The Peshawar Lancers

The Peshawar Lancers

by S. M. Stirling

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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In the mid-1870s, a violent spray of comets hits Earth, decimating cities, erasing shorelines, and changing the world’s climate forever. And just as Earth’s temperature dropped, so was civilization frozen in time. Instead of advancing technologically, humanity had to piece itself back together…

In the twenty-first century, boats still run on steam, messages arrive by telegraph, and the British Empire, with its capital now in Delhi, controls much of the world. The other major world leader is the Czar of All the Russias. Everyone predicts an eventual, deadly showdown. But no one can predict the role that one man, Captain Athelstane King, reluctant spy and hero, will play…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451458735
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/2003
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 375,959
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

S. M. Stirling is the New York Times bestselling author of many science fiction and fantasy novels, including the Novels of the Change (including Prince of Outcasts, The Desert and the Blade, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice, Lord of Mountains) and the Shadowspawn series (A Taint in the Blood, The Council of Shadows, Shadows of Falling Night).

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A wonderfully evocative adventure, told by an absolute master.”—Mike Resnick
“Stirling set up his world superbly….It has color, vibrancy, and boldness.”—Santa Fe New Mexican
“An irresistible read.”—Booklist
“A remarkable alternate history.”—Library Journal
“Splendidly detailed world building…with state-of-the-art-action.”—Roland Green

“Aimed at readers who thrill to King, Empire, and the fluttering Union Jack…a nifty premise.”—Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Peshawar Lancers 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1878, comets strike the earth broadside. The debris in the atmosphere causes a seemingly endless winter while the oceans flood the coasts. The civilizations of the Northern Hemisphere collapse. English Prime Minister Disraeili and Queen Victoria lead a mass migration to the Indian subcontinent.

In 2025 the world contains two superpowers and several other smaller empires struggling for global domination. The Angrezi Raj, as the British Empire is now known, centers in Delhi, India. It primarily vies with the Russias for supremacy. Though the empire includes numerous races and religions, most live in harmony with one another, but the world as a whole is as dangerous as it ever has been. Two independent assaults occur on twins Peshawar Lancer Athelstane King and astronomer Cassandra King. Neither understands why someone would want them dead, but another attempt occurs. Based on the vision of a true dreamer, Russian Count Vladimir Ignatieff has foretold that the deaths of the Kings would begin the end of the British Empire. However, Athelstane will not sit idly by and just wait for his assassin to succeed.

THE PESHAWAR LANCERS is vivid detailed look at the late nineteenth century Indian subcontinent. The story line is deep and provides much insight, but fans of alternate history must understand that the plot reads more like a Victorian historical novel than a rewriting of history leading to a different future. SM Stirling shows his ability to paint quite a vivid tale of intrigue that will excite historical novel readers and those alternate history aficionados who relish a twenty-first century Victorian age.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a subject of HRH Queen Elizabeth, this book may have had more interest for me than other reviewers: interesting premise, facinating twist on "The Great Game", and very well written. I had dreams about this alternate future for months after reading the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
S.M. Stirling follows up his outstanding 'Islanders' series with another outstanding 'alternate' history novel. If you enjoy good plots, great character development, a twisty plot line, and a fast moving adventure, then you'll love this book. Mr.Stirling blends some of Kipling's style, some of Doyle's plot elements, and a unique style all his own in this adventure set in a universe in which the British Empire is alive and well with the Imperial Capital in India. As you turn the last page, you'll wish it were longer, or that the sequel was immediately to hand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A global disaster has devastated much of the US and Europe. England has been reduced to a handful of cannibal savages and the British Empire now calls India home. Curry isn't just takeaway - it's what's for dinner and the Queen's English is now closer to Bombay Welsh. Most of the the technological advances of the 20th Century never happened, and high-tech computing is done by Babbage's mechanical computing inventions. On this stage are supernatural villains and plots spanning nations, heroics and treachery. And, alas, an author whose ability to stitch it all together needs some more work. I'll probably read it again, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disagree with others - excellent plot and engaging characters. Lots of details lending credence to the central gimmicks. Gunga-din meets CM Forrester meets Honor Harrington. I really, really wish Stirling had followed this up more, more, more. For those who must make invidious comparisons - this seems to me similar to Naomi Povik's Napoleanic dragon wars - only grittier and more comprehensive in outlook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Peshawar Lancers is another alternate history offering from S. M. Stirling. It is based on the premise that a large meteor shower struck Earth in 1878, halting technological development and creating years of winter and starvation, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. With the help of the British merchant fleet, a large portion of the population of England relocated to British India. Fast forward to the 21st century, India is the center of the British Empire, France rules southern Europe and North Africa, and Russia has become an evil empire ruled by ritual-cannibalistic Satan worshippers. The other major world powers are Dai-Nippon (Japan and China) and the Caliphate (an Arab-based Muslim nation that stretches up through eastern Europe). Athelstane King, an Imperial army officer, and his scientist sister Cassandra have mysteriously become the targets for assassination. They must overcome their many attackers and solve the mystery of why they are targets. During this action filled romp across British India, the Kings pull several other nteresting characters into their quest, including the royal heir, Prince Charles, his sister Sita, the French ambassador, Henri de Vascogne, and a Russian seerist. Stirling's descriptions of the technology, geography and cultures of this alternate world are detailed and fairly believable. The action sequences are good and the story moves along at a fair clip, but I never really connected with the characters. They all seem a bit too clichéd and don't seem to evolve during the course of the story. The villains are very bad indeed, the heroes are brave, the royalty is noble, and the sidekicks are trusty. It might be more enjoyable for someone who likes Edwardian style novels or the Kipling British Raj stories.
majkia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A meteor that hits Europe during Victoria's reign, realigns the world of the Peshawar Lancers. Northern Europe becomes nearly uninhabitable so most countries evacuate to warmer climes. Thus the British Raj is the center of the world and the European-begun major powers fight for land amd power across southeast Asia and Africa.I enjoyed the world building and the background and thought it worked well to set up the story. The novel follows a British lord who is serving the Raj in the military and his sister, who is a scientist, and who is working on trying to come up with a steampunky method to predict any future meteor strikes so they can be ready for them.The tale is complicated with lots of intrigue and spies working toward undermining the Raj and also killing the Prince of Wales while they're at it.Lots of action and complications. I especially enjoyed the spunky female scientist who dares to challenge entrenched gender roles.Recommended for those who enjoy alternate history and steampunk.
gimble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since alternate history seems to be Stirling¿s bent in novels, it is no surprise that this post apocalyptic story of the King family's trouble in the euroindian empire is as riveting as the rest of his work. Now my only wish after reading is for a sequel.
valmont23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An extremely creative alternate history action adventure. The divergence begins in 1878 when a stream of comets strikes the earth, devastating much of the northern hemisphere. The British Empire survives by relocating to the Indian subcontinent, the Russian empire by turning to the leadership of a nihilistic cult-religion -and cannibalism. Fast forward to a quite different late 20th century as "the great game" continues to be play out. Both sides spar in their new home central Asia, as well as in Europe and America where recolonization efforts continue. The center of the story revolves around the English captain Athelstan King and his attempts to unravel a plot targeting not only himself, but his entire family, with dire implications for the Indo-English empire and perhaps the entire world...The novel is a conscious nod to enjoyable old-time adventure fiction a la Edgar Rice Burroughs and Rudyard Kipling. The alternate 20th century world of wood and steam, suffused with Indian influences is thoroughly imaginative and captivating - as it ought to be in a good alternative history novel. If some of the characters seem slightly stock or borrowed from melodrama at times, you don't seem to mind as much given the tone of the book and it's steady stream of action as it builds to an inevitable climax. A quick and enjoyable read. If you like it, be sure to read the novella "Shikari in Galveston", part of the alternative history collection "Worlds That Weren't". It takes place in the same alternate history time line, and involves a number of the same characters.
uvula_fr_b4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise of The Peshawar Lancers is that a shower of comets striking the Northern Hemisphere in the 1870s precipitates a new ice age, a mass die-off of the human race and a mass exodus of many of the survivors (chiefly Western Europeans -- read, British and French) to balmier climes: the British to the jewel in their queen's crown, Innnn-jah, and the French to Northern Africa, where, sacre bleu!, they are all pieds noirs now. As a result of this calamity, technology has pretty much stalled in the Age of Steam, although there are tentative developments in the way of motor cars, while aerial transport -- and aerial warfare -- are high on the list of R&D projects for all the major powers, particularly dirigibles, and astronomers have been making absolutely amazing progress with telescopes in an attempt to scout out any other forthcoming comet storms....Stirling clearly has a love for the Victorian era and the whole "Great Game" bit (the jockeying of Great Britain and Russia for primacy in Central and South Asia in the second half of the 19th century), and The Peshawar Lancers does have a number of Easter eggs (the main character is clearly intended to be a descendant of one of Talbot Mundy's best known characters, Athelstan King, the hero of Mundy's King of the Khyber Rifles) sprinkled throughout for devotees of the period, and his four appendices (!) deal with the historical -- and alternate historical -- underpinnings of his novel in a bit more depth than he could in the novel itself; nonetheless, I was faintly disappointed with The Peshawar Lancers, and never escaped the sense that I should've enjoyed it a lot more than I did. This sense of disappointment was not due chiefly to the fact that Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton is name-checked only once (on p. 360 of the mass market paperback edition) -- I swear. A better tweaking of the Victorian era -- and a better example of the "steampunk" sub-genre -- is William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's The Difference Engine (1991). Still, in my scheme, 3 stars means a book is definitely worth reading, and, given my interests, I most likely will re-read The Peshawar Lancers at least once before I die, Inshallah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alternaitve history that teads like a historical thriller. I wish more books were this enjoyable to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a child of the 1960's Era pulp fiction adventures I greatly enjoyed this book. It melded Stirling's fine world - building with an innocent enthusiasm for jolly good adventures. More scientifically and culturally adept than many offerings of the type, it avoided or at least ameliorated the cringes sometimes inherent in the genre. Delightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite Stirling books - Ron Restorff
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read but wish we he had writen more of this world! Please Stirling Return to this kick ass world! I'd like to see how the states made out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a really interesting premise with a clearly well thought out and detailed world. But the story, at least to me, seemed like it was quickly done and not much more than a generic adventure tale. I would like to see more in this universe though.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
White man's burden dressed up for the 21st century. Bring back the Drakas...