Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Sword of the Lady

Still pursued by the occult forces of the Church United and Triumphant, Rudi Mackenzie and his friends are on the final portion of their journey across the post-apocalyptic landscape of the former United States. Making their way from Wisconsin, they end up in lands in New England that have recreated ancient Norse cultures. And by aiding them in rescuing one of their towns which is besieged by a Moorish raiding party who have allied themselves with the Cutters, obtain a ship which takes them to the island of Nantucket, where Rudi finally obtains the legendary Sword of the Lady.

Continuing the story of the second portion of the Emberverse series, The Sword of the Lady continues SM Stirling's wonderful depictions of the various cultures and religions that have sprung up in the aftermath of the technology killing Change. The story itself is quite satisfying as well, and primes you for the return journey. However, the story feels much slower than the original trilogy. Which makes sense. Where the first three books tell of the immediate aftermath of the Change, and the foundation of the various nation-states in the Washington and Oregon region, this is a much more epic story of a heroic quest and the war for the salvation of all of mankind. Unfortunately, this means that the story is not as tightly written as the earlier one. Stirling tries to minimize the time on the road, or to cover it, by having the characters in conversation and describing the cultures and religions, and months can pass in the turn of a page. But as the size of the world in the story expands, he's less able to provide the same amount of detail, and when he does, it occasionally feels like it is taking the reader away from the primary story.

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)

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