SM Stirling's Dies the Fire, Protector's War, etc.

There are going to be unboxed spoilers in the OP for these books, but nothing too bad. Fair warning.

This series was recommended by lokij in this thread about ren faires. Many, many thanks, dear loki, for pointing out the first fantasy/sci-fi series that has caught my attention in a big, bad way since high school.

In the past week, I’ve devoured the first two books in the series, and just finished a thirteen-hour reading streak finishing The Protector’s War. (There was some other stuff in there, too, like eating dinner and . . . breathing.) I don’t even know what it is about these books that has grabbed me so – the writing isn’t especially good, and there are even some things about it that are my pet peeves in fantasy writing (fairly gruesome descriptions of battles, unrealistic dialogue, that “so mote it be” nonsense). Even some of the character building is pretty rough – Mike and Signe Havel seem crudely drawn at times, especially Signe.

At the same time, there are some things about the universe that I find absolutely charming, and not in the pink-rosebuds-on-an-overstuffed-chair way. For example, Sam Aylward and John Hordle. I am apparently a sucker for overgrown archers with Hampshire accents: cuddly outside, ferocious inside. (My favorite character in HBO’s Rome is Titus Pullo. Guess who John Hordle appears as in my mind?) All the descriptions of the harvest feasts also made me incredibly hungry while reading.

I’m torn right now between galloping off into the internets to find out as much as I can about the next book in the series without reading it and just biding my time until I can acquire it.

But I do have one question I would very much like to have answered before I locate the next book: Does the elder Loring survive the battle at the end of The Protector’s War? There’s no mention of him after he gets his arm broken by Mack’s sword, but I can’t imagine him being anything but badly injured. I really like(d) him and I must know if he makes it to the next book.

I kind of feel like I’ve been bewitched by these books. Or that their pages are actually embedded with opiate derivatives.

Yes - Sir Nigel survives :slight_smile:

Stirling has a web site that has details of his upcoming books and provides sample chapters if you want to see how *Meeting at Corvallis * starts. My personal opinion is that it is not quite as good as the first two but does bring the series to a satisfactory conclusion.

I know what you mean about the books - real page turners. Have you tried the *Island in a Sea of Time * trilogy? Different setting but same style. Also The Peshwar Lancers.

I actually thought A Meeting at Corvallis was better than the second book.

I enjoy the books greatly, have read through them as fast as possible whenever they came out, but I really don’t like the Wiccan clan. Something about them just bothers me. It just seems so unrealistic (yeah, yeah, I know).

And the son Rudy always bothered me also. I think Stirling tried too hard with that kid, making him seem loveable and such. I wanted him to die so friggin much.

Oh, and I would love a sequel to the Island of Sea and Time trilogies.

Yeah, Rudy was a bit of a stretch.

Since both this trilogy and the Island trilogy happen because of the same event, it is likely that Steve will explore these further. There are unresolved threads hanging from each that can serve as the link, carefully thought out already, of course.


What I think’s going to happen in the new trilogy is that they will find the “old” Nantuket back in the BC area. They’ll go through the portal thingy and find the world with guns and electricity etc.

But chances are I’m way off. I hope he doesn’t get to fantasy like in the next books. I’m willing to turn off my brain for “the event” but if magic starts playing a prominent role I will be turned off to the series.

And personally, I really wish the writer would stop quoting celtic songs when talking about the witches. I just ignore them completly but I find they break up the flow of the story.

I think Rudi will come into his own in the second trilogy in the DtF universe - The Sunrise Lands - set 10 years or so after A Meeting at Corvallis. I agree - as a child he’s a pain.

I like both series very much.

There are threads in the Nantucket trilogy I’d like to see addressed.

  1. If Isketerol lives to see Marian and Swindapa’s boy growing up, will he recognize a family resemblence?

  2. Where is Vicki Cofflin and crew, and will they ever make it home to Nantucket?

  3. What about Henry and the Cloud Shadow people?

  4. How long will it take before the Nantucketers and the Walkerian exiles butt heads again?

You’re very welcome.

My next recommendation would be Eric Flint’s ‘Ring of Fire’ series, starting with 1632. ;> The ‘Nantucket Trilogy’ is also very good… starts with “Island in the Sea of Time”. Hurrah corny alt-history/ham fisted deux ex machina sci-fi. ;>

You have no idea how incredibly happy I am Sir Nigel didn’t buy the farm, joining any number of unwelcome deaths (I’m thinking Sanjay.)

I haven’t read any of the other books, but I think I’ve discovered what my summertime reading will be.

I think the thing that made the second book drag was the structure. Tons of stuff happens in it, but it doesn’t feel like it because it’s all told in flashbacks. It’s an interesting way to structure a novel, but it felt to me like the author was playing with structure in The Protector’s War, rather than focusing on telling the story. The progressive flashbacks style would be better suited to a standalone novel, I think.

Well, all I’m hoping for in the next series is some kind of internally logical reason for The Change. I don’t care if it’s magic or aliens or scientists in Japan screwing around with particle beams - I just need some kind of explanation that fits.

It was alien space bats. Except now that humanity is trapped at low tech, there’s no way they’ll ever find out anything about the alien space bats, including why they did it or how they did it.

Seriously, why do you need an “explanation”? The reason why the island travels back in time is irrelevant, since the book isn’t about them figuring out what happened and how to reverse it, but rather about them adapting to the bronze age. And same thing with the Protector series. It’s done the other way around, Stirling didn’t imagine alien space bats, then imagined their technology, then imagined a reason they’d change the physical laws of earth. Rather he had an idea for a story about what would happen if our technology just stopped working someday. The story is about how people adapt or fail to adapt to technology not working. I enjoyed the part in the second book where Mike’s FiL was doing experiments to try to figure out what had happened, and why steam engines didn’t work, but given the context of the books there’s no way human could ever know why it happened. Because the real reason “why” is: It makes an interesting story.

I enjoyed the Nantucket Trilogy & will read any sequels. And I’ll get around to the “Dies the Fire” set.

But I loved* The Peshawar Lancers*! And I’d like to see more work in that “world.”

Don’t miss Conquistador. Alternate California, with condors!

A Meeting At Corvallis is still good, although I thought the ending/wrapup was kind of forced and out of nowhere. Which I also thought about the end of the Nantucket trilogy.

SM Stirling’s website has preview chapters up for the first book in his next trilogy in the Dies the Fire world, The Sunrise Lands, which takes place a generation later. Seems like we’ll finally find out some about the change itself:

Someone visits Nantucket, and the Nantucket that is there is NOT the one with the ruins of a 20th century town, but (presumably) the one that IslandInASeaOfTime Nantucket replaced back in BC, and furthermore there’s some weird-ass time-warping portal on it or something… and it relates to Rudi being the chosen whatever he is

Umm, I’m not going to spoil it, but a couple more important characters bite it in MaC.

Only just wandered into this thread…just wanted to say I read the books and really liked the series. :stuck_out_tongue: BTW, the OP didn’t mention it, but Meeting at Corvallis is out and I’ve read that one as well…pretty good continuation. I have no idea what the next book is going to be…haven’t visited the author’s web site.

Anyway, carry on.


Lemur I just want to know, and I think it would be a better story if there was an internally consistant reason. I enjoyed both series (and agree with Max about the endings of both).

Not sure why that only Nantucket Island would have the remains of the Eagle Clan. By the end of the first series they had spread to California, the Carribean (the salt mine), and had contacted every advanced civilaztion in that time. I would think that if history was changed that much, then their culture would have been found in a lot of other places (like England - Sir Nigel and his son should have noticed something.)

Guess I’ll just have to wait for the next series.

No, the idea is that the people in the DtF world visit Nantucket, and it’s bronze age Nantucket brought forward 3000 years. The same event sent Nantucket back in time and prevented technology from working.

As for a “reason”, take the example of the 1631 Eric Flint universe. There’s a couple of paragraphs about how some entity or another had a malfunction of their temporal technology, and that’s what caused the event. But the characters in the books don’t know this, and they never will. So the “explanation” doesn’t add anything to the book, because as I said the real explanation is that the writer wanted to send 20th century Americans back to the Bronze Age or the 30 Years War, and see what would happen.

How would it improve the stories to add a couple paragraphs that boil down to something like: “High above earth, the alien space bats callibrated their thromdibulator, and nodded to each other in satisfaction. Now the hu-mons would be contained and never have a chance to disrupt their fragile galactic civilization. Meanwhile, back on earth, lesbian warrior women continued the sexual enslavement of their neo-pagan captives…”

Excuse me? Lesbian warrior women? Hello! :smiley:
BTW, Grantville got sent back in time because of an Assiti Shard. Art, you know?

Good point. :slight_smile: On a side note, I sure wish Eric Flint (and friends) would get off their collective asses and write the next frigging book already! These side tales are fun, but I want to see the main story line going forward already!