti-modernism is irritating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I want badly to like this series, but unfortunately I can't. It reminds me a lot of The Years of Rice and Salt in a way - a grand epic idea, that could be absolutely terrific but fails miserably in the actual story telling. It's really too bad. First, the actual writing is extremely awkward. There's a weird series of flashbacks and forwards, with a nonsensical dream sequence tossed in the middle somewhere. One of my criticisms of the first book in the series was that Stirling did a terrible job o I want badly to like this series, but unfortunately I can't. It reminds me a lot of The Years of Rice and Salt in a way - a grand epic idea, that could be absolutely terrific but fails miserably in the actual story telling. It's really too bad. First, the actual writing is extremely awkward. There's a weird series of flashbacks and forwards, with a nonsensical dream sequence tossed in the middle somewhere. One of my criticisms of the first book in the series was that Stirling did a terrible job of describing battle scenes. I do think he was improved in this area for this book. The Wicca stuff is even more over the top than the previous book, or maybe I just got tired of it. I enjoy learning a bit about religions I knew nothing about. But the constant, "Oh Lord....", "By The Horned Lord.....", "Lady be good!", etc, just wore me out. I just skipped the long passages focusing on the religion. I'm sure not much was missed, since the passages I did read I rarely had any idea what they were talking about. Much of the terminology was never explained. Stirling's writing, and this is a criticism for nearly all fantasy writers, lacks subtlety. I don't know why these writers feel the need to bludgeon their readers over the head with the same developments. We get it - those two are flirting (awkwardly), that guy doesn't like being called Lord, that guy is really evil, etc, etc. He does cover some interesting societal changes in the first couple books. The ensuing chaos was well done. But the building of a new culture is completely ridiculous. I do agree that in a catastrophe, some fringe beliefs may become more popular. But are we really to believe that thousands of people are going to stop wearing pants and start wearing kilts because guns stop working? That Elvish will become a used language? That people will abandon their prior religion and embrace something as different as Wicca so easily? I realize that this is Science Fiction, and the book develops from the idea of "What if guns and electricity no longer work?" But an explosion in Kilts doesn't seem to me to be a viable answer - pants have proven to be a pretty solid idea. One additional small criticism. The title is the Protector's War. There's no war in this book. I may read the final book in the trilogy, I don't know. I'm a guy that once I've got time invested in something I like to see it through to the end. And like I said, I'm trying really hard to like this series. Stirling deserves credit for developing a wonderful, engaging idea. I'm really hoping he can develop a good book out of it at some point.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    3.5*s knocked up to 4 because the last 100 pages. I liked this second installment better than the first as here we get more in the way of inter tribal / clan disputes and confrontation. Characters are also now starting to become a bit more fleshed out, and it's fun seeing the children start to be introduced into the story as they obviously become a great part of everything later down the road. Plus, we start to see newly formed romantic relationships develop which is well needed here. My complain 3.5*s knocked up to 4 because the last 100 pages. I liked this second installment better than the first as here we get more in the way of inter tribal / clan disputes and confrontation. Characters are also now starting to become a bit more fleshed out, and it's fun seeing the children start to be introduced into the story as they obviously become a great part of everything later down the road. Plus, we start to see newly formed romantic relationships develop which is well needed here. My complaints would be that Stirling's writing is often very wooden, like reading a SAS Survival Manual. But, when describing environmental settings he can be wonderfully lyrical: 'Within it light vanished save for a few lanterns hooked over spearheads, casting flickering illumination upward into the branches, and once glinting suddenly from eyes beside the trail - a fox or coyote, from their green flash and swift flight.' I wish he'd carry more of that throughout the rest of his writing. Also, it is oddly evident that the set up to these first two books is all cherry picked to suit the Celtic theme Stirling wishes to drive home into our skull. Which is cool to read about, since I love Juniper's storyline, but how this band of pagans all just happen upon each other is pretty ridiculous. All of this story is centralized around the rural communities, and I find myself continually hoping to hear more about how the larger cities fared after The Change, and what is going on there (we do get a brief notion, but it is quickly abandoned). All in all, I'd say as much as I kept laying this book aside and coming back to it, when I did, it kept me interested enough to keep going again. I'm indeed looking forward to what happens next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.Aleksandr Wootton

    In the alt-history / near-future Emberverse, The Change has altered certain laws of physics, rendering useless most of the technology undergirding modern civilization. Those who survive the desperate aftermath rebuild as best they can; neo-feudal societies emerge from the rubble. To call this series an indulgence of an SCA or LARP daydream would be simultaneously obvious and a mistake. Stirling brings an extraordinary level of detail to an epic, action-oriented story, not just from history but ec In the alt-history / near-future Emberverse, The Change has altered certain laws of physics, rendering useless most of the technology undergirding modern civilization. Those who survive the desperate aftermath rebuild as best they can; neo-feudal societies emerge from the rubble. To call this series an indulgence of an SCA or LARP daydream would be simultaneously obvious and a mistake. Stirling brings an extraordinary level of detail to an epic, action-oriented story, not just from history but ecology as well, with a wry strand of Tolkienology woven in. His projection from the late-90s (1998 is Change Year One) to a new normal in the mid-00s is thoroughly realized and absorbingly related. Of course, all that detail would give even a crack team of editors trouble, so it's no surprise to find some minor inconsistencies scattered about. The Protector's War has the saga-type feel of A Song of Ice and Fire, and intricacy to match. (If you're looking for something GoT-esque to read next, and you haven't discovered Stirling, the Emberverse might be your next immersive series. Plenty of grit; less gruesome). It's not a perfect book: the plot structure follows parallel parties whose stories eventually join up, but several chapters from the one party's story, covering their journey from the Atlantic to the Oregon coast, seem to have been edited out. Also, Stirling operates under the assumption that the Change would have devastated third-world nations as much as first-world, a scenario I consider less likely than others. Despite said quibbles, Stirling tells a gripping post-apocalyptic tale and I look forward to enjoying the rest of the series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    More interesting than the first book but plotwise not as good. Where this book excels is in seeing various proto goverments growing around The Change; organically and forced. The realization by one of the 'good' characters that he is inadvertently creating a landed gentry but can't really afford to change course is great. As is the faux feudal system by the main villain and how it is forcible changed from history by a current reality. Unfortunately the book it self has only one real happening in More interesting than the first book but plotwise not as good. Where this book excels is in seeing various proto goverments growing around The Change; organically and forced. The realization by one of the 'good' characters that he is inadvertently creating a landed gentry but can't really afford to change course is great. As is the faux feudal system by the main villain and how it is forcible changed from history by a current reality. Unfortunately the book it self has only one real happening in 600 pages; mostly it is build up for the conclusion.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Second in the Emberverse science fiction dystopian series and revolving around three bands of good guys: the Bearkillers, the Mackenzies, and the English contingent. This story's locations encompass England and Oregon. It's been nine years since the EMP hit the world and took out all technological advances. My Take What the Protector's War does is set us up. It describes the various parties' progress and alliances and introduces a new set of characters and starts out most unexpectedly in England. I Second in the Emberverse science fiction dystopian series and revolving around three bands of good guys: the Bearkillers, the Mackenzies, and the English contingent. This story's locations encompass England and Oregon. It's been nine years since the EMP hit the world and took out all technological advances. My Take What the Protector's War does is set us up. It describes the various parties' progress and alliances and introduces a new set of characters and starts out most unexpectedly in England. I must confess to checking the front cover and Goodreads to make sure I was reading a) S.M. Stirling and b) the second book in the Emberverse. It is Stirling, and he introducing a third "group" while providing us with information on how the EMP hit somewhere other than Oregon. Seems that most of Europe is gone except for England, some of the northern reaches of the Scandinavian countries, and parts of Greece, Sicily, and Italy. Tasmania made out all right as well as New Zealand's South Island. Australia wasn't as badly hit as Europe, but it was bad enough. The North Island, well, it's gone. Oh, lord, it is a depressing tale of how England fell apart, what it's come to now, but it is funny when the escaping trio runs into Jamaica Farm and the why of their traditional English smocks. It's incredibly sad as well to read as Nigel remembers the history of Lorings in England. Their loyalty and vigilance for England, especially compared to how they are now rewarded. Signe Havel is definitely NOT pleased that young Rudi is the spitting image of his father. Her husband. Nor does she care that his conception occurred before she and Mike hooked up. She's angry enough that she'll endanger his life and call down Mike's wrath on her while Ken points out what she may well be worried about. Stirling goes on to describe the changes made in their lands in the past nine years. He also notes the development of the "knightly" class as Ken points out the distinctions between those parents/siblings who can afford for a child to gain the skills to become a A-lister. Just as in medieval days, it's the men willing to fight (and win) who will get the land. The more land you have, the more you have to pass out to followers who in turn work your land for you which gives you more time to practice weapon skills. Which means you can gain more land. And that land requires workers in this low-production economy. It's terrifying when the trap Mike and Signe lay turns on them. Most battles are skirmishes between the allies and the Protectorate. Just as deadly, but smaller. But there's a change in these battles, for neither Mike nor Juniper are content to defend. As they are the good guys, most of their battles are successful, and yet every battle has its casualties. One in particular has a couple that make me cry, and it does yield one highly rated bonus. It'll be interesting to see how Matilda changes toward her father, or at least his methods, when she has to spend time with the Mckenzies. I've read a few reviews who dislike Stirling's description of how the EMP affected our world, and I can see their point. However, I have no intention of learning physics, chemistry, or how mechanical things work, so I don't have a problem with this. It's a daring and terrifying escape for Sir Nigel, Alleyne, and Hordle. I don't envy that a'tall, a'tall. Sir Nigel will turn out to have some really good ideas. It'll be fun to see out they work out in the next story. Mike does have an odd grasp of groveling. I like Astrid and Eilir's Dúnedain Rangers, and I think they have a good idea going. It's practical, and I'm curious how it'll play out, especially since Eilir is starting to question her purpose and being with the Dúnedain Rangers. Shee's thinking about a family and children. I'm wondering if this is a set-up for Astrid's death in a future story. Another concern is the new and potentially dangerous competition arises between Astrid and Eilir over Alleyne. Stirling is quite pointed in Alleyne and Hordle voicing concerns about Astrid's sanity, and near as I can tell, Stirling hasn't provided us any action or emotional issues that would have me questioning how scary Astrid is in her obsession with the Lord of the Rings. He makes it sound as if she'll go off the deep end, violently. I agree she's too obsessed with it, almost embarrassingly so, but Stirling has only been telling us this; he hasn't done any show that would make me think it on my own. It sounds more as if Astrid has shoved all her fears and PTSD from that night the EMP hit into her fantasy world. We do get an inside look at the Protector and his "lovely" wife when Sir Nigel and Captain Nobbes arrive. It's a visit that begins with some hesitation and goes downhill. Words of the Protector that don't bear out what one sees. Oh, lol, Liu is really losing it what with Lady Kat picking up the wrong book for Matilda! But I can't believe Juniper, Sir Nigel, or any of them didn't plan for an ambush. A romance is brewing for Juniper, and that ending absolutely sucked!! I have got to know how it turned out, and I'm panting to read A Meeting at Corvallis , 3, after Stirling left me wondering about the results of that ambush and that ceremony for the dead. I can't tell if anyone died or if it's a general ceremony for those who have died in this story or if it's ???? The Story Seems Queen Hallgerda doesn't like the questions Sir Nigel is asking about Parliament and elections, about lifting the Emergency Powers Act. Too bad Charles doesn't care to remember who saved his royal ass when that EMP hit. In Oregon, the Bearkillers and Mckenzies decide to go on the offensive against the Protector. They're tired of simply fighting back. And they manage to acquire one small "bomb", hopefully it will be handy against the Protector's chemical weapons! The Characters Seems I had too many characters and GR cut me off, so I've removed the minor characters. If you want them, see my review on my blog. Oregon Larsdalen and the Bearkillers are… …a mercenary band, a.k.a., the Outfit, which settled on Ken's farm. Their people support a dedicated military group. Michael Havel, a.k.a., Lord Bear, is former Special Forces and was a pilot in the pre-EMP world. Now he's the leader of the Bearkillers and married to Signe Larsson, one of Ken's daughters. Mike and Signe have twin daughters, Mary and Ritva, and a son, young Mike. Astrid Larsson is Signe's sister and still completely caught up in the world of the Lord of the Rings. A world that has caught on with many of the young people. She also wrote the Red Book of Larsdalen, which doesn't half embarrass Mike. Louhi is Mike's dog while Charger is his horse. The one-eyed, one-handed Ken Larsson is their father, a former CEO, who now advises Mike and tinkers with machinery, seeing what he can make work in this new world. He's married to Pam Arnstein, their swordmistress and vet. Vicki is his assistant. Ken's son and Signe's twin, Eric, is Mike's right-hand man. Luanne, Will's daughter, is Eric's wife. Will Hutton began the Change as a horse wrangler, and now he's Mike's left-hand man. Angelica is his wife. The Dúnedain Rangers are… …a troop of young people led by Astrid (she rides Asfaloth) and Eilir (she rides Celebroch). Reuben Hutton is a member and Will's adopted son. Others include Marcie, Donnal, and Kevin Lewis, their best medic. Mithrilwood will become their base camp. The Mackenzies are… …Wiccans who escaped to Juniper's farm — now Dun Juniper — and have taken to the wearing of kilts and renaming themselves Mckenzies. The fortified farms they've established are referred to as Duns. They've grown so much that they have separated into septs: Raven, Wolf, Bear, Coyote, and Elk. (Laurel Wilson and her people are being referred to as the Fluffy Bunnies, F-Bs for short.) The Mckenzies are strong in handcrafts. Juniper Mckenzie is the Chief of the Mckenzies. Rudi is her son — and the unacknowledged son of Lord Bear; his spirit name is Artos. Eilir is her twenty-three-year-old deaf daughter and Astrid's best friend and blood-sister. Cuchlain, Juney's dog, is still alive. Andy and Diana Trethar ran the organic restaurant and food store in Eugene pre-EMP, now they handle the food and cooking for all Dun Juniper. Dennis Martin has become the clan's best brewer as well as their best woodworker, carver, and leatherworker. He also runs the honey-wine operation while his mead is much sought after. From being a genial skeptic, Dennis has also become the High Priest of the Singing Moon. Terry is his stepson and following in his stepfather's footsteps. Jill and Maeve are their other children. Sally is Dennis' wife and the principal for the Dun Juniper high school and Lore-Mistress for the clan as a whole, overseeing the schools and Moon Schools. Juniper reckons it's a good role for Sally as she has all the patience that Judy lacks. Chuck and Judy Barstow were also part of the original core group. He was a gardener and a member of the SCA pre-EMP. He was also High Priest of the Craft. Today he's Lord of the Harvest, a.k.a., Minister of Agriculture and Second Armsman. Judy is the High Priestess of her own Wolf-Star; in her civilian life, she was a nurse and midwife. Their children include Aoife, Daniel, and Sanjay are their adopted children while Tamsin and Chuck, Jr are their children born since the Change. Pywackett is Judy's ancient cat. Alex is Chuck's younger brother and a building contractor. Dun Fairfax was… …the Fairfaxes' farm where the couple were found dead in Dies the Fire , 1. Now Sam Aylward, a former SAS soldier from England whom they rescued in Dies the Fire, and who is now First Armsman, is its lord. Seems he's making a reputation as Aylward the Archer. The Mckenzies were lucky since Sam's pre-EMP pastime was the making of bows and arrows. Sam is married to Melissa, who is accounted a good cook. She's also the High Priestess of Dun Fairfax. I think Edain, the eldest, Tamar, and Richard, a toddler, are Melissa's and Fand is their newborn daughter. Garm and Grip are the dogs. Eleanor is Melissa's mother and a bit bonkers. Her fully functional sister, Aunt Joan, has two children: Harry and Jeanette. Sounds like Billy Hickock may be a good match for Tamar. The former bookseller, Larry Smith, is a shepherd now, and Lurp is his collie. Others at Dun Fairfax include Bob, Alice Dennison, Steve, Jerry, Carl is a former architecture student, Wally, Shane, Deirdre, Allison, and Nancy. Dun Carson Cynthia Carson Mckenzie is one of those who joined later; she commands the escort. Her children include Sean and Niamh with Jack as her husband. Her brother Rowan changed his name to Raymond and is a Dedicant in Wicca who is highly skilled with his ax. The pregnant Joanna is his wife. Morianna is their daughter. Sutterdown is… …a new town the Mckenzies are raising, and it has a vineyard. Tom and Moira Brannigan are the High Priest and Priestess of Sutterdown. Brannigan serves as mayor and does a special ale Dennis thinks is spiked with magic mushrooms. Allies include: University of Corvallis Luther Finney, an old friend of Juniper's, and Captain Jones of the university's militia are from the Corvallis Faculty Senate. Councilor Edward Finney is Luther's son, a logistics specialist in the air force (back in the day) and now a farmer. Pete Jones was a history teaching assistant with an interest in the SCA. Too many with the university group want to placate Arminger and includes Turner and Agnes Kowalski. These last two have some, um, "proposals" for Sutterdown on which Sir Nigel coaches Juniper ahead of time, lol. The Lord Protector is… …a former history professor. Norman Arminger is a vicious dictator who is much too interested in returning to a brutal era of serfs and conquering. His Portland Protective Association is his army. Sandra is his equally vicious wife. Princess Matilda is their young and precious daughter, and only child. Lady Katrina Georges, the princess' physical education tutor, is sent as a "nanny" for Matilda. Salazar and Johnson are Arminger's sparring partners; Conrad Renfrew seems to be a sparring manager(?). Eddie Liu is now Marchwarden Liu and Baron Gervais, serving Arminger. Mack is his giant friend. Jabar Jones was a Blood before the Change, now he's an adherent of Arminger's and Baron of Molalla. Chaka is his young son. Alexei Stavrov had been one of Arminger's original backers; pre-EMP, he'd been a KGB agent, drug smuggler, extortionist, and loan shark. Lord Piotr is his son. Crusher's gang is… …encouraged by Armitrage. Crusher Bailey, a.k.a., Carl Grettir, forces people in the area to spy for him. Arvand Sarian and his family keep the Crossing Tavern. Aram is one of Arvand's sons. Baron Emiliano is buying horses. England The prison of Woburn Abbey Sir Colonel Nigel Loring was once deep in His Majesty's confidence and very popular with the troops. Maude Loring is his beloved wife. Pommers is the horse Loring will have to leave behind. Alleyne Loring ( he has a passion for Tolkien) is Sir Nigel's son and was a childhood companion of Sergeant John Hordle's (a.k.a., Little John), whose father ran a pub close to Tilford Manor, the Lorings' home. The Special Iceland Detachment (SID), Varangians, are irregular troops for Charles and guarding Sir Nigel Loring. The Pride of St. Helens is the last step in the escapeNobbes is the captain, a Tasmanian, who turns out to be a bit too credulous. The British government has… …gone mad with King Charles III as the new ruler of England too greatly influenced by Hallgerda for whom he threw out Camilla. The Cover and Title The cover is a range of browns and oranges into yellow with a man wearing a quiver and clutching a bow who stands atop an abandoned SUV in a a glowing orange field of grasses, looking into a smoky fog of yellows and murky browns. The author's name is in a dark, embossed brown while the title is embossed and blue just below it in a smaller font. The title is something of a misnomer. I picked it up expecting it would address the evil antagonist, provide his perspective, since it is the Protector's War. It's not. I'm guessing that Stirling meant this as the good guys being protectors.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I did not enjoy this book as much as the first one. The Protector's War is the second in the series and I highly recommend reading Dies the Fire before moving on to this book. A little background, the world has been through a Change. This Change meant the end of civilization as most know it. Guns, Electricity and other modern implements no longer work and the world has been thrown back in time to where Bow and Arrow, Sword, and Armor have a place in society. Among the survivors, are Juniper McKe I did not enjoy this book as much as the first one. The Protector's War is the second in the series and I highly recommend reading Dies the Fire before moving on to this book. A little background, the world has been through a Change. This Change meant the end of civilization as most know it. Guns, Electricity and other modern implements no longer work and the world has been thrown back in time to where Bow and Arrow, Sword, and Armor have a place in society. Among the survivors, are Juniper McKenzie and her clan. They are great archers and Wiccans in practice and kind to all they meet. Mike Havel is Lord Bear of the Bearkillers and his outfit act almost like mercenaries. Together, these two groups form an alliance against the Evil Protector and his slaves and barons. This book takes us eight and nine years into the future. Mostly everything has settled down and people are surviving better, but are always on the hunt for more power. This can't be more true of the Protector who wants the Bearkiller's and McKenzie's land for his own. Between going about their lives and fighting little battles here and there, Juniper and Mike must keep everyone together and well. At least Mike has help, Signe his warrior wife and Juniper has her daughter Eilir and precious son Rudi although she longs for her own lover. Across the seas are Nigel Loring, his son, and a friend who have to escape England and its crazy king or be killed. Through fate they end up in the Willamette and view the Protector as just as big a foe as the other's do. They will have to join up if they have any hope of living a peaceful life. Not to mention, Alleyne Loring has caught the eye of both Eilir and Astrid (Havel's sister-in-law). The characters in this novel are a joy to read about. They might be a little unbelievable but I think it makes them interesting. And I can suspend reality for awhile when it comes to Juniper and Mike. I also like Eilir who comes into her own in this book. Astrid on the other hand I don't really care for, she's just annoying to me. Stirling's a good descriptive writer. But that gets him into trouble with this novel. Its titled about a war but there is no war, only small battles and a very long, somewhat boring lead up to the war that is supposedly in the next book. There is also the element of the religion in this book. While I personally don't have a problem with it, it could be disconcerting for some readers. A good way to think of this novel is that instead of Christian fiction, this book could probably be placed square in a genre of Wiccan fiction. I enjoyed reading about the different rites but it may not be to everyone's taste. This is probably an important book for information, but for excitement of reading it is merely average. I look forward to reading more of the series to see if they improve and bring back what I liked in Dies the Fire. The Protector's War Copyright 2006 591 pages Review by M. Reynard 2011

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thee_ron_clark

    Blessed be. All the engines stopped working and Wiccans and Ren Faire people have inherited the earth. OK. Sounds silly and I am poking some fun at it, but I did like it. First of all, I purchased both the first and second book in this series and read the second one first by accident. Hey. I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed. Not on this site anyway. The basic concept is that something happened to the planet and now explosions cannot happen. This includes firearms and combustion eng Blessed be. All the engines stopped working and Wiccans and Ren Faire people have inherited the earth. OK. Sounds silly and I am poking some fun at it, but I did like it. First of all, I purchased both the first and second book in this series and read the second one first by accident. Hey. I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed. Not on this site anyway. The basic concept is that something happened to the planet and now explosions cannot happen. This includes firearms and combustion engines of all sorts. This drives humanity into a second dark age. Governments fall, people die, vegetation and animal life gets out of hand, and other things happen. The majority of this story takes place in the northwest portion of what used to be the United States nine years after this change takes place. People are banding together. Some want to simply survive and hold what they have been working for while others want to conquer and rule. A conqueror has his eyes on the territory to the south of his lands and the people of those lands are trying to ally themselves with one another to stop this from happening or to fight them off if it does. Now, the premise and the action are pretty cool. It also contains a number of rich and unique characters. The book lost me in the idea that nine years after this world-changing event, not only would people begin worshiping old gods and going Wiccan but they would begin dressing in medieval apparel as well. I mean, who decides that pants are no longer a good idea and we need to revert to kilts in our day to day lives? Take it for what it is. Beyond the parts that I felt were silly, I was left wanting to read the next book in the series...... After I read the first one of course.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    The title is very misleading. It promises a war between the Protector of Portland and Clan MacKenzie and her allies including the Bearkillers, but it is merely a series of skirmishes leading me to a climactic cliffhanger of a skirmish. Three new characters are introduced on this book Nigel and his Alleyne and their companion John Hordle fugitives from King Charles's England (yep the real life of Prince of Wales is king). These three men are former SAS and friends of Juniper MacKenzie's first arms The title is very misleading. It promises a war between the Protector of Portland and Clan MacKenzie and her allies including the Bearkillers, but it is merely a series of skirmishes leading me to a climactic cliffhanger of a skirmish. Three new characters are introduced on this book Nigel and his Alleyne and their companion John Hordle fugitives from King Charles's England (yep the real life of Prince of Wales is king). These three men are former SAS and friends of Juniper MacKenzie's first armsman Sam Aylward. The scenes in England with these three characters fleeing Charlie's wrath, the flashbacks in Portland when they meet up with Arminger, and the potential romances between these three and others amongst the MacKenzie/Bearkiller crowd are the most interesting. Sadly outside of the battles, the book is a bridge novel with some good character building but just drags too much with descriptions of meals, hunting, and alliance building. It took about 10 days to read it because I was struggling to press on through the less action oriented sections. I do hope the next book is faster paced and won't give up the series primarily because I like the characters.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon Mogensen

    This one was a huge let down from the first. The Wiccan bit is over the top. It could be excused in the first novel as a tool to introduce how things have changed, but enough already. I am pretty patient, so its a poor book when I have to skip over pseudo religious drivel that does little to really capture the mood or the moment. The over emphasis on medieval England and lack of emphasis on local societies that would more likely have evolved makes it less believable. And the ending takes a huge This one was a huge let down from the first. The Wiccan bit is over the top. It could be excused in the first novel as a tool to introduce how things have changed, but enough already. I am pretty patient, so its a poor book when I have to skip over pseudo religious drivel that does little to really capture the mood or the moment. The over emphasis on medieval England and lack of emphasis on local societies that would more likely have evolved makes it less believable. And the ending takes a huge departure from believability. Spoiler. Five individuals with special forces training and not one of them has anything to say about moving their "ace in the hole" hostage out from a fortified position to open ground among a large group of unknowns? And do so after telling Mr. Super Baddie exactly when and where they will be moving? With a light escort? And let a blatantly obvious trained spy for Mr. Baddie amongst them? And then let the spy dictate the conditions of where the hostage sleeps? AAAAAAAAARGH!!! Nigel Loring is supposed to be counter terrorism, not a moron.

  11. 5 out of 5

    J L's Bibliomania

    While flawed, Dies the Fire (Emberverse Book 1), is one of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels. The same cannot be said for the the sequel. The Protector's War (Emberverse Book 2) is set 8 or 9 years after The Change re-worked the laws of nature and plunged the earth back to a semi-agrarian existence. While it was nice to spend time with Clan MacKenzie and the Bearkiller Outfit, and I like the new characters from England, the way S.M. Stirling skips back and forth through time as he bounces betwe While flawed, Dies the Fire (Emberverse Book 1), is one of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels. The same cannot be said for the the sequel. The Protector's War (Emberverse Book 2) is set 8 or 9 years after The Change re-worked the laws of nature and plunged the earth back to a semi-agrarian existence. While it was nice to spend time with Clan MacKenzie and the Bearkiller Outfit, and I like the new characters from England, the way S.M. Stirling skips back and forth through time as he bounces between the various parties is infuriating. The individual glorious moments that are the strength of this series was outweighed by how hard the story is to follow. The Protector's War ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger, and I'll probably read A Meeting at Corvallis (Emberverse #3), which finishes the original arc about the early survivors and their nemesis The Protector of Portland, but I don't expect that I'll go much further into the 14+ books in this series any time soon.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The first book was mediocre. Interesting enough to get me to read the 2nd book but this one was not very good. There was so much exposition. Nothing ever really felt immediate or risky. I'm mostly just going to be finishing the series because I'm type A like that. The first book was mediocre. Interesting enough to get me to read the 2nd book but this one was not very good. There was so much exposition. Nothing ever really felt immediate or risky. I'm mostly just going to be finishing the series because I'm type A like that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    NormaCenva

    Improved with the second reading! Notes on the GraphicAudio version - this kind of astoundingly amazing voice work makes everything better! What an amazing way to bring stories to life, WOW!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zombie_Phreak

    Okay so the first book was a piece of literature that I liked, but this book was just something that was really annoying and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot and thinking, "Oh come on!" or "You have GOT to be kidding me!" So first let's hit a few general things that were annoying and then later we'll go into spoilers. First of all, this book is titled, "The Protector's War," but the Protector, the title character is barely in this book! I mean it! He shows up on page 410 of this 591 page book Okay so the first book was a piece of literature that I liked, but this book was just something that was really annoying and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot and thinking, "Oh come on!" or "You have GOT to be kidding me!" So first let's hit a few general things that were annoying and then later we'll go into spoilers. First of all, this book is titled, "The Protector's War," but the Protector, the title character is barely in this book! I mean it! He shows up on page 410 of this 591 page book. On top of that he's only in the book for like 30 pages! And what's worse is there is no war in this book! There's just three minor skirmishes, one of which wasn't even with the Protector's men, it was with some bandits. So basically the whole title is a lie. Descriptions of things in this book go on for far too long. When the author is describing something like a horse, he goes so far into detail that it can take an entire paragraph just to tell the reader what the horse looks like, when it could be done in one sentence. Watch I can re-write one of these paragraph long descriptions right now: "He was riding a tall brown Arabian horse with a black saddle." There, wasn't that better than reading 2-3 paragraphs describing everything about the horse down to what kind of mud is on it's hooves? If this happened once or twice I could let it go, but this goes on for the ENTIRE book! If the author cut out all these unnecessary descriptions he could probably cut like 40-50 pages out of the book and save paper and money. Every time you see someone singing, which is indicated with italics and a separate paragraph, just skip it, you're seriously not missing anything important to the plot. Also I just realized that it's a good thing that no one in this brave new world needs any daily medication for anything like diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, heart conditions, schizophrenia, etc. Also no one in this world seems to need any type of glasses. Shouldn't they be seeing more outbreaks of the mumps, measles and small pox now that no new children can be vaccinated against those diseases? Seriously, the only mention of any disease was in the last book where they briefly mentioned there were some outbreaks of the Black Plague during the first year of the change. Yep, everyone is always in picture perfect health and has no biological imperfections whatsoever. Plus there are no straight up white people in this book. Everyone here is either from another country, has exotic features, speaks some obscure foreign language, remembers lessons from the "old country," or has a faint foreign accent, plus they all have medieval skill sets and skills with weapons from centuries ago. Just once I'd like them to meet someone who was just an average Joe. It'd be nice to meet someone who says, "Hi I'm Steve Jones, I'm a white person, I was a cashier at a grocery store before the Change happened. No I don't know how to use a long bow, I don't know how to use a sword, I can't make chainmail, and I've never ridden a horse before." Nope, all those people seem to be either dead or with the Protector's people. The Protector and his wife are just very strange people and the way they are written is just strange. I get it, they are the antagonists for this book, they are the bad guys. But not only are they the bad guys, they seem to know they are evil and they just revel in it! Several times they mention just how horrible and terrible each other are and that they love one another for it. Who seriously has conversations like this? "Oh darling I saw how you took the slave who spit on you into the dungeon and made him watch while you slit his wife's throat right in front of him, you're so horribly wicked that I almost can't stand it! I knew there was a reason I married you!" Okay that isn't in the book but they seriously have a few conversations like this. It's just not very realistic. Okay at this point I can't go anymore into detail without ruining the book for you, so I am going to put my spoiler alerts here. You've been warned, if you haven't finished the book yet, stop reading now! ***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Astrid in this book is just really annoying, she gets to run around with her horse, bow and sword doing basically whatever she wants because now she can live her dream of being in Middle Earth and not have any responsibilities. Meanwhile everyone else is working in the fields, doing construction, learning a trade and basically contributing to society. Frankly if it was up to me I'd take her books away, take her horse away, her sword, her bow, and just to drive home the point that this isn't a game, I'd probably burn the books and force her to watch while I did it. I'd then make her go work in the fields or on a construction team doing back breaking labor for 14 hours a day for like 6 months to work her obsession with elves, dwarves, magic, and Middle Earth out of her system. Then I'd sit her down and ask her if she's done with all her childhood foolishness and if she's ready to re-join the military. If she said yes then I'd tell her this is serious. This is not Middle Earth where if you die, Gandalf just waves his staff and suddenly you're better again or you start over at the beginning of the level. People can DIE here and that you need to get your head in the game. If she said no, then I'd send her back to work in the fields for the rest of her days. I don't care how good she is with a bow or a sword or on horseback. Having someone who is that deadly with those weapons running around thinking they are living in a fantasy novel is NOT safe, and is more of a danger than they are an asset to your military. Juniper is also just plain annoying and naïve. Several times she goes and tries to "cast a spell." And each time, surprise, surprise, IT DOESN'T WORK! She tries to cast a spell to give her group stealth so a lookout won't see them, it doesn't work and they are spotted. Another time her son Rudi is captured and she tries to "curse" the man who has him, and big surprise, nothing happens. A third time she is talking to some bandits who are intruding on her territory and she curses them if they ever come back, it's almost the equivalent of her waving her fingers at them and going, "Boogie boogie boogie!" Or "Wooo!!!" The bandits basically laugh in her face, flip her the bird and take off. (In the next book they come back and kidnap her kid and nothing happens, so yet again her "magic" doesn't work). How many more times does she have to try to "cast a spell" and have nothing happen and have people laugh in her face before she gets it through her head that magic isn't real, she isn't really a "witch," and that she doesn't have magic powers? Something else that she does that is annoying is that she calls Ellier "My heart," as a nickname. Who calls their kid that? Seriously, when is the last time you or someone you knew called their kid that? Plus later she goes on to call Rudi, her son, the same thing. So what happened to Ellier? Is she just now chopped liver? I don't know about you but if MY parent started calling someone else MY nickname that they gave me as a child, I'd be pretty angry! A new character is introduced, his name is "Sir Nigel." And he is a broken man, his wife was killed while they were escaping from England. Juniper finds this out and suddenly she wants him. I am so sick and tired of women in works of fiction wanting to get with broken men so they can "fix" them. I mean can I just once, JUST ONCE read a book where a woman says, "I know what I want in a partner. I want someone who is handsome, intelligent, mentally stable and has a stable financial situation." Seriously, is that too much to ask? Lord Bear is a pretty cool character and only does one thing that annoyed me in this book. In the last book he hooked up with Juniper and as a result she got pregnant and had a son, "Rudi." Nine years later Mike's wife Signe finds out and she's mad at him because he slept with Juniper when they were dating. Mike is baffled as to why and then he's angry at her because, "Well we weren't official at the time!" Moron!!! Even if you weren't, "Official," you were still hitting on her, showing interest in her and she was showing it back and you were both flirting. In the real world women don't like when you hook up with other women even if your relationship with them is just in its infancy stages. Later in the book there is a sort of fair and everyone gets together to have fun, sell things and to exchange ideas. There is a guy there selling horses and it turns out one of the horses he is trying to sell is a violent, dangerous and unpredictable creature who should honestly be put down because it could probably kill someone. Three people say very loudly that the horse is dangerous and shouldn't be ridden by anyone and they wouldn't pay 5 cents for it. But then little Rudi, (Who was standing right there and heard them say this), decides it's some spirit from some fairy realm and that he wants to go ride it. Signe makes an off-handed comment that it's a great idea that he goes to try and ride this dangerous animal, and he runs into the pen with the horse while everyone else yells at him to get away from it. I honestly was hoping the horse would kick him in the face or something to drive home the point to everyone there that this isn't Middle Earth, the horse isn't a magic spirit and that it's a dangerous animal that should be put to sleep. But of course the horse doesn't hurt him and accepts him as his new rider because he's an innocent, is pure of heart, believes in the heart of the cards, or whatever, and suddenly all is well. But Mike is furious at Signe for, "Trying to kill my kid." Moron, she didn't try to "kill your kid." She made an off-handed comment that the kid was too stupid to know wasn't meant to be taken seriously. If anything he should be mad at Juniper for filling Rudi's head full of witches, fairies, magic, elves and other garbage instead of teaching him to stay away from dangerous animals and to listen when adults tell him to do things. Especially when THREE PEOPLE STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HIM told him that the animal was dangerous and a "man-killer." He's 9 years old, that's old enough to have common sense and a sense of self-preservation. Signe is not to blame, the blame lies with Rudi and his naïve mother, Juniper. Oh on page 289, what exactly is a "prono" store? No spell check for this book I take it? One last thing and I'll wrap this up. Toward the end of the book the Protector's daughter is captured on McKenzie territory and they now have their trump card that can end the coming war before it even starts. Simply tell him, perform an act of military aggression against us and your kid pays the price. But of course the Mckenzies have their heads shoved so far up Tolkein and Silver Ravenwolf's butts they manage to screw it up and people are killed in a botched rescue attempt to rescue the kid. ***END SPOILERS*** ***END SPOILERS*** ***END SPOILERS*** So in the end this book was really annoying and it was a chore to get through. The only thing that saved it was Mike and his Bear Killers. They were awesome!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    I like this series and am still reading them. This one really got tedious with all the laborious emphasis on the phonetic spellings of the way people spoke, the details given each and every time someone used a weapon or saddled a horse or killed someone..... and all the ellipses and semicolons. Still a great idea and some interesting characters- but all those details distracted me from the story. It also got repetitive to have certain ideas reiterated word-for-word from several characters, for e I like this series and am still reading them. This one really got tedious with all the laborious emphasis on the phonetic spellings of the way people spoke, the details given each and every time someone used a weapon or saddled a horse or killed someone..... and all the ellipses and semicolons. Still a great idea and some interesting characters- but all those details distracted me from the story. It also got repetitive to have certain ideas reiterated word-for-word from several characters, for example, having many different characters think of or speak of Astrid as 'barking mad'. I got that the first few times and why would they all think of her the same way in the exact same words? Research to your heart's content, but only share what is needed for the story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Trey

    I enjoyed this one much more than the first book. The action was definitely upped in this book as the tedious farming bits that were so important in book 1 are everyday affairs now that we're 9 years post-change. Still a bit too much of the Wiccan ceremony stuff, The author is obviously really into/knowledgeable about this stuff but I hope it doesn't come into play more down the line because I have definitely been skimming those parts quite a bit. I enjoyed this one much more than the first book. The action was definitely upped in this book as the tedious farming bits that were so important in book 1 are everyday affairs now that we're 9 years post-change. Still a bit too much of the Wiccan ceremony stuff, The author is obviously really into/knowledgeable about this stuff but I hope it doesn't come into play more down the line because I have definitely been skimming those parts quite a bit.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Josie

    The first half of this book was a little difficult to get through, the pacing was a bit slow and I couldn't see where the story was headed. I'm glad I stuck with it as it does pull together and make sense, it's cleverly written to disguise where things are headed and the big reveals are worth the wait! If not for the slow start this would be a 4 star The first half of this book was a little difficult to get through, the pacing was a bit slow and I couldn't see where the story was headed. I'm glad I stuck with it as it does pull together and make sense, it's cleverly written to disguise where things are headed and the big reveals are worth the wait! If not for the slow start this would be a 4 star

  18. 4 out of 5

    Herman Gigglethorpe

    I liked this book, but some of Stirling's issues as a writer come out here. S.M. Stirling is a good worldbuilder, but the details can sometimes overwhelm the plot. At times I was thinking "Enough about Wiccan harvest festivals! Get on with the story!" *SPOILERS* I could tolerate how lucky the characters were in the first book because only the most fortunate and most skilled people could survive the initial Change anyway. However, as Mike Havel says, you can't roll sixes forever. The Lorings coming I liked this book, but some of Stirling's issues as a writer come out here. S.M. Stirling is a good worldbuilder, but the details can sometimes overwhelm the plot. At times I was thinking "Enough about Wiccan harvest festivals! Get on with the story!" *SPOILERS* I could tolerate how lucky the characters were in the first book because only the most fortunate and most skilled people could survive the initial Change anyway. However, as Mike Havel says, you can't roll sixes forever. The Lorings coming to save the Bearkillers in the middle of a battle (when they have never met before) is a blatant deus ex machina. Sorry Juniper, of course there are no coincidences if the events are controlled by the author! :) The main characters are still pretty fun and capable, and it's nice to find out what happened in the rest of the Change world. The author has a good sense of humor, and you can find some sly cultural references in here. The concept of "Mad King Charlie" also makes me laugh. Who knew the silly crown prince of Britain could become a credible threat to the characters? Although this book is called The Protector's War, it seems more like The Protector's Skirmishes. The war doesn't officially start until the end, so the reader may feel that large parts of the book are filler. Norman Arminger is a far more fleshed out fantasy villain than Galbatorix could ever hope to be. He's practical enough that he could be seen as a necessary evil (i.e. more would have died in the Change without him), but you still see him hiring thugs and grinding his citizens into the dirt. He also has some dry wit, and he's kooky enough to use the Eye of Sauron as his symbol! He's also not overpowering enough that the author forces him to do nothing until the heroes show up, and most importantly YOU SEE NORMAN's PERSPECTIVE. I rolled my eyes a bit when the North Africans were called "Moors". Isn't that more of a historical term? I had fun with this book, but it had enough problems that I can't give it a 4 or 5. Maybe A Meeting At Corvallis might be better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    To make a bad analogy (which seems to be my M.O. these days), reading this book was like watching the 3rd season of Veronica Mars. I like (and care about) many of the characters and the set-up of this series is fascinating, but the storyline . . . hmmm. In this alt universe, some mysterious Change happens in 1999--a blinding flash of light and suddenly any device that relied on electricity or even combustion (gun powder/gas engines) doesn't work. As one might expect, the world is plunged into ch To make a bad analogy (which seems to be my M.O. these days), reading this book was like watching the 3rd season of Veronica Mars. I like (and care about) many of the characters and the set-up of this series is fascinating, but the storyline . . . hmmm. In this alt universe, some mysterious Change happens in 1999--a blinding flash of light and suddenly any device that relied on electricity or even combustion (gun powder/gas engines) doesn't work. As one might expect, the world is plunged into chaos and the first novel in this series explored the aftermath through a series of characters in and around Oregon. This novel picks up eight years later--our heroes, Juniper Mackenzie and Mike Havel, have both established communities in the Williamette Valley of Oregon--and are working together to resist the Protectorate, a much more fuedal organization run with an iron fist by Norman Arminger, a former History professor, who controls Portland and the surrounding area. In this world, those SCA types suddenly have knowledge that is not just useful but vital and a new generation is beginning to come of age in this new world. Compared to the first novel, the pacing of this story is glacial and I got bogged down in the huge multitude of characters and in all the detail (even though I found some of it fascinating). It takes a lot of skill to create a "world" that is rich in specifics but where the story "moves" in a way that keeps you reading. I slogged through this because I wanted to see where it was going but truthfully, it made me appreciate the plotting of Stephen King (who also handles mutliple viewpoint more skillfully). I'll give the third one a try but if it reads like this, I might give it up.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ricky

    This sequel to Dies The Fire picks up the story about eight years later, in 2006. Actually, in-universe the calendar has been reset so it's now Change Year Eight, but the chapter headings show the dates by our system for clarity's sake. The story gets a little more complicated - in a good way - for two reasons. One, there's now a sizable group of British and Icelandic military men who manage to find their way to the Willamette Valley (don't ask). Two, there's a more defined villainous presence, i This sequel to Dies The Fire picks up the story about eight years later, in 2006. Actually, in-universe the calendar has been reset so it's now Change Year Eight, but the chapter headings show the dates by our system for clarity's sake. The story gets a little more complicated - in a good way - for two reasons. One, there's now a sizable group of British and Icelandic military men who manage to find their way to the Willamette Valley (don't ask). Two, there's a more defined villainous presence, in the form of Norman Arminger, former medieval scholar and now the Lord Protector (or enslaver) of much of the Pacific Northwest. Just goes to show, not all RenFaire types are meant to be the good guys. On my review of the previous book, I expressed my prediction that I would start to get bored of the Emberverse series the same way I did with The Dark Tower, and would quit after book 3 or so. This prediction is proving wrong so far, as I find The Protector's War no worse than its predecessor. But it's no better, either. Stirling's writing is still plagued with a few of the same distractions and flaws that irked me in Dies The Fire. Thankfully, he stops using "cum" (as in, "garage-cum-machine-shop"), and the gratuitous uses of Irish curses from Juniper Mackenzie and Finnish battle cries from Mike Havel are reduced (but not by much). It's still not quite enough for me to really recommend it to anyone who wants a world-class reading experience.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leah Lumsden

    Love love love this book. First one I read by this author. Now I have a bunch of his stuff. It takes place several years after the world went to sh*t (see my review of the first book for more details) The people who have survived in the cities are basically warlords who have survived off the hardwork and misery of others. They are expanding as all people with power are prone to do. There are several storylines (characters) that this book follows. Strong real female characters who arent simpering Love love love this book. First one I read by this author. Now I have a bunch of his stuff. It takes place several years after the world went to sh*t (see my review of the first book for more details) The people who have survived in the cities are basically warlords who have survived off the hardwork and misery of others. They are expanding as all people with power are prone to do. There are several storylines (characters) that this book follows. Strong real female characters who arent simpering, useless or oversexualized. Nice change for me to read about. The men are real too, they arent all brave cowboys with no flaws and huge... assets. Or maybe they do.. its not a picture book tho;) Anyway, the groups or 'clans' as they are aptly named have been living off the land for several years now. Made up of gunsmiths, historians (comes in handy), vetrinarians, midwives, pharmacists, farmers, etc. If you have a skill thats useful, great. If you dont you'll soon learn one. Alot of the stuff that survived from the world before is now running low or broken and not able to be repaired. People are slowly but surely (and in the case of two clans) are doing very well living off the land and doing it the old fashioned way. The book ends on the cusp of war because the warlords from the neighboring cities are tryign to expand their territory and the two large clans will have none of it. Great read! I was sad when the book ended and hungry for more. That doesnt often happen.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Miller

    The story picks up roughly ten years after the phenomenon that everyone has come to call "the Change." Things have more or less settled down in western Oregon. Tension continues, however, between the Protectorate and the other groups of the Willamette Valley. While the title suggests a war, the book deals mainly with events and developments leading up to such. We meet new friends and foes. Some of the old ones die. We see several types of communities rise up out of the ashes of the Digital Age, w The story picks up roughly ten years after the phenomenon that everyone has come to call "the Change." Things have more or less settled down in western Oregon. Tension continues, however, between the Protectorate and the other groups of the Willamette Valley. While the title suggests a war, the book deals mainly with events and developments leading up to such. We meet new friends and foes. Some of the old ones die. We see several types of communities rise up out of the ashes of the Digital Age, which is one of the things I find most fascinating about the series. The contrast between the new traditions, as well as the ways in which the new clashes with the old, as well as the new interpretations of what we today consider "the old" is interesting and sometimes entertaining. (Picture. for example, the Oregon State University football stadium, but with soldiers instead of football players, and with cheerleaders calling chants dealing with ACTUAL fighting, rather than the surrogate warfare that's typically the role of sports in the modern world.) The characters and the world have grown into themselves, as it were. But the struggle for long-term survival persists. There's a good balance between tastes of the duldrums of everyday life, the tension and headache of politics, and the excitement, terror, and horror of pre-gunpowder warfare--the latter of which ware more or less skirmishes, but still brutal enough.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda Isakson

    Another fabulous chapter to the Emberverse I, or commonly referred to as the "Dies the Fire", Trilogy. Hilarious, at times, sad, clever, thrilling and un-put-downable. I've become so addicted to the character's stories, that I never want the story to end. Additionally, I really like the way Stirling composes the story with flashbacks of incidences interjected into the present. The MacKenzies and the BearKillers are still trying to deal with the increasing ferocity of the Lord Protectors advances Another fabulous chapter to the Emberverse I, or commonly referred to as the "Dies the Fire", Trilogy. Hilarious, at times, sad, clever, thrilling and un-put-downable. I've become so addicted to the character's stories, that I never want the story to end. Additionally, I really like the way Stirling composes the story with flashbacks of incidences interjected into the present. The MacKenzies and the BearKillers are still trying to deal with the increasing ferocity of the Lord Protectors advances into unclaimed territories and his bands of minions that continue to terrorize travelers. Juniper and Mike's son is now 9 years old and promises to be a most formidable man. Sir Nigel, his son and friend are now brought into the fray; old SES friends of Sam that prove their weight in gold in information and combat prowess. While most of the story revolves around Sir Nigel's escape from England to Oregon, MacKenzie and Bearkiller skirmises with the Lord Protector's men, Mike and Signe's small marital strife's, and Astrid's and Eilir's continuing relationship and the establishment of their Rangers group, it's what happens in the last hundred pages that really turn this book into such a compulsively addicting read as to make one call in sick to work so you can keep your nose glue to the pages. Excellent!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Stirling's characters are a bit clumsy and often interchangeable, and I still don't buy that so many people would suddenly drop everything and become Wiccans so quickly. Romance is particularly oddly written - if any one character ever shows remote attraction to another, you can guarantee the attraction is mutual. The title is also misleading - the titular war doesn't begin until the last 20 pages, and I assume the rest will play out in the concluding volume of the trilogy. Stirling's attitude in Stirling's characters are a bit clumsy and often interchangeable, and I still don't buy that so many people would suddenly drop everything and become Wiccans so quickly. Romance is particularly oddly written - if any one character ever shows remote attraction to another, you can guarantee the attraction is mutual. The title is also misleading - the titular war doesn't begin until the last 20 pages, and I assume the rest will play out in the concluding volume of the trilogy. Stirling's attitude in this book can be summed up as pining for the good 'ol days, before computers and technology ruined everything for us. The book also takes some odd structural turns, suddenly becoming a series of flashbacks for a little while in the later half, then switching back to the main action again. That said, I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic survival stories, and seeing everyone retrofit the modern world back into a pre-industrial one is kind of fun. I really enjoyed the glimpses of the world beyond US shores that we got this time around.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Oh dear! I had a definite feeling of 'been there, done that' with this book. I don't know anything about the enigmatically named S.M. Stirling but this had promise for me when I started it but it just became dull, dull ,dull. There was too much description of how the post-change people re-kindled a pseudo-mediaeval society, and an English/Scottish one at that, even in the USA and too much dialogue between characters with Tolkienesque overtones. There was some action but not enough compared to the Oh dear! I had a definite feeling of 'been there, done that' with this book. I don't know anything about the enigmatically named S.M. Stirling but this had promise for me when I started it but it just became dull, dull ,dull. There was too much description of how the post-change people re-kindled a pseudo-mediaeval society, and an English/Scottish one at that, even in the USA and too much dialogue between characters with Tolkienesque overtones. There was some action but not enough compared to the descriptive sections and some nice ideas that just got subdued by the author's desire to expound on his/her knowledge of weaponry and armour. It even had songs in it for goodness sake! Mr. Tolkien can get away with that but not many others can and this was irritating, for me anyway. This was the second in the series and maybe the first was better (the blurb certainly makes it appear so) but I can't really recommend anyone to buy it but if you can borrow the first one try that maybe and see how you get on.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    The second book of the Emberverse series picks up 8 years after the first book. The sides in the war have become more firmed up and they are heading toward conflict. The author had one more thread to bring in the story before the big dust up so a detour to England and the last three central characters are intoduced and about two thirds the story is about who they are and how they get to the Willamette valley and meet up with the other central characters and become part of the alliance against th The second book of the Emberverse series picks up 8 years after the first book. The sides in the war have become more firmed up and they are heading toward conflict. The author had one more thread to bring in the story before the big dust up so a detour to England and the last three central characters are intoduced and about two thirds the story is about who they are and how they get to the Willamette valley and meet up with the other central characters and become part of the alliance against the Protoector. This is a bit of a digression but I liked the characters so much and their back story that it is worth the time taken to know their story. Then the final third of the book gets the main plot threads moving forward again with some surprising final page turners to set up book three.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ren

    The Wiccan nonsense, c'mon! I wish Juniper would just die, one of the most annoying characters I have ever read (and that's right up there with Sookie Stackhouse). Not sure if I am going to be able to continue this series. It got to the point where I was skipping page after page (always when from Junipers perspective). There's just *so* much unnecessary text in this book. And the constant prayers to wiccan gods or thoughts on the gods and thanking the gods or sacrificing to the gods and oh. muh. The Wiccan nonsense, c'mon! I wish Juniper would just die, one of the most annoying characters I have ever read (and that's right up there with Sookie Stackhouse). Not sure if I am going to be able to continue this series. It got to the point where I was skipping page after page (always when from Junipers perspective). There's just *so* much unnecessary text in this book. And the constant prayers to wiccan gods or thoughts on the gods and thanking the gods or sacrificing to the gods and oh. muh. gawd. We get it. I like how he was trying to use it to bring magic into the book, you could see the hint of it in the first one. Do it already. As Mike Havel likes to say ever-other-sentence, "Christ Jesus!" ~rolls eyes~

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Doran

    4/10, would not bang. The original charming circlejerkery of the original book in which wiccans pat re-enactors on the back and vice versa quickly wears thin when you realise all of the vapid characters' attempts at personality are a tenuous veil at best for the underlying power fantasy of the author. This book being so far removed from the first chronologically doesn't even have the exciting benefit of initial survival and "Ordinary people in extraordinary situations", to quote Hitchcock, that d 4/10, would not bang. The original charming circlejerkery of the original book in which wiccans pat re-enactors on the back and vice versa quickly wears thin when you realise all of the vapid characters' attempts at personality are a tenuous veil at best for the underlying power fantasy of the author. This book being so far removed from the first chronologically doesn't even have the exciting benefit of initial survival and "Ordinary people in extraordinary situations", to quote Hitchcock, that draws most people to this kind of book. Only read if bored or desperate to indulge in a very specific esoteric power fantasy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Quinton

    This was the third or fourth time I have read this book. I really absolutely love the series and of course each of the books individually. Now that I am very familiar with the series, I know what parts are good and when I read it I skip over everything relating to the English until they are encountered by Mike and Signe. I do not recommend this to first-time readers. It is one of those cases of when you know a story well enough you know what parts you like. Some day I may write a better, more spec This was the third or fourth time I have read this book. I really absolutely love the series and of course each of the books individually. Now that I am very familiar with the series, I know what parts are good and when I read it I skip over everything relating to the English until they are encountered by Mike and Signe. I do not recommend this to first-time readers. It is one of those cases of when you know a story well enough you know what parts you like. Some day I may write a better, more specific review. I will, with 100% certainty, read it again at some point, and perhaps will write one then.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    this is a reread ... read it first when it was published some ten years ago. First of all, I get the whole |it's too unrealistic" thing but you have to remember that this is the story of the survivors. The survivor's story is always going to be unrealistic ... that's kind of the point. Secondly, the complaints about overdoing the Wiccan thing ... it doesn't bother me as I'm mostly pagan myself. I do chuckle occasionally but then remind myself how much I love(d) reading Tolkien as a teen. Nobody this is a reread ... read it first when it was published some ten years ago. First of all, I get the whole |it's too unrealistic" thing but you have to remember that this is the story of the survivors. The survivor's story is always going to be unrealistic ... that's kind of the point. Secondly, the complaints about overdoing the Wiccan thing ... it doesn't bother me as I'm mostly pagan myself. I do chuckle occasionally but then remind myself how much I love(d) reading Tolkien as a teen. Nobody blames Tolkien for "overdoing" it ... at least not loudly. My only real complaint is that this is an "in-between" book ... doesn't move the story along very much. But still .. I like it a lot.

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