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The Forge  By  cover art

The Forge

By: S. M. Stirling,David Drake
Narrated by: Franklin Pierson
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Publisher's summary

On a planet that was once part of a vast interstellar civilization, humans survive on the edge of barbarism amid the ruins of the once-great empire.

©1991 S.M. Stirling & David Drake (P)2019 Recorded Books

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Well done performance of an old favorite

The General series hold a particular place in my heart as they are the books that turned me on to both David Drake's and SM Stirling's other works. I've long enjoyed the series and was quite pleased to learn they were bring made into audio books. The plot is an interesting one that revolves around an ancient supercomputer, Center, surviving from before the collapse and civil war in a then-long dead Federation that lead to technical and civil regress across explored space. Center recruits Raj Whitehall to first halt and then reverse humanity's regression and the series follows their efforts. The setting itself is interesting to me with a state sponsored religion based on the worship of a Spirit of Man and old technological objects featured as relics. Those who have even a passing familiarity with IT will find some amusement here at some of the terms used and the ranks of the church, yet it is presented in a way that comes across sufficiently to suspend disbelief and fits the plot of the story well. It very clearly draws inspiration from Byzantine Orthodox worship and Belisarius with a current tech base approximately equivalent to the 1870s. The world of this book is a brutal one, which anyone familiar with Byzantine history or the era of British Imperialism should be unsurprised by, the authors pull no punches in regard to the sorts of things that happen in war. That said, it is a well developed setting that is entertaining to read.

This is my first audiobook I've heard by Franklin Pierson and I am quite pleased with his narration. He manages to get a very appropriate tone for Center and for Raj both their internal dialogues and Raj's spoken words. He also manages to put a good twist on the accents noted in the book and does well with everything from high court language down to the barely intelligible speech of peasants and barbarians. I look forward to seeing the rest of the titles in this series available in audio format and do hope they retain Mr. Pierson as narrator for consistency's sake and the excellent work he did with The Forge.

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32 people found this helpful

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This is one of my favorites

It's not for the meek or those who promote political correctness. Bad words and religious slurs abound. But, if you enjoy hard-core military science fiction, this series is for you. I've read the books five or six times and am now on my first listen. It's great to hear all my favorite scenes performed so well.

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17 people found this helpful

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Not worth it

A miserable culture living in a miserable time. None of the characters are likeable or admirable and the story plods from one nasty little vignette to another. I had read somewhere that this was supposed to be similar to the Belisarius saga and other than it being arguably as primitive I disagree. That story had characters to that were more primitive and more warlike yet somehow more relatable and interesting. I'll not continue this series and will probably return this book.

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14 people found this helpful

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Disturbing

Good story great concept but totally ruined by related lurid detailed accounts of murdererous violence and rape of women and underaged children. Just be warned if you should play in a public place.

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12 people found this helpful

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To much rape and violence toward women

I understand some stories involve rape, but the author seems to be writing about his sick fantasies in this book. Listened to half the book and was disgusted by the amount and descriptive detail of rape. I didn’t listen to the rest of the book, and I suggest you move on to another book.

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12 people found this helpful

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Hope they release the rest of the series soon!

I read this when it first came out in paperback. It's an excellent story and a well crafted series.

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8 people found this helpful

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One of my all time favorite series !

I first read this series when it first came out and had to wait for each book to come out . Fortunately the Book seller at the time was a military sci - fi enthusiast and sent me to the library to read the classics available . We are so fortunate to have these audiobooks available . Thank you Recorded Books . The long wait has been worth it . I find the joy of having these books of my youth read to me far exceeds the modest price .

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6 people found this helpful

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Awful

Great premise, squandered by racism, misogyny, and just bad writing. I loved S.M. Stirling's Island In The Sea Of Time trilogy, but this was a chore to get through, made worse by the narrator sounding like Zapp Brannigan from Futurama.

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4 people found this helpful

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This is a great series.

I love David Drake and SM Sterling. This is one of the first military sci-fi series I ever read. You will both be entertained and enthralled. Plenty of action. Deep and recognizable characters. I highly recommend the Forge.

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Wasted potential

The publisher's summary sets the stage for a novel about a fallen society that may rebuild to become interstellar again. The beginning of this book sets up an intriguing concept of an AI that awakes and chooses someone to help rebuild civilization. The rest of the book completely fails to build on these great ideas. Instead, the AI is vague and opaque in its advice/predictions. The story jumps from one ground battle to the next, with intermittent rape (including children), abuse, slavery, and misery for the common folk. The transitions from one scene to the next are poorly done. There is little call-back to the broader plot objectives, nor are we given hints as to where all of this is going or how/why the current situation matters. If you're into a bunch of battle (19th century-ish level technology), then perhaps you'll enjoy the book. Feeling like I was set-up with misguided expectations, I found it quite disappointing.

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2 people found this helpful