4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Island in the Sea of Time (Mass Market Paperback)
I simply could not put this book down (sorry boss)! S. M. Stirling's ongoing series--of Nantucket Yankees ingeniously evolving the future while "cast away" into the Bronze Age three thousand years past--is a fascinating twist on the "alternate futures" genre of science fiction. Island in the Sea of Time is a wonderfully realized story of a modern peoples' struggle to adjust and survive in a time of great dislocation and desperate adversity. Transporting an entire group of modern Americans back in time means Stirling can legitimately give them modern politically correct personalities, and most effectively contrast these with Bronze Age mores. Thus understanding our heroes' modern motivations is "simpler" than in the "Byzantine" Videssos Cycle of Harry Turtledove, Stirling's model. The characters are very well drawn and differentiated, nor are we stuck only with laconic New Englanders as this colony in time expands. Only one person is a caricature, a New Age Environmentalist "Nazi" who is set up for a very bad end. I had real empathy for the desperate straits of the Nantucket Islanders isolated from everything familiar, and for the tension and anxiety regarding survival as the dire implications of their limited supplies unfolds. The tight focus on a small group of (once-fellow) Americans is highly involving: my god, what would I do if totally totally cut off from the 20th century? As an archaeologist I found Stirling's fleshing out of bare Beaker and Wessex Culture artifacts (like Stonehenge) to be marvelous, if incidental, fun.