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Saint Antony's Fire

Saint Antony's Fire [Kindle Edition]

Steve White

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Product Description

Product Description

In our universe, Ponce de León is remembered for his fruitless search for the mythical fountain of youth. But, in an alternate universe, his quest found something very different—and very dangerous. After his return to Spain, bizarre rumors flew about what he had found there, and what had come back with him.

Eighty-five years later, Spain sent a fleet of ships against England. The English were confident that they could repel the threat—but England's fleet was annihilated by weapons shooting beams of fiery light, weapons which seemed to employ the blackest of sorcery, even if they were wielded by odd-looking beings in monk's garb.

The Queen herself was forced to flee to the New World on Captain Thomas Winslow's ship, Heron, accompanied by her advisor Dr. Dee, whom some called a sorcerer, and an odd fellow named Shakespeare, hoping there to find the source of Spain's powerful weapons. But they would find far stranger matters there than they had expected, such as a grown woman who had been only an infant a year before, and eerie tales of a gate to another world with beings who were not human . . .

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (DRM Rights Management).

About the Author

Steve White completed a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Naval officer. With David Weber, he has collaborated on "Insurrection," "Crusade," "In Death Ground," and the "New York Times" best seller "The Shiva Option." His recent books for Baen include "Forge of the Titans," "The Prometheus Project"" "and "Blood of the Heroes."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 432 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Baen Books; 1 edition (1 Nov 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00APA4MA4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,191,442 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars E.T. meets alternate history 2 Sep 2009
By booksforabuck - Published on
Searching for the fountain of youth in Florida, Ponce de Leon comes across a strange metal structure. He gets his wish of long-lasting youth, but at a horrible price. Somehow his presence brings aliens back to life and these aliens establish themselves as a holy order. When Spanish King Phillip decides to launch the Armada against England, alien monks of the St. Anthony order go along...and use anti-matter technology to defeat the English fleet which, in our own world, harrassed the powerful Armada to its destruction.

With the English fleet destroyed, the Spanish army invades England, quickly routing the ill-trained volunteers who face them. Elizabeth faces exile. On the advice of her councilors, she decides to flee to the newly established colony of Roanoke, in Virginia. Her advisors have concluded that the aliens are searching for something in the Virginia area. If they can find it first, perhaps they'll be able to defend themselves against the horrific weapons from another dimension. Along with Elizabeth and her advisors, a young William Shakespeare tags along to provide comic relief.

From Native Americans in the Roanoke area, the English refugees learn of a mysterious place. Exploring, they fall through a gap between dimensions, landing in another version of Earth which was long-before invaded by the aliens currently attacking Earth. There they find allies. The aliens, or Grella, have invaded multiple dimensions. The locals have fought a guerilla war for centuries, and have learned to use some of the Grella technologies. Still, even their combined forces are outnumbered and outgunned by the powerful Grella.

Author Steve White mixes alternate future with E.T. in a generally enjoyable story. White's writing engages the reader, and his fight scenes were exciting and well-done. A couple of flaws and something that's perhaps personal taste kept me from giving this story an even higher rating. First, for me, the joy of alternate history is an author's vision of how the world is changed by different choices or events. In ST. ANTHONY'S FIRE, we didn't really get to see much of the alternate world and, in fact, spent a lot of time in a different dimension altogether. I also found the Shakespeare bits to feel forced, throwing me out of the suspension of disbelief needed for SFF. I also had a hard time with some of the basic premises. It was hard for me to believe that the Grella were not able to re-locate the lost dimension portal that the English found so easily. As they knew the rough area where the English had emerged, surely they would have brought their equipment to bear. Second, the notions that the Grella lost their ability to reproduce, yet seemed so fragile and died so easily, were hard to reconcile. Even with their ability to ressurect, they should be a dying species, certainly not an expansionary one. Third, that the Eilonwe are able to operate a guerilla war within miles of the main Grella base on their world strikes me as implausible.

I also had a hard time with the religious discussion and the willingness of the Europeans to accept that the Grilla (and Eilonwe) were extra-terestrial rather than demons. Elizabeth repeatedly argues that Catholics were not persecuted for their religion...only if they were traitors. Elizabeth's legitimacy depends on her rejection of Catholicism (otherwise her father's marriage to Elizabeth's mother was invalid and she loses any claim on the throne). In fact, Catholics were denied many basic rights for centuries in England. Likewise, Elizabeth and others quickly adopt modern ideas of female roles, with nobody being shocked about the beautiful ninja, Virginia Dare (who somehow independently developed kenjitsu fighting techniques and the katana). I love warrior-women in fiction, but I had a hard time believing Dare would be accepted so easily.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars slightly disappointing 12 April 2010
By Jonathan D. Herbst - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the book was a pleasant read, it left me wanting more. Especially after reading many of his other stories
4.0 out of 5 stars I needed this to help rebuilt my paper library 29 July 2013
By Susan Kerr - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I did the copyediting on this book back in 2008 and I always like to have mementos around.

This is not your classic pointy-headed alien sci-fi yarn. Well, yes, the grey aliens do make an appearance and are definitely the bad guys. But you also meet a William Shakespeare who you've never met before -- a scrappy kid with little experience of the wider world but ready to lend a hand in a crisis.

"St. Antony's Fire" will not show up in an anthology of the best sci-fi of the 21st century. On the other hand, if you're looking for a good yarn, think Good Queen Bess was one of the great historical broads and wonder what happened to Raleigh's Lost Colony, you're going to have fun reading it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Human Edge 21 Oct 2008
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on
Saint Antony's Fire (2008) is a standalone SF novel. In 1513, Ponce de Leon finds the Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately, it is located within a flying saucer.

In this novel, the Spanish Armada under the command of Don Alonzo Perez de Guzman el Bueno, Duke of Medina Sidonia and Captain General of the High Seas, is approaching Calais. The Duke has a low opinion of the Armada's chances for success. He is supposed to chase off the English ships, but they are faster and sail better than the Armada. His orders also tell him to join with the Duke of Parma, but Parma doesn't have the proper boats for the task.

Father Jeronimo is a Gray Monk -- an alien -- who is sailing with the Armada. He is better aware of the situation than Guzman. Indeed, he knows that the Armada cannot succeed without his assistance.

The English fleet has been harassing the Armada for some time, but their long guns are not as effective as they hoped. When the Spanish anchor offshore, the English are ready to send fireships among the galleons. The Spanish have had recent experience with such fireships and are likely to cut their anchors and scatter.

Father Jeronimo sends his assistants on pinnaces out to meet the fireships. The English expect such tactics and are not worried until the beams of antimatter start incinerating their ships. Very few of the English ships survive the massacre.

In this story, the Spanish invade England and the Principal Secretary prepares for the evacuation of the Queen. Elizabeth is not willing to leave, but Walsingham convinces her that staying would only result in her capture and death, totally demoralizing her subjects. It is clearly her duty to flee the enemy.

Captain Thomas Winslow is one of Walsingham's agents. His ship had been retained in England when the fleet left to fight the Armada. Now he will be responsible for taking the Queen, Walsingham and Doctor Dee to the new world. They are to sail to Roanoke Island where Raleigh's colony was landed.

Walsingham has discovered that the Spanish are sailing to the new world to look for something in the vicinity of the colony. Doctor Dee has planned a voyage straight across the Atlantic to beat the Spanish to the colony. John White -- leader of the colonists -- is in England and will be returning with them to Roanoke.

Winslow's ship -- the Heron -- will be sailing with the Greyhound. Both ships are overloaded with passengers and baggage. Even their gun decks are filled with supplies. Hopefully they will not have to fight before reaching the colony.

After reaching the colony, they find that none of the settlers are on the island. They do find an inscription on a tree that indicates that they have sailed to another island. Winslow is reluctant to take the time to sail to Croatoan with another hurricane approaching, but he decides to search for the colonists. Then only one man is found on the other island.

The Indians tell a strange story of the colonists walking into a cleared area and fading away. Naturally, Queen Elizabeth wants to see the area and the Indians watch as the newcomers also fade away. After a period of total darkness, the group find themselves elsewhere.

This tale involves the gray aliens associated with Area 51, but a little earlier in time. The Grell are true villains who are conquering Europe through the Holy Roman Church and King Philip II of Spain. Nothing can stop them, except maybe a stout-hearted group of Englishmen under Queen Elizabeth I.

The story is the reverse of usual invasion tales. Naturally, the invaders have more advanced technology, but the humans have unknown powers that negate the alien advantages. Enjoy!

Recommended for White fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of alien invaders, interdimensional travel, and a bit of Shakespeare.

-Arthur W. Jordin
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History turned sideways 22 Nov 2008
By Tom in Texas - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was a lot of fun to read, and it kept my interesting all the way through. The premise is simple -- Ponce de Leon's search for the Fountain of Youth doesn't turn up the fountain, but does stumble upon the wreckage of an alien spaceship.

From that premise, the result is a pretty wild ride -- aliens in the Spanish Armada that attempted to invade England. Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth as part of a group fighting those aliens on another world. While some of it isn't especially plausible, it is all fun to read.
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