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The Scourge of God: A Novel of the Change [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

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

Oct. 13 2008 Emberverse (Book 5)
Rudi MacKenzie continues his trek across the land that was once the United States of America. His destination: Nantucket, where he hopes to learn the truth behind the Change that rendered technology across the globe inoperable.

During his travels, Rudi forges ties with new allies in the continuing war against the Prophet, who teaches his followers that God has punished humanity by destroying technological civilization. And one fanatical officer in the Sword of the Prophet has been dispatched on a mission: to stop Rudi from reaching his destination by any means necessary.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This vivid sequel to 2007's The Sunrise Lands opens in 2021, a generation after the Change that brought magic back into the world and made electric and explosive power inoperative. New post-industrial societies have risen, some seeking to restore technology and some celebrating its demise. One of the latter is the Church Universal and Triumphant, a group of genocidal Luddites with a prophetic theology that is more Dark Ages than New Age. Clan leader Rudi MacKenzie frequently butts heads with the Cutters and their Prophet as he struggles to cross the devastated Eastern Death Zones and reach Nantucket Island, birthplace of the Change, where he hopes to understand and perhaps reverse the replacement of technology with myth and magic. Stirling (The Sunrise Lands) eloquently describes a devastated, mystical world that will appeal to fans of traditional fantasy as well as post-apocalyptic SF. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Stirling is a perfect master of keep-them-up-all-night pacing, possibly the best in American sf." ---Booklist Starred Review

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sequel Nov. 7 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have really enjoyed the "Dies The Fire" 3 books serie. This second book of the "Change" serie is - again - S.M. Stirling at his best. Hummm... does he ever write a bad book?
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  84 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Addition to Stirlings Change Series Oct. 10 2008
By Scott Masterton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
S.M. Stirling hooked me with his first novel of the Change series "Dies the Fire". Stirling does an outstanding job of describing what might happen should all of our technology cease to function; no electricity, gasoline powered engines, and more importantly gun powder no longer functions. In the earlier novels he skates around the "why's" and goes right to the "How do we function now"? How do his characters survive; and what type of government will function in a world without technology? The answer is simple. Man returns to his tribal roots and a feudal system of governance fills the void.

While the first novels were about survival and war and the Earth's rise of the nerds (Witches with pretend Irish/Scot accents, people that believe they're elves from a Tolkien novel and recreationists are the new leaders), "The Scourge of God" is about Spiritual beliefs, prophets and messiah's. Stirling seems to be taking a page right from Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Now that man can again feed himself, he is searching for spirit and a reason for being. The world is beginning to change into a place of magic. Does the magic create the new beliefs and Gods, or does the belief itself create the magic? We don't know yet, but it will be interesting to find Stirlings views on this in his upcoming novels.

I found the "Scourge of God" to be a great read with plenty of action and hints at things to come. I anxiously await Stirlings next novel of the change.
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A deeper descent into fantasy Sept. 28 2008
By James L. Gillaspy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From chapter nine:
"Long tables were set out buffet-style, with chefs in white hats waiting to carve the roasts and hams; whole yearling steers and pigs and lamb roasted over firepits behind them, the attendants slathering them with fiery sauce wielding their long-handled brushes like the forks of devils in the Christian hell."

The writing is flowery, with long, complex sentences hiding much ado about little, as our heroes, who call themselves such, make their way, mostly on horseback, across a vast continent once peopled by a homogeneous citizenry, but now inhabited by cannibals, remnants calling themselves the United States government, local dictators, religious fanatics, devils and gods.

That's enough of that. This series started, years ago in real time, as science fiction. It is now irretrievably fantasy. Or if it's not, the author has me completely fooled. The protagonists are on their way to Nantucket Island (remember that original series?) and, at the rate they are going based on the map in the front of the book, there are at least one or two more travelogs masquerading as novels to go before they get there. And then they have to find their way back.

Sterling's imagination is almost without living peer, I'll give him that, but things used to happen in his novels.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Series filler material? Mostly. But still pretty good. July 6 2009
By cabinet of curiosities - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you were to take out all of the songs, hymns, prayers, and poems that are quoted in the text, the book would slim down by a good 20%. Now, such things can give context and texture to a story, but enough already. A 7 or 8 verse song/poem (and there's more than one) is a sign that a heavier-handed editor is needed. Also, if you have been reading the entire series thus far, a good bit of the descriptions of bow making & so on have been covered at length in previous volumes.

The story seems unevenly paced; there will be a LONG description of, say, the craft of scouting (similar to a number of passages we've already read in previous books) and then a dramatic plot event will be all but skipped over. For example, a character is killed while in the care of one group of our story's protagonists. Yet, when the protagonists rejoin the family of the dead character (whose death causes a good bit of anguish on the part of a main character), presumably there is a dramatic interchange between these two - the sad telling of the news, the family's reaction, etc. But as far as the text is concerned, the two groups merely reassemble, serenely spend a little more time together, and then part ways again.

While Stirling has clearly thought out what a post-technological society might become, I have a quibble with a few of the conclusions he has reached - namely, that all morally good, intelligent people will come to the same conclusions. All the splinter groups - the people who take on the trappings of Ancient Greece, the Wiccans, etc - they fall deeply into these identities, even those who were adults at the time of the Change. I just don't see how this would be natural - for a modern, contemporary person to become, in 22 years, a peplos-wearing person who swears by Minerva and Jupiter, or a plaid-wearing person who thinks of the Lady and devoutly follows Wiccan practices. Maybe the attire makes sense, and I can see how the people born after the Change, or those who were kids, would buy completely into the splinter society's identity, but for those who were adults and became adults in our contemporary society? I don't see that kind of thing being so fluid. Also, I find it odd that people everywhere in this new, splintered remnant of our current world - where there is no real long distance communication, and no more common society (what with all the tribal identity stuff) use the same terms to refer to certain things - 'the Change', 'the Eaters'. Common sense says that there would be different terms for these. Even today, with mass worldwide communication, the events of Sept. 11 are referred to in a number of different ways - '9-11', 'the WTC bombing', 'September 11th', '911', etc. But in Changeverse, everybody everywhere uses the same terms.

The author does have a boundless imagination. This IS an interesting series, but I give Scourge of God 3 stars as it feels like a place holder to me. I don't mind the fantasy elements (the demonic possession, the hint of extraterrestrial interest in Earth as a cause of the Change, etc). I will almost certainly read the rest of the books, but am keenly hoping that this series isn't stretched out much more than it has been already.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know how much more I can take Dec 21 2008
By Clifford J. Walk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I haven't read the original series but picked this up with Dies The Fire and on through Meeting at Corvallis and the last book, The Sunrise Lands. I'm mainly a science fiction reader but also like a good fantasy novel. This series, started out as post apocalyptic (science fiction's little brother) but has been devolving into fantasy. The Scourge of God is apparently the Prophet, a religious madman working out of Wyoming and the upper midwest. Ok, I can deal with that. But why do his minions, the Seekers, talk in bold type and are almost impossible to kill? Why is Rudi getting visions? For that matter, this whole quest they are on to the East coast is taking on more and more the trappings of The Lord of the Rings. And as another reviewer noted, it's probably going to take them at least two more books to get to Nantucket. And then 4 more to get back? We could have another Time of Wheels (I mean Wheels of Time) on our hands, a story which the author doesn't know how to end. Like I said, I don't know how much more of this I can take.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to Advance the Story Sept. 20 2008
By zattarra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've got to be the dissenter apparently on this one as all other reviews are 4s and 5s. But I have read all the books in this series and most have accomplished quite a bit, but this one did nothing to help advance the story. Really, the overall plot between the beginning of this book and the end of this book hasn't advanced the story. It's moved geographically but not plot wise. Still no answers to what is going on and we'll probably never find out the cause of the change at this point.

If you have never read any of the other books in this series you'll be highly confused here, and if you have read them and were hoping to get somewhere with this story in this book, sorry.
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