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Dies the Fire (Emberverse Series #1)

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Overview

Michael Havel was flying over Idaho en route to the holiday home of his passengers when the plane's engines inexplicably died, forcing a less than perfect landing in the wilderness. And, as Michael leads his charges to safety, he begins to realize that the engine failure was not an isolated incident.

Juniper Mackenzie was singing and playing guitar in a pub when her small Oregon town was thrust into darkness. Cars refused to start. Phones were silent. And when an airliner ...

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Dies the Fire (Emberverse Series #1)

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Overview

Michael Havel was flying over Idaho en route to the holiday home of his passengers when the plane's engines inexplicably died, forcing a less than perfect landing in the wilderness. And, as Michael leads his charges to safety, he begins to realize that the engine failure was not an isolated incident.

Juniper Mackenzie was singing and playing guitar in a pub when her small Oregon town was thrust into darkness. Cars refused to start. Phones were silent. And when an airliner crashed, no sirens sounded and no fire trucks arrived. Now, taking refuge in her family's cabin with her daughter and a growing circle of friends, Juniper is determined to create a farming community to benefit the survivors of this crisis.

But even as people band together to help one another, others are building armies for conquest…

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A powerful, convincing adventure with a large cast of ordinary and extraordinary people. Don't miss it." —-Harry Turtledove, New York Times bestselling author
Publishers Weekly
What is the foundation of our civilization? asks Stirling (Conquistador) in this rousing tale of the aftermath of an uncanny event, "the Change," that renders electronics and explosives (including firearms) inoperative. As American society disintegrates, without either a government able to maintain order or an economy capable of sustaining a large population, most of the world dies off from a combination of famine, plague, brigandage and just plain bad luck. The survivors are those who adapt most quickly, either by making it to the country and growing their own crops-or by taking those crops from others by force. Chief among the latter is a former professor of medieval history with visions of empire, who sends bicycling hordes of street thugs into the countryside. Those opposing him include an ex-Marine bush pilot, who teams up with a Texas horse wrangler and a teenage Tolkien fanatic to create something very much like the Riders of Rohan. Ultimately, Stirling shows that while our technology influences the means by which we live, it is the myths we believe in that determine how we live. The novel's dual themes-myth and technology-should appeal to both fantasy and hard SF readers as well as to techno-thriller fans. Agent, Russell Galen. (Aug. 3) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In an instant marked by a blinding flash of light, the world changes forever as modern technology ceases to function. Those who survive the initial Change include pilot Michael Havel, who leads his stranded passengers out of the wilderness in search of civilization's remnants. Wiccan folksinger Juniper Mackenzie, her daughter, and a few friends flee to the Mackenzie's cabin, where they hope to relearn old skills and grow food to feed themselves and others. The author of The Peshawar Lancers once again starts with a global catastrophe, this time building a stunning speculative vision of a near-future bereft of modern conveniences but filled with human hope and determination. Highly recommended. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400106769
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Series: Emberverse Series , #1
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 17 CDs, 21 hours
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

S.M. Stirling

S. M. Stirling is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy novels, including the popular Nantucket series that began with Island in the Sea of Time.

Former radio broadcaster Todd McLaren has been heard on more than 5,000 TV and radio commercials; narrations for documentaries on such networks as A&E and the History Channel; and films. His book narrations have earned him a prestigious Audie Award as well as a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 239 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(105)

4 Star

(82)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(10)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 239 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Mr. Preachy

    I have to agree with the reviewers that have given this series a negative review. In my opinion too many of Mr. Stirling's books turn into preachy, tedious and very partisan readings of history. He often blatantly inserts his own viewpoints concerning the value and/or relative lack of value of various civilizations using the voices of his characters to make his point. For example in the parallel story of the Nantucket survivors who get thrown into the past; he uses two Black characters to disparage the view that Egypt was an African culture and not some alien group of Euro-Asiatics plopped down on the African continent. While it is obvious that history is a hobby of Mr. Stirling's he is not a historian nor is he an archaeologist, anthropologist and/or ethnologist. And I found the concept that within the continental United States that a religion such as Wicca would draw in the number of converts in such a short period of time and that its then too numerous to count adherents would so easily morph into "so mote it be" clansmen. Again as another reviewer noted...if I wanted to study the Wiccan religion I would pick up a book on it. His overall portrayal of those who ascribe to more or less Christian if not other monotheistic belief systems is laced with scorn and derision. Lastly, both he and Harry Turtledove have an abysmal history (my opinion) of writing believable non-White characters; specifically Black characters. Both present their various Black, Latino, Asian and/or Native American characters as so much fluff and window dressing. They are either perfect long suffering Sidney Poitier/Tonto stereotypes; or they are vicious sadistic Fu Manchu reprisals of evil inscrutable foreigners.

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2008

    Great IDEA, poor EXECUTION.

    Every now and then a book comes along with such an origional concept that people get cought up in the potential of the book rather than the quality. This is one of those times. I have heard this book recommended freaquently, and everytime I hear about it, the concept of the book is raved about but the execution is passed over in it's criticism. It's too bad. If avid book readers (including those that have reviewed this title) actually cared about plot, character development and pacing, this book may have gotten an honest review. But unfortunately the boring plot, poor pacing, overly descriptive, and flat character writing seems to have been forgotten about, because people are so desparate for a unique and interesting concept. Don't get me wrong, Modern times reverting to midevil times done in a somewhat plausible way is very interesting, and that's why I read this garbage, but a good idea doesn't make a good book.

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Camelot here we come.

    The book came heavily recommended to me, and rightly so. It's a great read, and a fast read. It's not often that I find books set in the area that I live. The Pactific Northwest, but most notably Oregon. It was great reading about the town's I've lived in and worked in. My only complaint about the book is the Juniper MacKenzie Clan and the Wicca religion. Just didn't do much for me. However, Mike Havel and the Bearkillers are great and hope to read more about their adventures.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read, Intriguing Premise

    Stirling's Emberverse series revolves around an earth-changing event that completely rewrites the chemistry books. This event throws all civilization back to the pre-Industrial days of our history.

    How well could we adjust without the necessities of our civilization? Stirling's characters must cope with the trials and dangers of humanity's fall back to a time where might often makes right and where only the strong - and those protected by the strong - have any chance of survival.

    Stirling raises critical questions that may make some uneasy about our society today. How would people cope without the thin veneer of civilization? To what lengths would we go to survive in a post-apocalyptic world? How much of what we call "civilized behavior" can we lose without descending into barbarism?

    I like Stirling's characters. I also enjoyed the historical references as the characters learn to live in conditions more common to Europe during the Viking era than with modern America.

    I have only one minor quibble and a major question with Stirling's story.

    First, the quibble. It seems that certain characters find themselves either incredibly lucky or extremely blessed, depending on your perspective. Characters stumble across people who can conveniently fill a major hole in their group, or they find the right materials to solve the crisis at hand. I concede the possibility of this happening, especially in the area of the book's setting. After all, the Pacific Northwest would contain an almost limitless supply of many materials even if industry halted today.

    As much as I enjoyed the book, I still find myself struggling with the major premise. How can anything change the basic laws of what we call "nature" without the consequences spreading throughout the universe as we know it? In any work, the reader must connect with the basic plot line to really appreciate the artist's endeavor. I had difficulty understanding how the basic chemistry could change so much in some aspects but yet other areas remained unchanged. I suppose this is science fiction, in a way, so I must suspend belief in the "science" and enjoy the "fiction."

    I've also read Stirling's "Conquistador." Between the 2, I enjoyed "Conquistador" much more. I plan to read more of Stirling's work later.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    First half good, second half...

    The first half was enjoyable, it had excitement and creative ideas. However, somewhere around midway, the plot just fell apart. A previous poster said the Wiccans were 'too good.' I agree, they were a bore. Also, S.M. Stirling left out a lot of script. There were many instances where the climax of an event was just being reached, but Stirling would cut it off and enter back in skipping a lot of detail. It was aggravating. I won't be reading it again just because I don't want to waste my time 'and I read it in a day'. There are much better books out there that are worth the money and time.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    Disappointing

    I had high hopes for this, based on what others have said, but I was dissappointed. There were some good elements to the book, but a lot of it was tedious and not very interesting. There were parts that I just had to skip as they really had nothing to do with the story. If I wanted to read about the wiccan thing, I'd get a book describing wiccan. I won't be reading the sequel, I just don't care what happens next. The premise of all of the sudden the lights go out for no apparent or explained reason is lame, but, hey it could still be interesting, but it really wasn't.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic apocalyptical thriller

    A multi-colored electrical storm that contains a beam of light is over Cape Cod. Soon a white light blinds everyone and the pain in their heads is intense. Nothing electrical works when their vision returns in the United States and probably worldwide. As time passes people call the event the Change even though they don¿t know who or what was responsible for the new Dark Age. Survivors moved to the outlying countryside to learn to grow crops so they can eat. Folksinger Juniper Mackenzie heads for her country hideaway joined by coven members and the people that can contribute to the well being of the group. These are hard times so she is forced to turn away people for the good of the group.----- Surviving a plane crash Mike Havel and the Larson family make their way from Idaho to Oregon where they can settle on land the Larsons¿ own. It is not an easy journey because they have to fight gangs and cannibals but they thrive by gathering up members to become part of their future community. Both Juniper and Mike¿s groups are threatened by an organized army headed by the Lord Protector who sees them as serfs and slaves. To keep their freedom, they must fight him and win.----- Fans of apocalyptical thrillers like Stephen King¿s THE STAND will find DIES THE FIRE absolutely riveting. The tale centers on two natural leaders who provide hope in this strange new world. As Mike and his followers travel the country side, readers see how different groups cope with the Change. The predators come out of the woodwork hoping to become the rulers of their very own fiefdoms. This is a fantastic epic work that will probably lead to a sequel because there are many questions that need answering.----- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What if...

    Alternate histories can be a lot of fun, but they can also suck horribly. Honestly, I hesitate to buy them because they are so often disappointing. The fun comes from question, "what if this one thing had gone differently?" Actually in this case its, "what if a flash of light (in 1986) changed the laws of physics so that technology no longer worked?" It's a great question for those of us who were alive in 1986. Its a fun world to put yourself in because we all wonder about our resourcefulness.

    Where they go wrong is in lack of research, logic and imagination. If, for example, an author doesn't imagine plausible results the story becomes annoying. And a story can be implausibly over or under reacting. Secondly, as with disaster fiction we need likable characters to observe in the situation. There's nothing more boring than a series of scenes about what happened.

    So how does Stirling do? Really well. Good characters, good pacing, good detail and description. All around its well written and since its not easy to write this type of novel well this book stands out.

    There are some challenges. There are a lot of characters and a lot of pages, which means this isn't a good book for slow readers at all. Also there is a lot of travel back and forth without mention of the path people took. For those of us who gain an extra bit of fun from living in the NW where this series is set, it can get a little ruined by not explaining how some characters hop back and forth over the Cascades when they can't go through Portland or use Hwy 20.

    Sterling also shies away from portraying large scale battles though there are at least two in the book. It maintains the balance between pages spent on exploring the "what if" and those spent on action, but I could have used a little more action, and made space for it by cutting some of the detailed depiction of Wiccan rituals.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great until the end

    awesome, but ended in strange spot. and worse, the next book doesn't pick up where this one left off. it's 8 YEARS LATER!?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    Well written and entertaining

    This book has an interesting foundation, with technology gone, how will we survive? The side story of social groups and community structures is very advanced. I recommend both the story and the writer. I will look for more stories by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    another book involving the"CHANGE"

    ive yet to read this series but it seems interesting since there are two other books that i know use the change as the setting,im referring to ARIEL&ELEGY BEACH by steven r. boyett.ariel being reprinted since first being published in 1983 is a unique story describing the change through the protagonists pete garey's eyes.but after reading it i wondered what became of the other states in the U.S?the sequel ELEGY BEACH refers to them very seldom as pete recalls his journey.but still heres to another book of the change.hope the swordplay is awesome ill give a poper review after i read it.

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    Thought provoking and a great story!

    The characters are well defined. You felt like you knew them. The plot was very original and thought provoking. A good topic of conversation. I am reading the second in the series and am just as impressed. Anyone who likes Science Fiction will love this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of the best books I have ever read!!! Highly Recommended

    I read this book a couple months ago and I still remember it vividly in my mind. I have got to say the apocalyptic plot has always interested me and this book has made me want to read more on it. The scenario the author throws the characters into is original and inventive. It shows a world gone berserk and how the human race takes different actions to make up for it. I have read most of the series and working on the last two. If you are looking for a heart pounding, leave you at the edge of your seat novel, Dies The Fire is the book to do that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    THIS BOOK IS HUGE

    I first read ¿The Sunrise Lands¿, the fourth book in this series. It provided a good summary of what had happened in the first three books. Nevertheless I am glad I decided to go back and read what I missed. This book provides the flavor of the old west, the medieval era, and Celtic or Wicca culture through the eyes of contemporary characters with contemporary ideas. It is full of adventure, action, battles and romance. The loss of all electronic devices, explosives, and gun powder is all the more believable because the root cause is not explained in detail. Stirling is able to bring a multitude of characters to life that have distinctive outlooks, humor, cynicism, courage, villainy and megalomania. The rapidity of the decline of civilization as we know it given this survivalist state of affairs is realistic. If you have trouble believing this read ¿Blood River¿ by Tim Butcher, or consider how drastically we are affected by high gas prices, or research the current fear over the possibility of pandemics, or consider the impact of the Black Plague especially in the 14th century when 40% of the world¿s population died a horrible death within five years. Stirling shows great insight into the human character in the way people in crises cling to leaders and try to establish a system of order. Life is brutal, but the human spirit prevails. However, I wonder if we would cope as well as Stirling¿s characters during a global nightmare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What happens when your power goes out and then you find out flashlights don't work either?

    The headline is only the catalyst of how everyone in the world, set in 1998 at the time, sets forth into an apocalyptic state of proportions I've never seen in the literary world. <BR/>Believe it or not, a few other things stop working as well; this is no Children of Men or I Am Legend, though. Reading this isn't facing the end of the human race and there's no monsters, moral personalities aside. <BR/>"Dies the Fire" marks the beginning of a new age within our world and from our own history (primarily, but that comes a little later and is in enough of a factual sense to be of credit). <BR/>Fans of apocalyptic (dramatic)thrillers and alternate history will enjoy this first of a trilogy, although I suspect the target audience was somewhat larger...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2007

    Nantucket Trilogy Was Better

    First half of the book was gripping, but the second half just bored me. The Wiccans are just too perfect. While I commend the author for including a positive portrayal of the Wiccans, they were just too hippy dippy for my tastes. While the characters are somewhat enjoyable, there was really no one to whom I could relate. His Nantucket trilogy was much better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2006

    Draws you into the big 'What if'

    This book really got my mind turning. Clearly the whole 'alien space bats' theroy of how the change came about is silly, but the thougth behind the 'what if' here is prevoking. The story pulls the reader into a world of the worst case senerio and makes you wonder if you could survive the change as well! I stayed up several nights reading this one, and have read it again since I finished it the first time. If you like the 'end of the world' kind of science fiction, this book is for you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2006

    Riveting and Thought-Provoking

    Wow! A friend lent me the book who himself had purchased it merely because it sounded interesting on the back and the story takes place here in the Willamette Valley where we live. I had never before thought of what might happen in a situation like this... and the story is very entertaining!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2006

    blah.....

    I am a huge fan of post apocalyptic fiction, however, this missed holding my attention. First of all after only barely two weeks into this 'blackout', society just falls apart and people star congregating and forming little self sustaining societies with of course the good versus evil concept. Also , this read more like a sci-fi fantasy rather than post apocalyptic fiction. I do not plan on reading the sequel, because I was unable to finish this book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    INCREDIBLE!!

    Outstanding! I first found this book while looking for other what-ifs by Stirling. Even though this technically wasn't one I thought, 'What the heck, try it'.By the time I reached the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. Great characters, well-developed plot, and eeriely possible scenarios. A must have!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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