Monday, November 2, 2009

The Scourge of God

The sequel to SM Stirling's The Sunrise Lands continues the story of the journey of Rudi Mackenzie and his friends across the post-Change lands that used to make up the United States. The book begins with them in a town in Wyoming, recovering in a monastery established by Buddhist monks who had been in town for a convention when the Change occurred. At the same time, their friends and families are beginning their resistance against the attacks of the Church United and Triumphant.

Stirling gets rather metaphysical in this book. It's almost a comparative religions class, but focused primarily on the similarities and shared truths of various religions -- primarily Buddhism, Wicca, Christianity, and Native American shamanism. And it is primarily focused on preparing Rudi for his role as the salvation of mankind. Somehow, during the Change, gods were (again) given great power, and have begun acting directly upon the earth. Those which are evil, directly subjugate humans and focus them on destruction. Those which are good, influence humans and aid them in their opposition to the destructive forces of their enemies. And in the interactions between Rudi and his friends and their gods, those gods are surprisingly lacking in jealousy for their followers.

As a single book, The Scourge of God does not stand out. It is a solid continuance of the series, but some of the religious discussions might not be very interesting to readers who are more interested in the depictions cultures and scenes of combat.

Score: 3 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)


  1. Hey Greg,

    This series sounds pretty interesting - how many books are there total?


  2. There are 3 in the original series, 3 in the Nantucket series, and currently 3 of 4 in this series.

  3. Do I have to read the other two series before this current one?

  4. Not the Nantucket series, but the first trilogy of the Emberverse, it would definitely help, though not necessary.