Friday, August 24, 2007
07.11 The Protector's War
The Protector's War (2005) by S. M. Stirling
Pbk, Roc Books, 590 p.
The second novel in this trilogy begins 8 years after the time of the Change where all forms of power and combustion stopped working across the world and in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Portland is controlled by a psychotic ex-history professor who has modeled his leadership like an overlord. He calls himself The Protector and maintains an expansionist policy against all the other communities in the valley.
As in the last book, the protagonists are the communities led by June Mackenzie and Mike Havel. The Mackenzie clan has become the most successful agriculturally and in the development of a community. It is like a combination of Braveheart and Lord of the Rings. The other colony of Mike Havel's Bearkillers is the toughest army around with deadly archers and mounted knights.
In this book the author brings in a third plotline from England. There, society and survivors retreated to the smaller islands surrounding the UK after The Change and have rebuilt a monarchist system based in the south. An older knight, his son and their companion fall afoul of King Charles (!) and his evil new Danish wife. They eventually end up on a Tasmanian ship and thence to America where they play in integral part in the books conclusion.
The Protector's War comes off as a typical middle novel of a trilogy - the reader is already familiar with the characters and milieu so there is lots of filler to get us through to the climactic final book. In fact, there is not even a war with the Protector; it's all set-up. The book is well written and there are a number of excellent scenes. I just found that the author becomes pedantic in his descriptions. He goes too far into the minutiae of harvesting wheat, building a bow, making clothes or what have you. The pacing suffers.
I have the final novel, Meeting At Corvallis, and will report on it soon.
Posted by Jason L