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Dies the Fire (2004)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Dies the Fire (2004) Author: S.M. StirlingThis is the flip side of the author's ISLAND IN THE SEA OF TIME trilogy. In those books the island of Nantucket-and it's population-- is mysteriously transported three thousand years back in time after mysterious lights appear in the sky. With their knowledge and technology they forge a new country and will undoubtedly change the face of history. But what happened back in our present time, after this island disappears? Well, after the appearance of these strange, lightning-like lights around, people soon discover that none of their technology works. Not only is there no electricity-gasoline engines won't work and guns will not fire bullets. It's as if some other power is intentionally preventing them from using any weapon more complicated than a crossbow. One of the characters blames 'Alien space bats' for all this and it can't be dismissed. The characters refer to this event as 'The Change'.The novel follows the journey and development of two characters, Mike Havel and Juniper Mackenzie, 'normal' people now become instrumental in establishing a new society.Mike Havel is a pilot flying a family of five up to their cabin in the wilderness in Idaho when 'The Change' occurs. He manages to land his plane and soon finds out that their predicament is not an isolated case. For all practical purposes human society is sent back to Medieval times. Juniper Mackenzie, a Wiccan, is playing her music at a local bar in Oregon when it happens. With her daughter and a group of friends, she travels to her family's cabin for relative safety. She then starts creating a farming community with the locals and those who have fled from the burning cities. Mike Havel uses his military training to survive-and after a hand to hand fight with an angry bear-becomes known as Lord Bear and his followers as 'the Bearkillers'. One of the young girls from that first family he saved loves the Lord of the Rings books and, as the official historian, gives everything that particular slant.Havel and Mackenzie's group eventually meet and agree to be allies, for there is a big threat out there by the name of the 'Lord Protector', a former Medieval history professor who has set himself up as a king. Not only do they ultimately have a battle with his forces, they also have to contend with problems such as bandits and 'Eaters', people who have resorted to cannibalism to survive.As is many of Stirling's other novels DIES THE FIRE leaves on a high note and begs for a sequel or two.

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