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on 29 April 2012
I'm not sure when, but something happened to the Change series.... it changed. It ceased to be Post-apocalyptic and became Fantasy. There was always that slightly worrying fantasy element to the early Change series but it was held in abeyance by having to tell a tale of survival in a nightmare world... now... Well, it's tales of derring-do and noble knights and jolly archers, of Norse warriors and splendid Redskins, all worshipping their gods and getting a response! I think we're entering a universe of caricature and cliche... The goodies are very good and the baddies are pure evil... until the goodies get them to see the light.
There's lots of travel and fighting, super description and a skill at painting a picture in your head... oh Stirling is very good at his craft... but there's also a lot of feasting. Stirling's descriptions of the feasts with their blood sausage and kielbasa, hocks of venison and beef, and beer and wine and... well it goes on and just READING it puts fat on your arteries! But be careful Mr stirling... I'm still enjoying them and you can stir the heart occasionally.... but it's a bit too much like Lord of the Rings!
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on 24 January 2018
As described
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on 2 April 2015
I like all of the books in this series - in fact I like all of his work. Great escapism.
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on 4 January 2014
The condition of the book was very poor. Pages riffled and creased and the book looked as if it had been wet and dried out. Some staining.
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on 31 August 2014
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on 7 October 2010
High King is the fourth instalment in SM Stirling's Sunrise Lands series set 24 years after the Change - the point when all modern technology stopped working. It carries on directly from the previous book with Rudi having found the Sword of the Lady. This book follow Rudi and his companions as they make their way back across America to Montival, the new Kingdom in the Pacific North-West he seems destined to rule.

As with the rest of the books this is a cracking yarn and in this case really moves the story on. No spoilers but it does reach something of a culmination although there are at least two more books in the series. For this reason I would rate it a bit higher than some of the previous works that were all too clearly "middle" books in the series. As with the whole series some of the greatest interest is in the varied societies that have developed in the years since the change - massively different depending on the nucleus of survivors around which they formed.

As mentioned this is the fourth book in a series and there were three books in the previous Dies the Fire series so I would strongly recommend reading these first. The Emberverse (as the alternate world of Dies the Fire is known) won't make much sense starting with the High King of Montival. Personally I enjoy Stirling's work enormously but not everybody does - all I can say is that if you like this sort of thing you will enjoy this! (If anyone wants to try before buying check out smstirling.com where sample chapters of each of the books is available.)
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on 4 January 2011
Having followed the novels of "The Change" since the brilliant opening trilogy it is fair to say that S M Stirling deserves every accolade spewed liberally on the ROC jacket. His simple post-apocalyptic vision that has Nantucket returned to an early Bronze Age earth and the subsequent impact on the current timeline of the remainder of Earth - that electricity and high explosive do not work - has paved the way for the greatest alternative history series of the past decade.
Rudi Mackenzie - Artos - has claimed the Sword of the Lady. The merge of pre-Change literary romance novels and epic sagas into what Astrid Loring deems the Fifth Age moves us ever closer to a new imagining of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights. It remains to be seen if the round table will make a pine-timbered appearance in future novels. Rudi has his Exacalibur, has danced with a symbiosis of Nimue and the Moirae, and lived to tell the tale. This seventh novel follows Rudi as he treks back westwards to his people in order to unite a land, bring a vast army to bear against the Church of the Universal Truth, consolidate his own power and marry Mathilda. Along the way he sweeps up Bjarni, new King of the Norrheim and defeats a large Cutter force at a key ranch in Darnheller before his triumphal return.
This novel is one of transition. It will prove the glue between the search for the Sword and Rudi's role as Ard-Righ in the books to come. To be honest, little actually happens in the 481 pages and it is very slow for the first part, dealing with Rudi's coming to terms with who he is and ensuring a groundswell of support for him. The irritation of the Tolkien-obsessed Dunedain-wannabes continues and there are terse flickers of exasperation with the gullibility in some of the characters who fervently cling to the notion of Tolkien's stories as true Histories. Still, it does drive home the point that history is written by either the deluded winners or the powerfully charismatic. Anyway, this aside science is losing its grip on Earth and magic is beginning to seep back into the very air. A magic deeply rooted in Celtic and Norse mythology. It actually reminds me of that other current series written by another maestro - Terry Brooks. His "Word and the Void" series is acutely similiar to Stirling in his transition from apocalypse to a "purer, somehow more noble" medieval/faerie world. It's interesting to see how Stirling (who is behind Brooks from a development of this notion) parallels the advancement from 21st century Earth to Shannara-esque idealism. Then again, it would be interesting to have the Change reverse and see how everyone gets on with electricity back in place.
So, "The High King of Montival". Expertly handled by the undisputed current master of alternative historical fiction. I hope this series continues for many books to come. I'd've given it 5-stars but I find Astrid Loring's almost narcissistic obsession with Tolkien a touch too irritating.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2011
This 7th novel in S M Stirling's After the Change saga is one of the best. The quest to save the world (well North America really) nears its climax... although there is room for one or two more episodes.

The hero Rudi is now titled High King of Mondival and is returning from his quest to return the Sword of the Lady to the Pacific Northwest and slay the bad guys all set in a world that for about 25 years has been without any form of combustible or electric power.

The story is a real heroes and villains adventure with a bit of King Arthur thrown in. Mr Stirling has stuck to his theme well throughout this series and continues to do so here but he does require the reader to suspend logical thought. Perhaps not a bad thing ...

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on 15 March 2015
The start off a very enthralling series. Lots of interesting characters and concepts regarding our dependence on technology, leadership, clashes of ideologies peopled by believable characters.
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