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Publisher's Summary

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.
Unknown to both factions, however, is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers.
©2005 S. M. Sterling (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Stirling's blending of fiction and history produces a strange, hybrid civilization, in which the confrontation between warlord and mystic is viscerally satisfying." ( Booklist)
"Readers who relish a battle between the forces of light and darkness...are in for a rousing good time." ( Science Fiction Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By JasonK on 10-11-09

Not bad, but not great

If you liked the first book in the series then you will most likely enjoy this second book. If you felt it was so-so then perhaps you might want to skip this series and move to something else; I found it took some determination to get through parts of this book.

One of my pet peeves in any story is repetion of descriptive words, especially when there is a large supply of other words or phrases that could be used. In the first book it seemed every arrow fired and swipe of a sword resulted in "cloven air" or "this cum that" (bookstore cum coffee shop etc.) to explain dual purpose places or things. Thankfully he used a few different ways to describe things here and there.

A great deal of story time has passed between the first book and this one and I wondered if I had picked the third book and not the second, but this is indeed the second. The gap made me wonder what had happened in the story years between. It is as if this book is just a highlight worth noting in the lives of the characters. It isn't a bad thing because listening to day to day and uneventful routines would be quite dull.

At a few points in the story it was hard to determine where or when events were taking place; there was a lengthy flashback (yes flashbacks can be tricky I know) that left me wondering what I had missed is just one example.

The narrator is apparently quite accomplished and that fact leaves me wondering why he tends to repeatedly mispronounce words or if the author has spelled the words this way in the text (teeth bared in great effort pronounced as barred). Either way it the same as fingernails on a chalkbaord. Nobody is perfect of course, that aside, he does a good job with character accents and sound effects (woosh, screech, and so on).

The story is interesting enough to keep me listening, at least through the next book.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Jo on 05-06-15

Poor; but I still listened

Very mixed feelings about this very mixed series of books.

I think they (particularly from this book onwards) are more likely to appeal to fantasy fans or medievalists than sci-fi or post-apocalypse fans.


-Characters you care about (even though some are over stereotyped and others are inconsistent)
-I kinda like the evolution from our world into a fantasy type world, but it won't be everyone's cup of tea
-Strong female characters
-mystery of what caused The Change

- Repetitive in many parts
- long winded, over written and not very well written
- Gratuitous, badly written violence
- Signe turned from a good guy into a bad guy for sake of plot without showing development, harder to buy than even some of the fantasy stuff
- Filler novel, not much plot development in this one
- NARRATOR! He might be fine for reading a normal book or male middle American accents, but why on earth was he chosen for this series?!! He can't do female voices and cannot read different accents, especially those from the British isles to save his life ( trust me I'm British), he mispronounces every British and French place name and his Irish Gaelic sounds massacred.

In conclusion; I wouldn't really recommend someone pick up this series. But having started it I want to find out what happens ( like a bad but mildly addictive TV show) so I will probably get the next book, although a paper copy this time.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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