Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Protector’s War, by S. M. Stirling

The Protector’s War, by S. M. Stirling

The middle entry of a trilogy is often the weakest. The first book was enjoyable, but the third (which I haven’t yet read) would have to be pretty awful to not make this idiom true. Only two things of any import happen here, which is unfortunate for a novel pushing 600 pages. Much of the book is told in flashback, with the main characters in a bar telling each other what recently happened. The framing device isn’t awful, but as it wasn’t used at all in the first book and only in the middle of this one it sticks painfully out. Even the title, The Protector’s War, was odd, as the war is only foreshadowed and will clearly be the focus of the next novel, A Meeting at Corvallis.

The most jarring thing, though, was that instead of the Oregon setting of the first book, this one opens in a Britain that has survived the Change that destroyed all modern technology fairly well, but it seems the now-King Charles is married to a Icelander with little-to-no explanation as to how or why. I suspected I missed a book somewhere as the events that are hinted at seem fairly well thought out, but some research on the net shows this isn’t so. I did find an appendix from an upcoming series set in this same world that tells not only the back story but ranges into the future as well. At least an abridged version of this tale would have been welcome—especially as it looks to be more interesting than the rambling story that was told here!

First Sentence:
I’ve been here before, John Hordle suddenly realized, his thumb moving over the leather that covered the grip of his bow.

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