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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling

The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling. New York: Roc, 2005. ISBN: 0-451-46046-4

You won't be interested in reading this book unless you've read the first volume in the trilogy, Dies the Fire, and even then, only if you enjoyed the story and the characters or the setting enough to compel your interest into the sequel volumes. This book is basically marking time, filling space until we have the grand finale battle that has been inevitably building since the beginning.

Nothing much of any significance happens in this second volume, except the capture of the Lord Protector's daughter by the Celtic Wiccan contingent, and the almost but barely thwarted turn about capture of the witch queen's (as she's called by her enemies) son in retaliation. Thwarted, because, of course, nothing really nasty ever happens to the good guys. Some of their people get killed and/or seriously wounded, but never any of the really significant characters.

Stirling spends quite a bit of time on a side plot, as we follow a few sturdy Brits as they escape from batty King Charles and his Icelandic queen. This gives us the opportunity of finding out how the change has affected Europe and even Australia and Africa to some degree. Totally irrelevant to the main story, but we're marking time, as I said, and we need something to fill out this middle volume.

The title is a misnomer, as there really isn't any war in this volume, just a few skirmishes. The only real reason I persisted through it was (as I've mentioned before) because of the subject headings so carefully assigned by the Library of Congress: “Willamette River Valley (Or.)—Fiction” and “Regression (Civilization)—Fiction” and “Oregon—Fiction.” You can find maps, flags and other related information here. Marginally recommended for those who read the first volume and want more, but you'll have to wait for the third and final volume, A Meeting at Corvallis, due out in September, to learn how it all turns out.

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