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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 September 2005
This is the second in the trilogy that began with Dies the Fire (now available in paperback). It is now several years since a mysterious outside force (arbitrarily advanced aliens, the Powers, God? - no-one knows) subtly tweaked local physical constants and laws on Earth to take modern technology, from gunpowder and guns to electricity and engines, away from humanity. The dust is stating to settle after the catastrophic collapse of civilization into chaos and cannibalism,and for over 95% of humanity within months death from famine, violence and disease, which this Change brought. Across the luckier parts of the planet, new societies are starting to crystallise around enclaves of those survivors who managed to survive without sinking into savagery. The Protector's War is painted on a wider canvas, showing what happened in the rest of the World after the Change. As well as what the Change actually did to make our modern world suddenly impossible.
In the US Pacific Northwest, we meet again some of those surviving enclaves whose establishment in the first desperate months after the Change we followed in Dies the Fire. The semi-feudal Bearkillers, led by tough, competent former US Marine Mike Havel, the Wiccan Clan Mackenzie, under the chieftainship of former folk singer and neopagan priestess Juniper Mackenzie, Corvallis, organised around its University, the traditional Catholic monks of Mt. Angel and the ruthless faux-mediaeval feudal despotism of ex-history professor and medieval combat re-enactor, now Lord Protector, Norman Arminger and his ex-crime-gang and SCA henchpeople, based in the ruins of Portland, Oregon.
Meanwhile, in England swift, decisive action when the Change struck by a group of senior military officers,whilst the politicians dithered and then died, saved some of the Royal family and a nucleus of a few hundred thousand survivors based on the Isle of Wight. But now matters have come to a head between King Charles III and one of his top Army commanders as the King sinks into increasingly autocratic eccentricity. Whilst another surviving enclave of civilization, Tasmania, has recovered sufficiently to despatch a three-masted schooner on a survey voyage around the Changed world.
S.M. Stirling weaves these disparate threads into a gripping tale of action, adventure, flashes of humour and webs of intrigue. Buttressed by solid research and sustained, logical and intelligent extrapolation of the likely technological, social, cultural and other consequences of taking our species' technological toys away. Consequences for ordinary and not so ordinary people dropped into a suddenly extraordinary world. You don't have to have read the first volume of this trilogy to enjoy this one. Although after reading it you will probably want to. And you'll certainly be waiting eagerly for the final volume, due out next year. But you'll still enjoy The Protector's War for itself.
British readers will especially enjoy the substantial scenes set in the bizarre and yet eerily familiar land that is England eight years after the Change. Woburn Abbey turned into a prison guarded by axe-wielding Icelanders, Milton Keynes sinking in a sea of bramble and scrub, whilst knights joust beside Junction 14 of the M1 and former SAS troops battle cannibal bands with bow and sword in the ruins of Newport Pagnell. Tigers, wolves and hippos escaped from safari parks and zoos prowl the limits of a cultivated zone slowly being hacked from the scrub, thorn and returning wilderness of the Home Counties by English survivors augmented by refugees shipped in on surviving sailing ships from Iceland, the Faeroes and the isles off Scotland.
Readers everywhere will enjoy a well-told, intelligently thought-out tale by a writer who is increasingly being compared by critics with the late Poul Anderson (than which, in my view, there is no higher praise!) The whole scenario takes on a sinister contemporary relevance in the light of recent TV footage from the ruins of New Orleans. It is a pity this book and its predecessor in the trilogy are hard to get hold of in British bookshops - which is another reason to be thankful for Amazon!
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on 5 June 2007
Brilliant......pure page turning Brilliance.

I first came across S.M.Stirling via a boring day surfing Amazon. Amazon recommened me "Dies The Fire" the first book in this series and if you are considering starting with this book, I would strongly recommend starting at the beginning so you know the Characters and the start of this original story.

Im 17 and do most of my reading when I "hit the sack" I finished this book in a week a bleary eyed madness, literaly reading till I could no longer keep my eyes open.

I loved it and would honestely (and have) recommend this book to all friends and family. S.M. Stirling has impressed me so much that ive bought another series, linked to this and just as good, and also bought the next book in the seris in hardback which for a member of the "troubled binge drinking youth of today" surely shows how much I liked this book. The fact that some of it centres around England meant I was even more interested.

If you want more S.M. Stirling or just want to have a peak before you buy the book. Google Mr Stirling and go on HIS official site which contains long extracts from most of his works.
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on 24 July 2009
A brilliant book, I only discovered Stirling a couple of years ago and am in the process of reading all he has written, having just reread this for the third time the mistake on page 28 hit me again, probably only noticeable to us Brits "a leather rugby goalie's helmet" uh oh, no goalie's in rugby, so if anyone knows the authors email address he could change it to "a leather scrum cap"
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on 8 September 2006
Stirling just gets better and better - Introduced to his writing in his collaberation with Shirley Meier (Saber & Shadow series) I went onto the first class "General" series which he stopped just as it was getting repepetive and then I revelled in the superb "Islands in the sea of time" and was really disapointed that he left it incomplete (perhaps to return to it - I hope!)

In his latest and best series, "The Protectors War" continues where "Dies the Fire" left off and I cannot recommend this man's books too highly - They are well written and carefully plotted and I feel a sharp pang of pain when I finish one! In my opinion he is the best in the field at the moment (though I love the stories of David Weber almost as much)I have ordered the third in the series in advance - something I have never done before - and I eagerly await it. John Ringo should take lessons from this guy in how to avoid the pitfalls of change of direction when a topic has more or less played out. If you have not started this series or tasted Stirling's work in another book, get them today - you will thank me for the recomendation !
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on 17 January 2012
This is part of Sterling's great post apocalyptic series in which most high technology fails, ie engines, electricity, nuclear etc. There is a massive die off during the "change" and those left live in a kind of feudal, noble savage society. I have no problem with this, the books are great ripping yarns. My only beef, would be, as an Englishman, Sterling's portrayal of English characters and accents to be cringe makingly embarrassing, almost as bad as Dick Van Dyck in Mary Poppins, in one of his books he acknowledges someone who advised him on accents etc, my advice, don't listen to him Steve!!!
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on 23 February 2008
Having enjoyed the first volume in the series and being a sucker for post-apocalypse tales, I was looking forward to reading this. However, I found it dull to irritating. The first volume is packed full of interesting stuff about people struggling to cope with the changed world. In this volume the struggles are over and they are coping fine, which takes the edge off any tension in the plot. As does the fact that the war with the Protector promised in the title is sadly lacking.

What Stirling replaces these with are unbelievably cliched British characters (e.g. aristocracy jousting in platemail) and endless descriptions of exactly what armour people are wearing and how it was made, which is dull, dull, dull. I want characterisation, not an SCA fashion show.

In the end I skim read the last 50 or so pages, only reading in detail the bits with the characters I liked. Won't be buying the next volume!
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on 10 January 2013
A great read, having moved on from getting set up we now see what happened in Great Britain and elsewhere as well and the author nicely draws that into the main plotline of Willamette valley. I really recom mend it to prospective readers!
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on 1 September 2013
Been looking for a hardback copy for ages. A splendid addition to my S M Stirling collection. Great condition, recommended.
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on 20 September 2015
an excellent continuation of the series... and leaves you wanting to know .. how the heck are they going to resolve this
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on 29 May 2013
I quite enjoyed this book, but have to admit that I skimmed a lot of it. Too much fairly uninteresting descriptive stuff.

The stock English characters were terribly cliched too. Very unoriginal - they would have been better left in the 100 year old pages of Conan Doyle's historical novels.

May pick up another of his books, but that's not going to a high priority. A decent read, but no better than that.
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