The Protector's War
A Novel of the Change
It’s been eight years since the Change rendered technology inoperable across the globe. Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel’s Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan Mackenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper Mackenzie. Their leadership has saved countless lives.
But not every leader has altruistic aspirations. Norman Arminger, medieval scholar, rules the Protectorate. He has enslaved civilians, built an army, and spread his forces from Portland through most of western Washington State. Now he wants the Willamette Valley farmland, and he’s willing to wage war to conquer it.
And unknown to both factions is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers...
Stirling's Dies the Fire began an alternative history trilogy with a stunning premise: in 1998, the laws of nature suffered a mysterious change: gunpowder can't explode, electrical devices don't work-in short, the last 250 years of high-tech gadgetry suddenly are useless. This sequel shows what has happened to the world since the collapse of civilization. A group of people in the Pacific Northwest have joined together to rediscover old skills; Mike Havel, leader of the Bearkillers clan, and Wiccan priestess/folksinger Juniper Mackenzie help their followers adjust to new possibilities. Nearby, however, kinky former college professor Norman Arminger is exploiting his knowledge of medieval lore to manage the Protectorate, a brutal and ruthlessly-expanding dictatorship. This middle volume of the trilogy shows skirmishes between the factions, leading up to an inevitable confrontation. Stirling's pictures of ruined cities and towns are grimly convincing, and his loving descriptions of familiar landscapes gone wild are wonderful. If the people were as freshly imagined as their world, the novel would be splendid, but even with cardboard characters, it's still an extremely readable installment in a better than average tale.