Friday, August 21, 2009
The Sword of the Lady by S. M. Stirling (review)
Title: The Sword of the Lady
Author: S. M. Stirling
Dewey Decimal: F Sti
Cost: $25.95 (available August 25th, 2009)
Stirling pulls it off again. Then goes a step further.
First, a little background. Rudi (aka Artos) and his merry band are on a quest to find a sword. His band consists of a religious man, a princess, and knight of sorts that loves the princess. His horse Epona is a bit like a familiar. The evil forces working against Rudi include an evil wizard of sorts and his living, though zombie-like, army.
Sounds very much like a typical fantasy novel, right? Wrong. This "basic" plot line takes place in a future world that has roots in our past. When the Change occurred in 1998, the laws of physics changed. Which means that the internal combustion engine stopped working, gunpowder fizzled, and electronic devices died. Fast forward a generation and Rudi is leading a band of young adults that only know of these things (like television and cars) through stories told by their elders.
And while this is all very exciting for a Stirling fan or a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, the book does have a few faults. Namely, the addition of some new groups of people at the end of the book. The Norrheim folk and the Moorish sailors appearance feels like a last minute addition. I'm sure they will be fleshed out a bit in the next book, The High King of Montival, but they feel a little too shallow here. And of course, the very, very end was exciting, but a little disjointed at times. I think it's the presentation of the visions, but the scene is short enough to not be much of a bother.
Aside from these minor flaws, I have to say this is one of my top three favorites in this series. Island in the Sea of Time and Dies the Fire are clearly tops for me because they present the reader with the beginnings of an epic story. The Sword of the Lady is great in that it keeps the story real (I got a little misty-eyed when a main character died) and it links the two story arcs together. No, I'm not going to ruin it all for you and blab on how they are linked, but it was very touching.