I finished reading SM Stirling’s Dies The Fire last night. It’s the flip side of his Island in the Sea of Time series. In that series, Nantucket gets thrown back in time 3,000 years. In this book, we see how the world copes after Nantucket is ripped from it.
Nantucket actually has little to do with the story. Instead, the same force that threw Nantucket back in time also has caused electricity and explosives to no longer work the the current world. Anarchy, as you might expect, results.
The story focuses on two bands of survivors and largely revolves around Oregon. As is often the case with these types of books, the early part where people are learning to cope in the changed world is the best.
Overall, the book is pretty grating, however. Both the groups conveniently seem to find people who are skilled swordsmasters or who know all about crossbows and so on. It feels too forced to be that enjoyable, at least for me. As one reviewer over at Amazon put it:
Hey! We have no guns now! No problem! My cousin’s a sword maker!
“Hi. I’m a teen girl. Plus I’m a crack archer”
A sequel to the book is already out, and a third that I presume ends the series is coming. I’ll probably give them both a miss. As I wrote before, the last series he did simply got worse and worse, to the point that in the third book, I was skipping five or ten pages at a time, as they weren’t advancing the story or particularly enjoyable.
Stirling’s web site says he’s doing a book about what if Mars and Venus where inhabited. Now that, I’ll look forward to. As for this book, others definitely loved it. Here’s a positive review if you want another take.