Juniper Mackenzie was singing and playing guitar in a pub when her small Oregon town was thrust into darkness. Cars refused to start. Phones were silent. And when an airliner crashed, no sirens sounded and no fire trucks arrived. Now, taking refuge in her family's cabin with her daughter and a growing circle of friends, Juniper is determined to create a farming community to benefit the survivors of this crisis.
But even as people band together to help one another, others are building armies for conquest.
©2004 Stirling; (P)2008 Tantor
"The novel's dual themes - myth and technology -should appeal to both fantasy and hard SF readers as well as to techno-thriller fans." (Publishers Weekly)
This is a very captivating series and the first book "Dies the Fire" is definitely an intelligent, thoughtful, and action-packed start. The narrator of the audio-book, Todd McLaren is excellent! He has a very steady voice and keeps track of the unique inflections he applies to the multitude of characters in the book. He is my favorite audio-book narrator to date.
I love this book and the entire series, I have read and listened to the books multiple times. Stirling is a fantastic writer I enjoy all of the character development and vivid story lines. My only issues are waiting for the latest installment to be finished and it seems the books are getting shorter. Thanks for the hours of entertainment.
I loved the concept for this book. The author however has this tendency to spend way too much time describing boring, bland things. Do I really need to know THAT much about potato soup, or how to harvest wheat? The events in the story dont seem overly fantastical too. I mean, its just coincidence that you find a bow maker, a black smith, a fencing trainer, etc to join your group when you find civilization suddenly being forced back into the middle ages? Yeah... not likely.
50% of this book is about the food they eat, and the farming they do, and a lot of other mundane things that are required (but uninteresting) to survive. 25% is about the actual change to the world, and the last 25% is decently entertaining combat sequences. If you endure the 50% that is about food and farming, then the rest will be enjoyable.
Stirling has been criticized for using a theme that has been overdone in speculative fiction - survival after the apocalypse. But if you like his writing style, which I do, and Todd McLaren's beautiful voice work, this novel is a "can't miss." Although I disagree with a basic premise of the book - that members of the Wiccan religion would be among the most prepared to adapt to a brutal post-apocalyptic society - I nevertheless enjoyed Stirling's narrative. Yes, there's a bit too much idealizing of the Wiccans, their beliefs, and ceremonies; but the story is intriguing despite all that. I listened to this shortly after thoroughly enjoying Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time," also narrated by McLaren. Definitely a recommended listen.
I am So kicking myself for not reading more of the reviews before I bought this book. I got about an hour in and stopped. Covens and stuff is not what you expect from the description. What a waste of a credit!!
This book was not good. It could have been good. First, this book is labeled as science fiction, and I expect science in my science fiction. This book, and the "event" that renders all high-energy-density technology unusable (electrcity and guns), but, if guns and dynamite doesn't work, why does fire still combust? That's a high energy process. And, all the characters seem to just be sure that the "event" is neither a nuclear or EMP strike. And, they also know that its wide spread and no help is coming. And everyone just happens to have mideveil weaponry laying around and also training? Really? And there is a blacksmith, a leather tooler and a horse trainer and these people also happen to be nurses and mid wives and organic farmers and such (all in down town New York is seems) as their day jobs! Oh, and the policemen and fire fighters are all ineffectual and stupid, with no apparent training for such an emergency. . . I know both medical and emergency response teams train for nuclear and EMP events. At one point, a woman breaks her thigh bone. I know that if it doesn't break the skin, there is no danger of infection, but the characters are very concerned about infection. But not to worry in anycase because the med kit on the airplane has antibiotics! Oh, and there is morphine readily available for the pain . . . I also know that antibiotics and prescription painkillers are not part of standard, commercial first aid kits. And, when one of those ineffectual policemen is attacked by pierced, chain wearing "bangers", there just happens to be a hardware store (in down town New York) that carries macheties and axes. All in all, I could not get by stereotyped characters ("bangers"), unrealistic timeline and unbelievable characters and even more unbelievable plot. It could have been a great story. There are Wiccan characters, mideveil weapons and post-apocolyptic plot, and all those things were interesting. The actual story, though, got in the way and ruined it for me
There are a lot of things wrong with this book and with its narration. Despite this, I am listening to it for a second time. It's easy to listen to while doing other stuff and makes you want to pick it up again and listen to some more.
The good: A cast of likable characters you root for; a post-apocalypse story with a twist, sending the world back to medieval times, where modern technology, including guns doesn't work; interesting ways in which people cope with the situation; several exciting page turning action moments. The underlying story is actually a reworking of the Arthurian legends - with the Arthur and Morgan Le Fay characters running the two groups the story follows. It makes for a good story, especially if done in an imaginative way, as this is.
The so so: Contrived in parts - I get that people with skills suited to the new environment are more likely to survive. I get that we are following two exceptional groups whose leaders are lucky enough to find people with those skills - but are there really that many people hanging around who just happen to be crack shots with a bow and able to make them? Or be expert swords people, as well as vets?
The bad: The Wiccan stuff and Gaelic quotations are heavy handed, and while I agree that some of this world would be violent and horrible, some of the violence is maybe a bit too over described. The worst problem though is the narration. Its well paced and mostly good for the male voices, but the male narrator has a real problem with female voices, and particularly with foreign accents. Given that one of the two main characters is a woman with an Irish brogue accent, this is bad. I've known people who speak Irish Gaelic and it doesn't sound like that.
Recommended if you like this sort of book, understand what you are buying, and can stand variable narration. Expect a page turning pulp story that easy to listen to, but violent in parts.
This is a really good start for a series. It gives just the right amount of details to keep you going without being 1200 pages long. I plan to listen to the next book as well.
I loved this book! I am a native of the Willamette Valley where the majority of this book takes place and I am amazed at the detail and the flavor that Stirling brings to this work. He brings a depth of knowledge of the landscape and the people of the Northwest that is really surprising. The characters are well rounded and more complex than in many fantasy tales. There is a Wiccan slant, but that is an interesting layer to me. The reader does a very good job with the different characters. I was thoroughly entertained and can't wait to listen to the rest.
This book begins an as yet unfinished future history, in which all energy based technology fails and remains unoperable beyond simple combustion and very poor steam power. The world is reduced to a level about like that of the early middle ages. People die off in huge numbers as food storage and food stocks are depleated. The story folllows several bamds of peopel who successfully adapt to this new world by looking back to various historical and even mythical ways of life. The SCA provides a model for some, and there is much chivalry, sword play, and raw survival. I won't write reviews of subsequent volumes, allthough I have rated all with five stars. I am anxiously awaiting the next titles! Highly recommended.
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