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Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change | [S. M. Stirling]

Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change

Michael Havel was flying over Idaho en route to the holiday home of his passengers when the plane's engines inexplicably died, forcing a less than perfect landing in the wilderness. And, as Michael leads his charges to safety, he begins to realize that the engine failure was not an isolated incident.
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Publisher's Summary

Michael Havel was flying over Idaho en route to the holiday home of his passengers when the plane's engines inexplicably died, forcing a less than perfect landing in the wilderness. And, as Michael leads his charges to safety, he begins to realize that the engine failure was not an isolated incident.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1556 )
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  •  
    Jo Greenbrae, CA, United States 09-10-10
    Jo Greenbrae, CA, United States 09-10-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The whole is better than some of its parts."

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JimF 05-19-10
    JimF 05-19-10 Member Since 2015
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    "Really Good"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin EUGENE, OR, USA 04-29-10
    Robin EUGENE, OR, USA 04-29-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Spot on!"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Columbus, OH, United States 04-10-10
    James Columbus, OH, United States 04-10-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb alternate future history"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hans Bellevue, NE, United States 03-12-10
    Hans Bellevue, NE, United States 03-12-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Premise, too ugly"

    Well, it's like the title of my review says. I loved the beginning, with everything going back to basics, but then it just got too ugly. Don't get me wrong, I think it would have been great to follow nearly exactly the same path with the story, but just don't be so descriptive of all the horrors that are committed. I finally stopped 5 hours at the scene in the rangers' cabin when Eric and Havel returned. It was just too much to have the thirteen year old girl standing there with bite marks and everything...it was awful.

    Didn't care for the pagan aspects, but I didn't mind them much either. I really would like to see where it goes, but I'm sorry, it's just entirely too much.

    I do have to say, though, that I loved the Interlude, the whole gang scene with the guards with halberds and everything. I gave it two stars because of that and because I liked the premise..otherwise, awful.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael BROOKLYN CENTER, MN, United States 12-10-09
    Michael BROOKLYN CENTER, MN, United States 12-10-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dies The Fire"

    Excellent! I drive for a living and I error did not down load the 3rd part of the audio book. I had to go home and get it because it had me so rivveted. Dual subject; you just knew the author was going to have the two groups come together. Very easy listen; almost believable. Our world is in a quandary and very fragile. We have world leaders who don't really care about other countries let alone their own people.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Dewey, AZ, United States 09-27-09
    Lynn Dewey, AZ, United States 09-27-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book, Great Narrator"

    I had never read S.M. Stirling prior to listening to Dies the Fire. It captured my imagination and was thrilling. The narrator, Todd McLaren was perfect for the role and it was easy to tell which character he was. The story begins with a world that has suddenly become "changed" Suddenly, after a white flash, no machines work, no electricity, no computers, no phones, planes fall out of the sky, cars and trucks stop, trains stop and firearms no longer work. The story is the changed world that comes out of this event and how people react. Those that live and those that don't. It is very compelling and makes you wonder what kind of person YOU would be if this really happened!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Chuckey, TN, USA 05-02-09
    Mark Chuckey, TN, USA 05-02-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dies the Fire (Unabridged)"

    Very well written and technically sound, realy makes you think "what if?!!" As an ex-soldier, outdoorsman, blacksmith and history buff this story is right up my alley! I reccomend it highly to anyone not in the above catagories also! I travel alot and am looking forward to listening to the rest of the books in this series as I do.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randal Morristown, TN, USA 03-12-09
    Randal Morristown, TN, USA 03-12-09
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    "Dies The Fire"

    This is the begining of the best series of books that I have ever read. It does stretch the imagination a little, but I believe that the physical changes are believable and hey it is just a what if this were to happen book, so lighten up on it. It is a great read, and I read the series one after another over and over and over. I always find something new, and am never bored in doing so.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Louisville, KY, USA 12-11-08
    Brian Louisville, KY, USA 12-11-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not very good"

    This book plays out like a cheap B-movie on late night cinema. Stirling expects his audience to buy into a plot where the human race is thrust into a medieval setting where nothing electrical works, not to mention firearms. He breaks the rules of physical law just simply to level the playing field and offers no explanation other than the possible "Alien Space Bats". I'm sorry, but that's too big of a pill to swallow. And the rate at which civilized society melts into chaos is also plainly unbelievable (Just a week or two). He rushes things along in this self-serving plot without regard to anything that might really be practical. He does however have some interesting insight into the mob mentality when faced with starvation and desperation. From teenage girls who also happen to be expert archers and veterinarian sword-masters to storming castles by hang-glider, this book requires a huge leap of faith on the readers part.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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