Dies the Fire - S.M. Stirling - NEW Book
Paperback - the first Book in "The Change"
Dies the Fire chronicles the struggle of two groups who try to survive "The Change", a sudden worldwide event that alters physical laws so that electricity, gunpowder and most forms of high-energy-density technology no longer work. As a result, modern civilization comes crashing down.
Michael Havel, a former Marine turned bush pilot, is in the air over the Bitterroot mountains in Idaho when The Change occurs on March 17, 1998. His passengers are wealthy industrialist Kenneth Larsson, Larsson's wife Mary, and their three teenage children, twins Eric and Signe, and Astrid. When the plane's engine and electronics are knocked out, Mike makes an emergency crash landing. Everyone survives, though Mary is seriously injured. The party makes its way through rough terrain to a ranger cabin in the woods. Mike and Eric then hike out to the highway, but discover the widespread effect of the Change. They encounter a trio of racist survivalists on horseback who have taken prisoner a black man named Will Hutton and his family. Mike and Eric rescue the family, but the survivalists escape. Mike and Eric pursue them to the cabin where the rest of the Larssons are waiting. By the time Mike and Eric catch up, they have murdered Mary, and are attempting to rape Signe and Astrid. All three survivalists are killed. The Huttons, who breed and train horses, join Mike's band. The group elects Mike as their leader and decide to head for Larsdalen, the Larsson family estate in the western Willamette Valley in Oregon. Along the way, Astrid shoots a black bear with her bow, which only provokes it into attacking. It seriously wounds Mike before they manage to kill it. The event gives the group its name: the Bearkillers.
On the journey, the Bearkillers begin recruiting other survivors. The Bearkillers are hired by a group near a Nez Perce reservation to find and wipe out a nest of cannibals; in accomplishing their mission, they rescue a number of captives. Mike and Signe become attracted to each other, though she keeps him at arms length, still horrified by the memory of her near-rape.Later, when the group has grown larger, Mike takes two companions to scout the way ahead. In Portland, Mike meets Norman Arminger, leader of the Portland Protective Association. Arminger, a former professor of medieval history and member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), is reinstating feudalism by recruiting gang members and former SCA members, and driving those he does not want or need out of the city. Arminger offers the Bearkillers positions as Protectorate nobles, but Mike declines.On the way back, Mike and his men save Juniper Mackenzie and her friends, who are on their own reconnaissance mission. Mike and Juniper are attracted to each other and have sex before the two small groups go their separate ways. The encounter leaves Juniper pregnant.
The Bearkillers later hire themselves out to a local sheriff to fight "Duke Iron Rod", who is raiding the Camas Prairie region. The Bearkillers trap and wipe out a raiding party, but while they are away, a traitor helps a second group enter and attack the Bearkillers' camp. In the fighting, Ken Larsson loses his left hand, but Mike and his men return in time to rout the attackers and capture Iron Rod for later hanging. The Bearkillers also take part in a raid on a Protectorate castle, which Arminger had constructed to control an important route over the Cascades. After the Bearkillers reach Larsdalen, Mike and Signe become engaged.
The parallel story of the formation of Clan Mackenzie begins with Juniper Mackenzie, a folksinger and Wiccan priestess. Juniper is performing in a restaurant in Corvallis when The Change occurs. She, along with her deaf teenage daughter Eilir, and their friend Dennis Martin, try to aid victims of an airliner crash in the city. When a bunch of looters realize that guns no longer work, they attack a policeman. Dennis and Juniper go to help him. Juniper kills one of the attackers and his companions flee, but one of them, Eddie Liu vows to avenge his dead friend. Liu later becomes one of Arminger's barons. Juniper, Dennis and Eilir gather supplies, retrieve her horses and wagon, and head for Juniper's cabin in central Oregon. On the way, refugees attack them for their food. Eilir is forced to shoot a woman with her bow; the woman's companions flee, but Juniper and Dennis take pity on the wounded woman and her young son, allowing them to join the group. Some of Juniper's coven members also make their way separately to Juniper's cabin, after rescuing a dozen school children abandoned on a school bus.
The nascent Clan starts to farm the land. To supplement their food reserves, Juniper and Dennis go hunting and stumble upon Sam Aylward, a former member of the elite British Special Air Service and a superb archer and bowyer as well. He had been injured after falling into a steep ravine and had become trapped. Later, Juniper takes a few companions to scout the surrounding area. They arrive in Corvallis, Oregon, where they discover that the faculty of Oregon State University has taken over the governing of the town. On their way home, they are ambushed by a group of cannibals, but are saved by Mike and his Bearkillers. A night or two later, she and Mike have sex, conceiving a child.
Upon returning home, Juniper finds that the nearby town of Sutterdown has been attacked and occupied by Protectorate troops. Juniper agrees to lead the Clan against the occupiers and drives them out of the town.The Clan has a successful first harvest, but problems elsewhere dampen this happy occasion. Sam Aylward is sent to lead a group of Mackenzie archers to aide the Bearkillers' raid against a Protectorate castle. They are successful and even manage to force the surrender of a second castle.Juniper gives birth to a son, whom she names Rudi in memory of her dead husband. During Rudi's wiccaning, Juniper is overcome by inspiration which causes her to give him the craft name of Artos and to pronounce a prophecy declaring him "the Sword of the Lady."
About The Emberverse series or "The Change"
Though the Change caused a large loss of life everywhere, Oregon suffered rather less than most places of similar population density. Though losing over 95% of its population, it was spared being turned into a 'death zone' with no survivors at all except the more successful cannibal bands. This is what usually happened in areas around large cities, like Portland. There were several reasons for this. First much of the population of Portland, the largest city, was forced out by the Portland Protective Association (PPA) and either died en masse or joined the tens of thousands congregated in large refugee camps around Salem. Second the Oregon state government prevented the refugees from foraging in the rural areas, except for government approved groups mounted on bicycles, This protected the rural areas from losing their food and supplies, especially since the citizens of small towns and farmers tended to fight the foraging groups successfully. Third, the large amount of people living in refugee camps with limited medical supplies became susceptible to disease. Thanks to strict quarantine methods, the rural communities in Oregon were spared the worst effects of the plague. Post-Change Oregon history is then marked with attempts by the PPA to conquer the entire Willamette Valley, but the southern communities led by the Bearkillers and Clan Mackenzie successfully oppose them. The last attempt is called the War of the Eye or the Protector’s War, and ended with the death of Lord Protector Arminger at the hands of Lord Bear Havel. The end of the war saw the PPA ending their attempts at conquest south and the creation of “The Meeting”, a United Nations like organization dedicated to keeping the peace among the different factions in the valley.
Due to the difficulties in communicating across the world caused by the Change, information on the rest of the world is scant. Some information, however, has been revealed. In Great Britain the royal family and others were evacuated to the Isle of Wight to protect them from the starving rioters of the cities. A couple years later resettlement began from Wight and other islands and farmland was once again reestablished in England and continental Europe. Contact was made with other parts of the world, including Iceland, which removed a substantial portion of its population to Britain in order to survive. Gibraltar (which had started to colonize southern Spain and Morocco), Ulster, and Prince Edward Island all survived and swore loyalty to the British government and along with the new territories being colonized in Europe and North Africa, leading to a rebirth of the British Empire. Tasmania and New Zealand also recognized British sovereignty over them, but due to distance this is only a symbolic gesture. Other parts of Europe also survived the Change and prospered. Parts of Scandinavia that survived formed the nation of "Norrland" and divided Western Europe with Britain along the Rhine river. Parts of Ireland besides Ulster survived including the Republic of the Shannon and, in the north, the Republic of Ireland (Provisional), called "Provoland," a fanatical Republican entity to the immediate west and south of the Principality of Ulster. In Italy two nations arose out of the Change: Sicily and the Umbrian League. Not much has been revealed of Eastern Europe, though it has been reported it had a better survival rate than Western Europe.
The Pope died in the Vatican at the time of the Change but Cardinal Ratzinger fled to Umbria where the connections with the worldwide Roman Catholic church were reestablished in time for his election as the new Pope. Probably the greatest post-Change success of the Roman Catholic Church was reunification with the Church of England and the crowning of the British monarch as Emperor of the West. For a time Europe was threatened by raids from pirates out of the Canary Islands, supported by the Emir of Dakar. A coalition of European nations joined together to retake the Canary Islands and then destroy their bases on mainland Africa. Information on the rest of the world is scanty. Merchants from Astoria and Newport have been trading at several ports in Asia, including one named New Singapore. Parts of South America apparently survived, given that Cardinals from there participated in the election of the new Pope. Sicily has colonized Libya while a scattering of African city-states have survived along the coast of the continent including Cape Town.
About the Author S.M Stirling
Stephen Michael Stirling is a French-born Canadian-American science fiction and fantasy author. Stirling is probably best-known for his Draka series of alternate history novels and the more recent time travel/alternate history Nantucket series and Emberverse series. S.M. Stirling novels Go Tell The Spartans and Prince of Sparta are set in Jerry Pournelle's "CoDominium" future history.S.M. Stirling's novels are generally conflict-driven and often describe military situations and militaristic cultures. In addition to his books' military, adventure & exploration focus, he often describes societies with cultural values significantly different from modern western views. One of S.M Striling's recurring topics is the influence of the culture on an individual's outlook and values, with a particular emphasis on the idea that most people and societies consider themselves (mostly) moral. Stirling also has a fascination with technological development, and frequently turns to explorations of this within the context of many of his novels. The Draka for instance, chose and faced a different imperative in their conquest of Africa, and turned earlier to breech-loading firearms and steam power than the rest of the Western World. The stranded islanders of Nantucket must try to rebuild their technological base once the island is stranded in 1250 BC, while the dazed survivors of the 'Change' now face a world where electricity, firearms, and internal combustion no longer work. In the past S.M Stirling has frequently collaborated with other authors, including David Drake, Jerry Pournelle, Anne McCaffrey and Raymond E. Feist.
Dies the Fire - S.M. Stirling - NEW Book - A Novel of the Change
In stock-ready to post on Tuesday