Sunday, May 3, 2009

Island In The Sea Of Time - S. M. Stirling

Island In The Sea Of Time
S. M. Stirling
New American Library
Copyright: 1998
9780451456755

From the Amazon.com blurb:

It's spring on Nantucket and everything is perfectly normal, until a sudden storm blankets the entire island. When the weather clears, the island's inhabitants find that they are no longer in the late 20th century, but have been transported instead to the Bronze Age. Now they must learn to survive with suspicious, warlike peoples they can barely understand and deal with impending disaster, in the shape of a would-be conqueror from their own time.

Island In The Sea Of Time is the first book in the Nantucket Trilogy. The sequels are: Against The Tide Of Years and On The Ocean Of Eternity. I picked up this book because I've been enjoying the Change series by S. M. Stirling (mostly back in January/February), and some of the reviews of the books on LibraryThing list this trilogy as part of the same world. Perhaps the connection is made clear in The Sunrise Lands and Scourge Of God, but I'm not entirely certain the two series are connected.

Not that that gets in the way of the story at all! Whereas in Dies The Fire, all technology just stops working, in Island In The Sea Of Time, the island of Nantucket gets thrown back to sometime circa 1250 BCE. Everything they have on the island keeps working (so long as there are small things such as fuel for the engines, anyway).

As I started reading this trilogy, I found that it strongly reminded me of the Ring Of Fire series (1632 and sequels by Eric Flint). On the other hand, this series is turning out to be far more to my preference, if only because the characters go further back in time. It's neat seeing the depictions of Mycenaean society and the British Isles in this period. I love the hints of history. While I was reading the book though, I couldn't help but wish to know how much of an effect the characters actions were having on history as they (and we) knew it.

Stirling takes into account a number of issues I haven't seen used in time-travel novels before, such as the lack of immunity to common diseases, all of which adds to the realism of the story. Not to mention to the level of detail, which is another factor of the books that I love. These are no "one day reads". Two or three days is far more realistic, given the six hundred plus pages of small font text per book.

As with the Change series though, the characters we hear the most from all seem to have some useful skill for the past: astronomer, historian (specializing in ancient history), military commander with high level martial arts skills... What does the ordinary person think, and how do they react?

S. M. Stirling is an author that I'm finding I enjoy a lot, although, I will admit, after one or two of his books, I do find that I need a break for a while before I come back to continue the series.

To date though, this is my favorite.

This ended up being another book read for the TBR challenge, as it's been more than three months since I bought it.

The books in this series:
Island In The Sea Of Time
Against The Tide Of Years
On The Ocean Of Eternity

The Change series:
Dies The Fire
The Protectors War
A Meeting At Corvallis
The Sunrise Lands
Scourge Of God
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