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The Sunrise Lands by S.M. Stirling
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Roc Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451461704
Date: 04 September 2007 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

On a dark and stormy night, Ingolf Vogeler comes to Sutterdown pursued by a relentless enemy and having knowledge that may explain why the original change occurred. Return to the world of Dies the Fire. Twenty-two years after the change, things are going pretty well for clan Mackenzie. The peace that developed after the epic battle between Mike Havel and Norman Arminger continues. But things may be about to change.

More S.M. Stirling:
The Protector's War
A Meeting at Corvallis
The Sky People
The Sunrise Lands
Ice, Iron And Gold
In the Courts of the Crimson Kings

Ingolf, weary from his frantic trip over the mountains, finds momentary peace in Sutterdown. That peace is shattered by assassins from the East. Fortunately Rudi Mackenzie, the Havel twins Ritva and Mary, and Mathilda Arminger are there to help.

After the assassins are dealt with, the travels of Ingolf are revealed: a strange tale that encompasses a large part of the old United States including events and a prophecy related to Nantucket. Rudi Mackenzie inherited his mother's and father's charisma and soon develops a plan to help Ingolf return to Nantucket and determine his place in the prophecy.

As the journey begins hopes are high, but the teams are careful and concerned. There is a new enemy waiting: a cult that knows what it wants and will stop at nothing to get it. War may once again be on the way and a traitor may cause the death of the adventurers before the adventure truly begins.

The original survivors of the change are getting older and the youngest and post-change-born children have no recollections of the world before. It all seems some sort of fairy tale that has no place or connection to the world in which they live. The children of the change now come to the forefront in this opening adventure of a new trilogy.

Straight up: I liked it. The time gap between the original trilogy and the current one has allowed the children to age and the world to settle. Although the main characters from the original trilogy are still around, they are older and have definitely passed the torch to the younger generation. I am personally pleased by this. Too many times old characters just keep hanging around and surviving simply because they were a point-of-view character previously. One fault that is avoided here is the 8-years-old-going-on-40 wisdom of young characters that develop in books. I admit there are some children who are quite perceptive, but in some books they are too wise, knowing or experienced.

The maps and stories about other parts of the country are interesting and go a long way to expanding the reader's knowledge of the world. As this world is explored, more comes to light and a few interesting characters from our world make an appearance. Those little nuggets can be enjoyed or ignored as you choose.

Fans of Stirling's work should make sure to check his Web site for more information about the world. And look for related stories in his short story collection Ice, Iron, and Gold.

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