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The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change [Mass Market Paperback]

S.M. Stirling
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 5 2006 Change Series (Book 1)

It’s been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel’s Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan Mackenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper Mackenzie. Their leadership has saved countless lives.

But not every leader has altruistic aspirations. Norman Arminger, medieval scholar, rules the Protectorate. He has enslaved civilians, built an army, and spread his forces from Portland through most of western Washington State. Now he wants the Willamette Valley farmland, and he’s willing to wage war to conquer it.

And unknown to both factions is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers...

Frequently Bought Together

The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change + A Meeting at Corvallis: A Novel of the Change + Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change
Price For All Three: CDN$ 27.52

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From Publishers Weekly

Stirling's Dies the Fire began an alternative history trilogy with a stunning premise: in 1998, the laws of nature suffered a mysterious change: gunpowder can't explode, electrical devices don't work-in short, the last 250 years of high-tech gadgetry suddenly are useless. This sequel shows what has happened to the world since the collapse of civilization. A group of people in the Pacific Northwest have joined together to rediscover old skills; Mike Havel, leader of the Bearkillers clan, and Wiccan priestess/folksinger Juniper Mackenzie help their followers adjust to new possibilities. Nearby, however, kinky former college professor Norman Arminger is exploiting his knowledge of medieval lore to manage the Protectorate, a brutal and ruthlessly-expanding dictatorship. This middle volume of the trilogy shows skirmishes between the factions, leading up to an inevitable confrontation. Stirling's pictures of ruined cities and towns are grimly convincing, and his loving descriptions of familiar landscapes gone wild are wonderful. If the people were as freshly imagined as their world, the novel would be splendid, but even with cardboard characters, it's still an extremely readable installment in a better than average tale.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The Bearkillers and Clan Mackenzie of Dies the Fire (2004) have spent the eight years since the Change, which left the world without such conveniences as electricity and gunpowder, carving out a home for themselves in the rich farmland of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The peace they enjoy is fragile, thanks to the Protector of Portland, Norman Arminger, who is ready to wage war to control the valley's farmland with methods derived from a medieval warlord: slavery, feudal oppression, and thugs running his army. The arrival of British survivors on a Tasmanian ship complicates matters, especially when they encounter Arminger first. The Mackenzie (i.e., clan leader), Juniper, brings a mystical attitude to the confrontation, and it begins to seem as though in this world without familiar technology, magic might in fact be just around the corner. The Bearkillers, meanwhile, are ever more influenced by Tolkien, thanks to the obsession of certain younger members. Stirling's blending of fiction and history produces a strange, hybrid civilization, in which the confrontation between warlord and mystic is viscerally satisfying. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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I've been here before, John Hordle suddenly realized, his thumb moving over the leather that covered the grip of his bow. Read the first page
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Jan. 5 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Simply put an amazing book, a little less action filled as the first and third and I think the author has a big affinity or love for forearm bracers. I personally shoot a bow and never use a bracer and always thought if the bow string struck your forearm you were doing something wrong. Personally its the only thing I dont like about the first 3 books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  172 reviews
97 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dammit, Steve, Get an Editor!!! Sept. 11 2005
By Walt Boyes - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been impatiently waiting for this book ever since Dies the Fire came out. I have to say I am disappointed. There are parts of the book that are WONDERFUL and there are what appear to be huge chunks missing from the plot and from the story, as if the editor (or Stirling himself) took an axe to the manuscript.

Lakaeditn is an old Hawaiian illness peculiar to extremely successful authors, similar to lakanookie, a disease peculiar to geeky kids.

What I think is that this book should have been edited much better.

For example, the book abruptly switches from Stirling's normal, and very well done, linear exposition mode, to retrograde exposition where the point of view starts to shift and then returns to the omniscient editor. Each time this happens, the book seems to start over. It is as if Stirling wrote four or five versions of the same book, and then shuffled the pages of the ms. together and sent it to the editor.

The thing that bothers me the most is that the book could have been and should have been one of the best books Steve Stirling has ever written. His writing style has improved, and his infatuation with kinky sex for the sake of kinky sex has been reduced to normal levels.

In addition, the bad guys become less like scary sociopaths and cardboard villains, and become real people. To be able to make us care about the Lord Protector and his wife, and about King Charles III is terrific writing.

Now I can go back to waiting to find out what really happens in the Protector's War, which still hadn't started by the epilogue.

Walt Boyes

The Bananaslug. at Baen's Bar
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly; okay, not slightly, QUITE disappointed. April 26 2006
By HerOdyssey - Published on
First of all; for a book about a Protector's War, there's very little war. There are just a few skirmishes and a kidnapping. The rest of the book was a babbling tangle of political infighting and conversations--as well as a predictable arrival of love interests from England. I do enjoy descriptive writing, especially when it involves the Northwest; however, much like Conquistador, there's simply too much of it sometimes, and it tends to take away from the plot. I do enjoy knowing that zoo animals now comprise the wildlife of this new world, but hearing it ten zillion times does get slightly old.

This book was a labour to finish. I kept expecting something to happen; and something actually did, on the final few pages, and then I was left hanging. That's a cruel device I thought this author might be above inflicting on his readers. It cannot hurt you to read this if you're want for something to keep your brain occupied (but active and engaged... I am doubtful those will be inspired by this book); however in truth, you probably won't miss much between Dies the Fire and Meeting at Corvallis (chapters of which have already been posted online)if you decide to skip this book. I'm sure other postings and reviews will summarize the new characters and drudging, and tiny forward movement of the continuing plot.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked, but did not love it Sept. 25 2005
By Andrew G. Mac Donald - Published on
SM Stirling is one of my top 5 sci fi authors. I honestly liked this book very quite a bit.

The Good:

The introduction of the British characters and the story of their travel from England to America. SM Stirling's clear writing style. Mr. Stirling's always great battle scenes.

The not as good:

The key to some of the complaints here stem from the pagan folks becoming one of the dominant forces in society. I found myself skipping through most of the sections invovlving the Wiccans and the invoking of their various entities, it really stretched my disbelief to the breaking point. The consolation is that this is fiction and in fiction anything is possible.


This book has a lot to reccomend it by. It continues the saga of all our pals from Dies the Fire. I would have preferred the focus to be less on the Wiccan folk though. They're kind of annoying.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars two point five but just disappointing! Oct. 12 2005
By P. M Simon - Published on
Well, I really didn't want to write a negative review of an S. M. Stirling novel; Mr. Stirling lives just up the road from me, is a fellow Newfie and shares many interests such as martial arts and history. I have enjoyed his books for many years.

That said, `The Protector's War' was really a disappointment. A disappointment because Mr. Stirling doesn't appear to have read any of the Amazon reviews of the first book in this series, "Dies the Fire." Large numbers of reviewers, myself included, commented on our dislike of all the Wiccan claptrap, of the negative portrayal of Christianity, and especially of the all-too-convenient emergence of handy characters and skill sets just when needed.

In volume two of this trilogy-to-be, these flaws are compounded by semi-flashbacks and a glacial pace of action. Really, we don't need to know about every trailside weed, especially if that knowledge comes at the cost of a molasses-like plot. Honestly, pretty much nothing happens in the first half of the book that couldn't be dealt with in a recap-forward and a couple tightly written paragraphs.

Yes, "The Protector's War' has strengths. It does a good recap, it is meticulous, and it is honest. All the favored characters from the first volume are back, and we are nicely brought up to date with the nine-years later plot. Also, although the editors didn't do great on this book, they restrained the author's tendency to write a lot of unconventional sex into his books.

I do hate to bust chops, but I really suggest Mr. Stirling go to some ghost towns (there are plenty near his home), abandoned industrial sites, old farms, and on some nature walks. Sorry, but nature does not reclaim buildings, roads, and infrastructure at a fraction of the speed he postulates. Who among us hasn't found a forty year old building still standing or a decades abandoned road quite passable. And that's in temperate climates!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boredom in Merrie Oregon Nov. 24 2006
By Guerilla Surgeon - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is so silly it deserves laughing at. So if you're a fan that reads Stirling uncritically, then stop reading now. Don't get me wrong, I read some of his stuff years ago that was excellent, and I generally quite like military S. F. and out of time stuff. But in that series people and practical problems and dealt with them in a practical way. This is nothing like that.

The scenario is this. Something has happened that stops stuff exploding, cannibalism is rife, and rugby has gained a goalkeeper who wears a helmet, so we're all cast back to mediaeval times. Well that's it in a nutshell -- not necessarily a bad idea, although the physics are suspect to say the least, so we might classify this as fantasy rather than science fiction.

The problem is not with the scenario, but what he makes of it. Parts of Oregon seem to be run by Wiccans and the sort of people who go to Renaissance fairs. Middle America will love this. They even say things like "Merry met" and " Ho, Samkin" and stuff. The archery instructor, who used to be with the SAS, says "let the grey geese fly"!!. Just as well he is tough, because otherwise someone would hold his head under water until he promised not to say that any more.

Not only that, but England is being run by King Charles the third. What ever gave him the idea that the Pom's would revert to tugging the old forelock to the gentry, particularly those who end a sentence with "what". Charles can't even pick his clothes up of the floor for god's sake, and I tell you what, homoeopathy ain't going to do much for a sword cut across the guts. I suspect it would be more a case of "throw another prince on the barbie." What is it about Americans and the British aristocracy - every second book a right has kings and emperors, lords and ladies - they should be glad they got rid of them. And Stirling shouldn't try northern dialect, it doesn't work chook, sorry.

This applies to the Aussies too. While I am genuinely appreciative of having people from my part of the world included in the book, I can't imagine any Australian saying "it's a big drongo of the ship". He'd be next on the barbie after Big Ears. Thank God he doesn't get started on us Kiwis.

I'm afraid the rest of the book i.e. fighting , which what we all sign up for, is merely okay, and largely derivative. Been done better. Stirling seems to think for instance that someone with a home-made bow can put 90% of their arrows inside a 2 inch strip at 250 yards. I suspect not - to say the least. And if I'm going to be picky about military matters, the SAS don't use the SA80. If you're writing military science fiction it pays to get that sort of thing right, because many of the people who read it are going to be knowledgeable, and anal retentive about that sort of thing. All in all, he's lost the plot. This book is worth reading perhaps if nothing better is available, but there is far better stuff out there.
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