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)
The story is not realistic within its framework.
No. I could not get emotionally involved with these characters.
Yes, he used different voices and some accents.
It was not quite what I was looking for.
If you are looking for a fantasy novel set in a middle-ages type setting, it is the book for you. If you are looking for post-apocalyptic, you would be well advised to look elsewhere.
Several reviewers have complained about the pagan aspects of this novel, I'm not a pagan myself and found it a little boring at times, but in my opinion it fits the storyline well. The kind of people who are likely to prosper in a world where guns, electricity, and combustion engines suddenly stop working are the people who spent a lot of time doing things like horse riding, gardening, and mock fighting with medieval weapons. The pagan community is full of those kinds of people, so having a major story arc in the novel following a pagan group of people makes sense.
What the people complaining about the pagans fail to mention is the other major story arc following a group of people who are lead by an ex-military type who spends a lot of time doing things like hunting & hiking in the wilderness.
So, if your afraid that your Higher Being of choice is going to punish you for reading a book with such words as pagan, wiccan, goddess and witch in it, then you should stay away from this book. Otherwise, you just have to remember that you spend as much time listening to the thoughts of the jarhead which are as full of militaristic thoughts as the witches' mind is full of pagan thoughts. The author is not trying to convince you to become a pagan any more than he is trying to convince you to join the army. He's just doing a pretty good job of getting inside the head of a pagan and an ex-jarhead.
For me the story being told is critical, but with audiobooks, the narration is just as important. With S.M. Stirling enthralling series about what happens when the world is thrown into 'The Change,' complimented by the topnotch narration of Todd McLaren, you get the best of both worlds. I've listened to the first 2 books of this series and I can't wait to download the third next month!
I downloaded this title in spite of the numerous reviews claiming that it is like Dungeons & Dragons and Renaissance Fairs. Some of the characters are involved with "ren-fairs" (which is a phrase from the author/characters). As far as "D&D lingo" or any other similarity to the game I'm lost. Unless you consider calling weapons by their actual names rather than a dumbed down description to be like D&D. I would say to ignore those reviews citing either of those as a description of this story.
Others have complained about decisions being made too quickly or society breaking down too rapidly as being unrealistic. It is FICTION!! Although the author could have dragged out things and then it would have been called "too slow and not enough happening."
It is a good story and serves the purpose of being entetaining. Although I do get annoyed at the author's repeated use of some words or phrases it doesn't hurt the story. The reader is good but not exceptional.
I got an hour into this novel before I decided not to finish listening to it. To me, the story and the characters were unbelievable and cliched. The Wicca references are over done and heavy handed. I can usually find one or two reasons to finish a story even if I do not really like the book, but not this time. It reads like a college student's first manuscript and I am surprised that it was published at all. Since the cover states that S. M. Stirling is a best selling author, it probably gets better and the sequels are probably much different. Even so, this book is so bad that I can not enjoy it and I will not give it any more of my time.
I've been reading/listening to alot of "apocalyptic fiction" lately, and this is one of the best. Solid characters, believable dialogue. Despite the fact that it is clearly a D&D nerd's wet dream, I would recommend it to just about anyone. Hours of fun (23 of them!).
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I like the genre of armageddon novels, and found this one different. There is no plague turning people into superhuman villains, creatures, or zombies. Everyone just losses access to modern power (cars, motors, electricity) They also lose access to guns, since gunpowder does not work. While slightly farfetched and not explained why this all occurred, it does make the book more interesting. I am getting slightly tired of the survivors in these types of books getting their hands on guns and blasting everything in sight (or in the case of The Passage, nuclear weapons). Fundamentally, all of society is forced back into the middle ages almost overnight. Those who survive are the ones who can best adapt. It did make me think of going out and provisioning my cellar with enough food to last a year.
I am not sure I will continue on in the series because I think the most interesting part of the series is the transition from modern society to medieval society. I imagine the remaining books in the series would read just like some middle ages novels such as those written by Bernard Cornwall. In fact, the main evil character in the book is a professor of medieval history so he knows how to survive based on his knowledge of the period.
If you always have a book with you...
Such a fun fantasy story set in modern day Oregon. Sure there are a few hokey things like gunpowder won't work anymore, but all in all it is a really enjoyable listen. The apocalypse has happened and there is no explanation as to why, but that does not take away from the story. Everyone is scrambling to survive and you really start to think "what would you do?"
The story develops well and keeps your interest throughout. the narration was great and if your looking for an apocalyptic book without zombies.....this is it.
Certainly worth the credit.
I have a trusted friend who has turned me on to Patrick Rothfuss and other great authors, he endorsed S.M. Stirling as his "favorite author." After trying for days to get into this story, I must do what I have never done before and stop listening.
It is a SCA and Ren-fest pipe dream. I could forgive that if the dialogue wasn't just so terribly awful. The trite things that come out of the mouths of the characters is painful. No one would talk like that: ever. I challenge you to take any of the emotional dialogue of the character Mike Havel and say it out loud in a serious voice and keep a straight face. Try this one:
"Havel shrugged slightly. “And it’ll be a lot more than three days to the ranger cabin, with a stretcher. Call it six. It could go bad either way. That fracture is ugly. I’ve got antibiotics in the kit, but it needs a doctor to go in and fix things. The swelling looks bad, too. Moving will hurt, and it’ll be dangerous. But staying here for a week, cold and hungry—” He spread his hands. “Your family—your call.”
The "call it six" sentence particularly galls me.
I just don't get the story. I hate the dialogue. I get the feeling S.M. Stirling just really, really wanted to write a story where SCA nerds and Wiccans finally get to become the "cool kids" with the needed skills in society and forced a story around it.
I am seriously reconsidering my friendship status with the fellow that recommended this book to me.
If I have not been so spoiled by incredible narrators such as Roy Dotrice, Marc Thompson, Michael Kramer I may not have been annoyed by the narrator. Perhaps it was my distaste for the story that put me off the narrator, but his fake Irish accent just made me feel sorry for him.
I purchased this book because I found the premise to be quite intriguing: survival in a post-technological age. However, I soon became so irritated with Stirling’s chosen vehicle for telling the story I wanted to through my iPod out the car window!
How is it possible to have a native Oregonian (from Portland no less) be fluent in Gaelic and have a fully developed Scots-Irish twang? Doubtful, but OK, the whole story’s a stretch. But to make things worse, she and her followers soon have a fully developed (within three to five months) pagan culture complete with “Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!” and “Goddess of the harvest, field, wood and/or toad” sprinkled through every conversation. Agh! If I ever have to hear that “Merry meet” phrase again I think I’ll through up.
There is a male protagonist whose story is more interesting. But he too makes suspending disbelief impossible when he organizes a successful assault on a fort by landing hang gliders on a tower at night with people who’ve never flown gliders before. That lost it for me. Use your credits on something else.
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