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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author S. M. Stirling continues what Library Journal has termed his "epic of survival and rebirth," chronicling a modern world without technology.

Rudi Mackenzie has journeyed far across the land that was once the United States of America, hoping to find the source of the world-altering event that has come to be known as the Change. His final destination is Nantucket, an island overrun with forest, inhabited by a mere two hundred people who claim to have been transported there from out of time.

Only one odd stone house remains standing. Within it, Rudi finds a beautifully made sword waiting for him - and once he takes it up, nothing will ever be the same....

©2009 S. M. Stirling; (P)2009 Tantor Media

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    415
  • 4 Stars
    218
  • 3 Stars
    94
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    13

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    317
  • 4 Stars
    126
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    296
  • 4 Stars
    124
  • 3 Stars
    62
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    6
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  • Story

Frustrating Narration

The story is epic in scope, passable in style. A good ripping yarn, but not a classic.

The narrator has excellent control. Each character had a unique, fitting accent and it was clear instantly who was speaking (or thinking) most of the time.
Unfortunately, the narrator had a few annoying and recurring pronunciation errors that really jarred me when they occurred. Pronouncing "chete" as "sheet" is understandable, but since it's based on "machete", he should probably have pronounced it "shetty". "Coif", when referring to headgear is pronounced "koyf", not "kwaf" (which refers to the hair). And every time an animal "barred" its teeth, I had to grind my teeth to keep from yelling out "BARED".

Please, audiobook narrators, get your pronunciations right before you start! If you're not absolutely sure how a word is pronounced, please look it up, or ask the author! These pronunciation issues jar me out of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Leesburg, VA, USA
  • 10-21-09

It just gets better and better.

Mr. Sterling's mind continues to run in Turbo Mode. In this volume, some issues are resolved only to be replaced by deeper mysteries. A number of new characters are introduced, some good, some bad, most interesting. Rudy continues to learn and move toward becoming the larger than life hero he must. In the end, we must await another book.

The only criticism I have is the inordinate amount of time taken to describe the many feasts that Rudy and his compatriots must endure on their travels. I can only suspect that Mr. Sterling must write on an empty stomach. I nearly went so far as to give the book only 4 stars for this reason but it is just to darn good everywhere else.

I strongly suggest that if you have not read the previous books in this series that you start with the first and work your way to the last. Otherwise much of the context will be confusing. Fortunately all the previous books are also very good.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Clearly milking it for a fifth book

I usually buy and read the printed books first and then after awhile I will listen to the audio
book if I enjoyed reading it. In this case I went
directly to the audio version because I could tell from the previous book in this series that it
was becoming one of those "dragged out" series with little resolution. Though classified as Sci-Fi this series belongs more in the Fantasy genre.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jon
  • Clackamas, OR, United States
  • 11-30-09

Food will do - story is good recipe!

I must say all the criticism of the food descriptions from other reviewers is too bad. Just think what it would be like to be in this post Change world without a grocery store to provide your meals. I think the food descriptions, vivid portrayals of the landscapes, and details of the craft goods bring reality to the story and educate us to the scenario. This story is long, but imagine riding a horse or walking across the continent! A criticism is the dualistic nature and standard formula of the story, which is so clear it is somewhat childish, along with the religions being so accommodating of each other. I do appreciate the reach for balance provided by the end scene on Nantucket. I am a little unclear how Marion appears in the end, though. The narrator is still mispronouncing "Gervais", which irks me as I live in this town! He also mispronounces "Chehalis". Should be "jur-vas" and "shay-hay-less". Funny that I hear him mispronounce "valkyrie" early on, but he gets it right towards the end. Otherwise, I have nothing but praise for the reading as the narrator brings the story to life. I look forward to the rest, even though it is predictable.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Susan
  • Vancouver, WA, United States
  • 05-07-12

Waste of time

What was most disappointing about S. M. Stirling’s story?

Over 20 hours of listening to drawn out descriptions of food, fights, different religious beliefs, and a quest that didn't make any sense. I was expecting it to all come together in the end somehow, but surprise, the ending was the worst part. It was inconclusive, confusing and based of some other world power that didn't fit with the rest of the story. Worst book I have ever downloaded out of the 50 or so I have downloaded. I have never deleted a book from my i-tunes library but this one is getting deleted so I or somebody else doesn't click on it and have to listen to this drivel again.The only good thing I can say about this is that the narrator was good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Momoevi
  • HONOLULU, HI, United States
  • 03-10-12

Slow moving, overly-introspective & disappointing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Couldn't recommend this to someone else. The original storyline, books 1-3 were certainly appealing but the rest of this storyline is really just dragging on and on. It's just good enough to make you want to get the next one to see how some things get wrapped up.

Would you ever listen to anything by S. M. Stirling again?

I suppppooossse. Already in for the long haul, so I gotta see how this ends

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Narrator has some pronunciation problems...someone BARES his teeth...they don't BAR them. Other than that, he has some good interpretations of how the dialects are supposed to sound...its not his fault that Stirling has decided to go with an insane amount of widely diffuse ones

Do you think The Sword of the Lady needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Has to have a follow up - totally designed for one (sneaky bugger).

Any additional comments?

The first couple of books were good. He really should have just wrapped up the whole thing after the first 3. If he wanted to continue the story, he should have just jumped WAY ahead instead of a half generation ahead. It makes the story committed to the immediate descendants of the main characters in the first 3 books who are generally likable and/or relatable....not so for the follow-on generation...Rudi MacKenzie becomes more and more insufferable as the story continues...we got it, okay? He's a supermodel olympic athlete ninja that is too damn awesome and humble and beloved by the gods and on and on and on...bleah. Worst thing that happened was killing off Mike Havel back in book 3...great character...Now all the characters are all holier than thou and full of themselves and their own importance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Frederick, MD, USA
  • 01-12-10

The story is really getting good.

This book keep me enthralled till the very end. It was the best book of the 2nd generation of MacKenzie's trilogy.
Not sure if I spelled the last name correctly, as I've always listened to these books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

stealth xtianity

At first I just thought this was an unusually tedious fantasy novel.. Turns out it's a Christian story, heavy on the Catholicism, replete with a visit to heaven and all kinds of post-post-lapsarian commentary and hope of salvation.

It's kind of like the Narnia books you began as a kid, thinking Cool, a nice fable with talking animals and magic and . . . turns out they're on a train to heaven.

Not my cup of swill.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great read

I started reading "dies the fire" the year it was published and wasn't able to get back into the series for life reasons until 2016. I haven't been able to stop listening since. One of the best series since Lord of the Rings.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The saga continues

The book is a excellent continuation of the Change series. The details of the story along with fantastic narration pull you in and have you listening worth every spare moment. If you haven't listened to the other books I highly recommend you start from the beginning.

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  • Mr
  • 11-21-13

More of the same

What did you like best about this story?

The further development of the characters, story line is interesting enough to keep me coming back to find out what happens

Would you be willing to try another one of Todd McLaren’s performances?

NO... random changing of accents and poor pronunciation of words used many times drives me nuts.

Any additional comments?

I think the style is getting a little rambling, repeatedly reminding the listener what things are. I guess that’s similar to the style of a lot of American TV shows though. I do not need another description of the main characters outfits, I have heard it enough. <br/>I suspect an abridged version maybe more enjoyable.<br/>And if I had a friend that kept speaking in a language I didn’t understand to then have to repeat himself in English he may well get a punch, high king or not ;)<br/>