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Island in the Sea of Time | [S. M. Stirling]

Island in the Sea of Time

During a perfect spring evening on Nantucket, a violent storm erupts and a dome of crawling, colored fire blankets the island. When the howling winds subside and the night skies clear, the stars appear to have shifted. The mainland has become a wilderness of unbroken forest, where tools of bronze and stone litter the beaches, and primitive natives scatter in terror.
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Publisher's Summary

During a perfect spring evening on Nantucket, a violent storm erupts and a dome of crawling, colored fire blankets the island. When the howling winds subside and the night skies clear, the stars appear to have shifted. The mainland has become a wilderness of unbroken forest, where tools of bronze and stone litter the beaches, and primitive natives scatter in terror.

A startling phenomenon has occurred: The island of Nantucket has been swept into the long-ago past. With its inhabitants adrift in the year 1250 BC, there is only one question to be answered: Can they survive?

©1998 S. M. Stirling; (P)2008 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (778 )
5 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.1 (460 )
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Story
4.3 (450 )
5 star
 (218)
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 (168)
3 star
 (42)
2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Kevin Dominion, Nova Scotia, Canada 11-26-08
    Kevin Dominion, Nova Scotia, Canada 11-26-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    164
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    16
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    "Listen to this before "Dies the fire""

    I got this after i had listened to the "Dies the fire" series, and was slightly disappointed. Not that the book is bad, it isn't. Its quite good. But many of the same ideas, themes and plot devices are used in his later books (only natural, as they are all tied together). However, Island in a Sea of Time feels far less polished then the later books. Again, not surprising, but for maximum enjoyment and to try ro follow the proper timeline, this one first.

    Great narration, and regardless of the order they are read, i enjoy SM Sterlings' writing, and this was no exception.

    34 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K Cornwinkle Plumville, CA USA 03-08-13
    K Cornwinkle Plumville, CA USA 03-08-13 Member Since 2015

    !!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    241
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    Performance
    Story
    "After 1632, this seems real."

    The writing is much better; less cliches (although dawn comes up like thunder -how does this metaphor even work, I've always wondered).
    Bonus points for strong female characters without all of them being over the top.
    Alas, like 1632, the book is so long (not that I mind) that one tends to start wondering about the plausibility of the rapid adaptations of what remains of 20th century technology to the times -steam engines and the like. Not as quickly in this series but still.
    Also, the bad guy, while evil to the core is not a cartoon and needs to be the sociopath he is for what he does to work.
    Unlike 1632, one can't Wiki the history (what on earth was the 30 years war -ah, there it is-MY GOD!) along with the plot. Many of the civilizations exist only in speculative and sometimes somewhat arcane archaeology.I kind of wonder if this is a cult book on Nantucket and at the USCG Academy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Santee, CA, USA 05-21-09
    Lisa Santee, CA, USA 05-21-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
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    "Loved this first book in the series...BUT:"

    I was totally hooked into this one, 25 hours of pure bliss, I couldn't get enough. Absolutely great writing, great narration, loved the plot lines, etc. BUT - of course I bought the rest of the series, "Against the Tide of Years" and "On the Oceans of Eternity" - and they were a lot harder for me to finish. This story did not need to be spread out as long as this, and the plot lines got very threadbare and bedraggled by the last 20 hours or so. The characters I originally met in "Island.." starting taking back seats or disappearing altogether. The bad guy from the island (Walker) is not around much in the 2nd book and disposed of in a very unsatifying way in the 3rd, and really most of the 2nd and the entire 3rd is just a waste of time, IMHO. Consider yourself warned - if you get bored in the middle of #2, you can just quit and you won't miss anything.

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Irvine, CA, USA 01-23-10
    Mike Irvine, CA, USA 01-23-10 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    0
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    "Great Listen"

    This is my first review of any audible "book" in the 4 years that I've been a member. This book held my interest and was so interesting that upon finishing this book I downloaded the other two books in this specific series. It's also my first foray into science fiction from mysteries and adventuer novels and I'm glad I downloaded it. It sure held my interest and made me want to listen to more books that the author has done. For me, it was a wonderful choice.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy Somerville, MA, United States 07-18-11
    Peggy Somerville, MA, United States 07-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Moderately Interesting"

    I wanted to see if other readers felt the same as me and came across Charles' rant:

    "This is sick trash!!
    By Charles (Lumberton, Texas, United States) Jun 11, 2011
    "I cannot believe all the 5 star ratings that this book received. The main character is a black, gay, women , who is a captain in the coast guard. She seduces a teenage girl, can outfight any man in the known world, great military tactician, and somewhat a minor politician. Ridiculous!! There is numerous lesbian sex scenes, S&M sex scenes, rape, and one character who teaches two 12 year old girls to use S&M sexual torture on a male prisoner. This is the worst trash I have ever listened to and be assured I'm not a prude or bible thump-er. Makes me wonder what kind of sicko this author is."

    Now, I didn't care for the book for a couple of reasons, but I completely disagree with Sir Charles. Dude, saying you aren't a Bible thumper (or a bigot) doesn't make it any less true. Some of what Charles mentions is actually what made me stick with the book to the end. Well, different strokes I guess. That being said, I wouldn't recommend the book. I recognize that a lot of people did/will enjoy it, but the book was a mixed bag for me. It started out well...time travel and the struggle to adapt to a novel environment, but then it gets a little bogged down in agricultural/fishing/division of labor details, which reminded me a little of Moby Dick. I'm of the opinion that Melville could have told the story of Moby Dick in about fifty pages and the same could be said of Island. Again, different strokes. The second half of the book is mostly military strategy and battle sequences. It was too much an amalgam of stories I've read before. I considered getting the entire Nantucket series, but I think I'll go in a different direction this time.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Bai 03-31-09
    Bill Bai 03-31-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
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    "Great Alternate History Series"

    This is one of my favorite alternate history series of books, and was one of the first I read that got me into this genre.
    The storyline and pacing moves along very well in my opinion. There are plenty of characters and plotlines to keep it interesting, but not too many to get cluttered and confused (as I've discovered in many of Turtledove's series).
    The narration of this audiobook is also excellent, the accents of all the characters feel spot on. Once I heard the characters in "their voice" it fit perfectly with what I had imagined when I read the book a while ago.
    Highly recommend this series of books and the parallel series that starts with "Dies the Fire".


    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Etna, NH, United States 01-18-09
    Daniel Etna, NH, United States 01-18-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Trite, cliched, 1-dimensional characters and story"

    A run-of-the-mill adventure story with a fair amount of gratuitous violence and soft-ball sex thrown in for spice. The overall premise and the explanation of historical devices, cultures, etc. are interesting, but not nearly interesting enough to wade through the rest of this story.

    19 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-02-10 Member Since 2008

    mkeough

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Enjoyed This Book"

    I love time travel and this is well done. There are some strange plot contrivances (the hero is a female, black, gay ninja coast guard officer)but the battle scenes are gripping and fast and the adaptation of the moderns to bronze age realities is also realistic and interesting, though in my opinion, a bit optimistic. The main plot mechanism is a mutiny by a thoroughly evil subordinate so it is also a tale of good versus evil. We good; he bad. But for entertainment, the book is fast, interesting and plausible event though the precipitating "event" is never explained. The people have to live with the situation they are placed in. Hope this helps.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noe Edinburg, TX, United States 02-22-11
    Noe Edinburg, TX, United States 02-22-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    232
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    "Need to stick with it."

    I started listening to it several times but had a mental block about the 25-hour length. Once I made it past the first couple of hours, I was hooked. A bizarre time displacement has landed all of Earth back in the Bronze Age, except for the tiny island of Nantucket and its one ocean-going vessel of any note - the Coast Guard ship Eagle. The way a small community of modern humans attempts to interface with people who lived centuries before makes for a highly entertaining tale. This was my first exposure to author S.M. Stirling but won't be my last. The narration by Todd McLaren is outstanding.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Lansing, MI, United States 06-07-15
    Brian Lansing, MI, United States 06-07-15 Member Since 2014

    I love to read books; and now just recently I've discovered that audio books are very cool!! I'm also an author. You can find the SciFi book "The Curse of Europa" here on Audible or on Amazon.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    553
    ratings
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    38
    37
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    "Cool Alternate History Book"

    I listened to this over a year and a half ago and just noticed I never did a review. What I recall the most is the realism the author painted of an alternate history. I'm not totally sure if alternate history is the exact fit but is probably the closest. An island and a ship get sent way back in time and they must figure out a way to survive. The island (Nantucket) is mainly tourist cottages and summer homes for the rich. The island is nowhere near self sufficient which becomes painfully evident when it is suddenly thrust back a few hundred years B.C. They lost their power and their supply chain of food and petroleum. The gas stations have what gas they had in their tanks but no way to refill when it runs out. No source for Coffee, milk, produce, etc. You get the picture. Now they need to find a way to survive until they return to their own time - if they ever return. Forget any type of "prime directive" in terms screwing up the time-line, they are screwing with it... and bad. They figure they have to in order to survive. They didn't ask for this to happen and they are doing what they must.

    It drags on a little in some places but all-in-all is a good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • H
    BOSTON, United Kingdom
    2/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nantucket Island goes back to the bronze age!"
    If you could sum up Island in the Sea of Time in three words, what would they be?

    Weird idea for a book...that works well. The Island of Nantucket and the seas surrounding it are transported back to 1500BC. A weird idea certainly, but one that offers the imagination interesting thoughts. Game is suddenly plentiful, but oil is not! There are no more electronics...but smallpox is not extinct...and so on.

    How will a small community and their possessions make out cut off from the rest of the "civilised" world...forever?


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very clever use of three dimensional characters. Some good, but stupid, some evil, but smart.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Most of the coastguard scenes were very good indeed.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it lends itself to "mulling over" the idea and thinking "what would I do if"....?


    Any additional comments?

    A good narrator, who should never be allowed to pronounce an English place name or the word "Celt"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Linda
    bristol, United Kingdom
    12/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Island in the sea of time"
    If you could sum up Island in the Sea of Time in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, interesting,


    What did you like best about this story?

    Was a good back story to the other books


    Which character – as performed by Todd McLaren – was your favourite?

    All of them very well characterised


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me laugh


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyed listening to the book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • George
    United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Gripping"

    I loved this series - and the much longer one that followed it.



    I listen to my audio-books whilst driving and this series had me looking forward to long car journeys. The initial plot mechanism is interesting and, apart from the initial series of coincidences necessary to get the ball rolling, the story develops well and the author generally adheres well to the rules of his universe.



    Reccomended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • BP1
    Leicestershire, UK
    3/30/13
    Overall
    "A good story well told"

    A good story well told (not a great story excellently read) with an interesting central idea and interesting characters. People have said that it lacks the depth of greys between the good and bad and yes, I think that is fair comment. Others have said it is very feminist and I can't honestly agree personally though others obviously do and yes, the female characters are strong.

    Whilst it was well read, it was sometimes hard to discern a new paragraph or section in the story though otherwise it was solidly done.

    Overall, this was an enjoyable story, my first alternate history book (if you don't count 1984) and it will be a genre and author I will return to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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