Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Scourge of God-S.M. Stirling

The Scourge of God
S.M. Stirling
Roc, Sep 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 0451462289

It has been twenty-three years since the Change when earth plunged into a pre-electric era. Mankind scrambled to survive as over ninety percent of the population died. Clan Mackenzie led by High Priestess Juniper and the Bearkillers thrived on the land while the dictator who wanted to rule perished (see THE SUNSET LAND). However a new danger has arisen; the prophet Sethaz and his flock slowly infiltrate the people surrounding Juniper and her people; he and his followers recruit or kill based on their cause being godly.

Meanwhile Juniper’s son Rudi and other friends and warriors from home journey east across what was once the proud United States of America towards Nantucket where he hopes to learn more about The Change. The Lady sent a messenger Ingolf from Nantucket to pick up The Sword and bring it home. The prophet knows of Rudi’s quest and sends his best assassins to prevent him from succeeding. At the same time the President of the United States of Boise, who got the job by committing patricide allies with the prophet because he wants to expand into Pendleton with Mackenzie’s Western Oregon after that but they go to war to stop him.

This second tale in the second saga switches from the post apocalyptic thriller to a “Greek” Tragedy as the Gods manipulate and guide their followers and sinners. Readers observe dark demonic possessions and frightening futuristic visions while scrying and other magic takes the saga in a new direction. Fans will remain enthralled once the shock lets up as the tale is filled with action, strong characters in conflict, vivid descriptions of a battered dying land trying to come back to life two plus decades since the Change, and a great cliffhanging climax.

Harriet Klausner

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