Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Sunrise Lands

The Sunrise Lands
The arrival in the lands of the Clan Mackenzie of Ingolf Voegler, a mercenary and traveler who has crossed the entire width of the lands formerly known as the United States of America, and the assassins who follow him, leads Rudi Mackenzie and his friends and family to begin a quest for a sword that has been seen in prophecy and visions in an effort to defend their lands against the fanatical followers of the Prophet of Church Universal and Triumphant. The story picks up 10 years after SM Stirling's earlier trilogy of Emberverse novels, which told the story of several groups of survivors of the Change, an apocalyptic alteration of natural laws, which forced a reversion to nearly medieval technological levels. The new world is one in which the gods of both ancient and new religions have the ability to interact with the world and their followers.

Stirling makes no effort to hide the influence that earlier fantasy authors have made upon him. One of the groups of survivors have even developed a culture based upon the Rangers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. And when Rudi's group is formed, it consists of 9 members, which the characters discuss as being fitting. What is interesting is the wide ranging cultures and beliefs that the characters represent. Rudi Mackenzie and Edain Aylward are pagan Celtic clansmen. Mathilda Arminger and Odard Liu are from a Roman Catholic feudal society. Father Ignatius is a Benedictine warrior monk. Ingolf is a lapsed Catholic mercenary. Mary and Ritva are members of the Dunedain. Along the way, they are joined by Frederick Thurston, the son of a man who has been trying to reestablish the United States in Idaho using ancient Roman style military, who was murdered by his other son Martin who has allied with the Cutters. The Cutters are a fanatical cult who desire to prevent Rudi from reaching the sword which Ingolf saw in a vision on the island of Nantucket, which is where the phenomenon which caused the Change is rumored to have originated.

Score: 4 of 5

Series: The Emberverse - 1. Dies the Fire (2004) 2. The Protector's War (2005) 3. A Meeting at Corvallis (2006) 4. The Sunrise Lands (2007) 5. The Scourge of God (2008) 6. The Sword of the Lady (2009) 7. The High King of Montival (2010) 8. The Blood of the Sun (TBA) 9. The Given Sacrifice (TBA)

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