"The Best of Fantasy and Post-Apocalyptic Novels Combine In Book Four of the Change Series"
Reviewed by Diana Troldahl
Posted January 30, 2011
Science Fiction Alternate History
THE HIGH KING OF MONTIVAL is set 25 years after The Change
chronicled in the Dies the Fire series. The children born on
the cusp of change are reaching adulthood and forging a new
life one step removed from the ashes of the past. Rudi has
succeeded in retrieving the Lady's sword and is on his way
back across a battle-torn continent to the newly minted
kingdom of Montival, re-encountering characters from the
previous books as he travels back home.
New alliances form to fight the Iowans, led by rabid
religious evangelists who have become possessed by an evil
force. The highly disciplined troops are a huge threat both
to Montival and the other established governments in the
west, creating the need for cooperation lest they be crushed
individually as the army advances.
Meanwhile, in the East the same force is pushing outward to
the coast using the wild tribesmen in the area. The priest
mages who lead them need not worry about loss of men, they
merely forcibly convert more. The Lady's sword is a powerful
talisman and more, giving Rudi, now Artur, a gods-eye view
of the situations his band encounters.
As always, Stirling manages to focus on the microcosm while
guiding the large-scale events in the series. His characters
travel a land made unfamiliar to the reader through the
cataclysmic loss of the infrastructure of industrial
society. His imagination has populated his world with
societies based on the best and worst of humanity. Those who
gained power were in part those who had studied the past.
Members of the Society of Creative Anachronism hold many of
the skills needed to survive in the new paradigm. He also
has a lot of fun, as in the group based on the Histories as
'translated' by J. R. R. Tolkein. I also enjoy the way the
detritus of pre-change industrialization are scavenged and
used in for survival.
Stirling's series combines the best of fantasy and
post-apocalyptic genres but rises above them both with his
long vision and skill in creating compelling
characters, no matter how large or small their role. THE
HIGH KING OF MONTIVAL is Book four of seven in the Change
series (Emberverse series II).
The New York Timesbestselling author continues his post-
apocalyptic series chronicling a modern world without
technology. With The Sword of the Lady, Rudi Mackenzie's
destiny was determined. Now he returns to Montival in the
Pacific Northwest, where he will face the legions of the
To achieve victory, Rudi must assemble a coalition of those
who had been his enemies a few months before and forge them
into an army that will rescue his homeland. Only then will
Rudi be able to come to terms with how the Sword has changed
him, as well as the world, and assume his place as Artos,
High King of Montival...
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