Lord of Mountains and Emberverse Thoughts

Well hopefully this will be the second to last book of the ongoing "Sunrise Lands" series of the Emberverse. Not that I don't like the Emberverse or anything, but I even as a fan like a good conclusion to things and I felt the last book was unnecessary. I also want Galleys off of Tasmania!


Though, note the S.M. Stirling website has had a nice overhaul.
http://smstirling.com/books/

I also recommend to anyone and everyone "The Fire Trilogy" Fanfiction also set in the Emberverse, but in Colorado.
Spoilers Below.



Now the biggest ordeal in this book to me was that foundation of Montival and the true change over of the world to a "Fantasy Setting". Which is in a sense the whole series has slowly been going toward, a blurring of a new fantasy setting amidst the resurgence of past culture and history. No character embodies this more then Rudi, not even Juniper comes close. He pretty is born to be THE Mythic/Legendary King. He is very much a Mary Sue, but that is how most mythic figures in creation myths of OTL and Fantasy settings usually are. He was born to be. He also seems to recognize this especially as he and those people around him keep mentioning he is destined for a death before his old age (which is confirmed and visited). Now all that is left is 'The Sacrifice' as the website refers it. The kicking of the bad guy and a conclusion long awaited.

From there though what? From here Stirling has more then ample room to move in any direction. Either looking at other places in the world or focus on a setting in the future as he has done in short stories. Will more about Nantucket also be revealed in the conclusion? We may very well get a few more glimpses.

For me I am hopeful of a change of setting.

Something from the next book's sample chapter has caught my eye

Even if you were fighting the biggest war since the Change. Certainly the biggest in North America since then, if you didn’t count the desperate scrambles in the months after the machines stopped. Not the biggest in the world, probably; Asia still weighed heavily in the nine-tenths-reduced total of human kind. Rumors trickled in now and then across seas pirate-haunted when they weren’t empty. They spoke of warlords fighting each other and invaders from Mongolia and Tibet across the ruins of China, and the bloody rise of Mahendr Shuddhikartaa hai—Mahendra the Purifier—carving out a new empire called Hinduraj on the Bay of Bengal…
 
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I like the series despite Rudi having absolutely no personality whatsoever. Characters like Edain and Eric and the Squires, along with Tiphanie make the books readable. Mike Jr. seems okay but I'm not too sure if he'll ever get away from Signe dominating his life.

I would have liked the battle of Horse Heaven Hills to be a bit more dramatic, especially near the end. There have already been a couple of connections between Rudi and Alexander the Great and I was hoping that he would be much more torn between chasing down Sethaz, ending the war right then and there, or going to the rescue of the Corvallis pikemen. Instead he just watches Sethaz ride away and then turns and says "Okay now we have to ride across the battlefield and save one battalion of Pikes even though we could end things now by chasing Sethaz and save countless other lives in the process."

EDIT: Not strictly related to Lord of the Mountains, but I would really like to know more about what happened in between the two series, along with what happened to Will Hutton and why half the Bearkillers suddenly turned to the Old Gods, the Viking ones in particular. Doesn't make sense other than Signe being petty, which now that I think about it, makes more than enough sense.
 
Rather OT, but there was once a game mod for Mount & Blade with the Emberverse as its setting. I am dead serious.

Probably never got finished, but the screenshots looked pretty promising.
 
Rather OT, but there was once a game mod for Mount & Blade with the Emberverse as its setting. I am dead serious.

Probably never got finished, but the screenshots looked pretty promising.
Oooooo. Thats too bad.

EDIT: Not strictly related to Lord of the Mountains, but I would really like to know more about what happened in between the two series, along with what happened to Will Hutton and why half the Bearkillers suddenly turned to the Old Gods, the Viking ones in particular. Doesn't make sense other than Signe being petty, which now that I think about it, makes more than enough sense.
Well, given that Mike was already going with the Scandinavia mojo before his death it seems like a natural progression.

Granted, essentially the series has crossed over from a Scifi Series to a Full On Fantasy series so characters like Rudi are natural in the whole Founding Myth Sequence. Granted, it seems he will end up like Arthur and have his past mistakes bite him in the ass eventually.
 
From there though what? From here Stirling has more then ample room to move in any direction. Either looking at other places in the world or focus on a setting in the future as he has done in short stories. Will more about Nantucket also be revealed in the conclusion? We may very well get a few more glimpses.

For me I am hopeful of a change of setting.

Something from the next book's sample chapter has caught my eye
There's a potential for fun fiction in other settings, I agree.

What I would root for, personally, is a) Drakaverse prequel, "Laughter of the Guns," and b) more Peshawar Lancers, sequel or prequel.



I like the series despite Rudi having absolutely no personality whatsoever. Characters like Edain and Eric and the Squires, along with Tiphanie make the books readable. Mike Jr. seems okay but I'm not too sure if he'll ever get away from Signe dominating his life.
Am I the only one who was sad when Jake Sunna Jake (spoiler alert) was killed?
 
Something good would be nice.

I don't mean to be critical, I genuinely don't get the appeal of the series.
 
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Something good would be nice.

I don't mean to be critical, I genuinely don't get the appeal of the series.
I liked it at first for the scenario of how the world would react to electricity and guns going out, some survivalist stuff (in that it wasn't like the stuff written by types who classified Oregon as a bad place to survive in because it did not have many Christians), and the popular culture references. Like when the Protectorate Knights charged the Mackenzie Longbowmen and got slaughtered and the commander screamed at the guy who had called the charge to "Give me back my knights" in a clear referance to Augustus lamenting about his loss of Roman Legions in Teutonburg. Now, I like it from a Pagan perspective given all the different gods making direct appearances.

If I've learned anything as a Brony things are just a swing and a hit or a swing and a miss, but that is OK.
 
Am I the only one who was sad when Jake Sunna Jake (spoiler alert) was killed?

:( yeah that was sad.

But as for the Bearkillers thing, while it could make sense because of Mike and his whole Finnish thing, the Huttons and Eric who are all major players in the Bearkiller leadership are Catholic. Though that is probably why all the Bearkillers aren't sacrificing to Odin and such. Just half of them.
 
Even if you were fighting the biggest war since the Change. Certainly the biggest in North America since then, if you didn’t count the desperate scrambles in the months after the machines stopped. Not the biggest in the world, probably; Asia still weighed heavily in the nine-tenths-reduced total of human kind. Rumors trickled in now and then across seas pirate-haunted when they weren’t empty. They spoke of warlords fighting each other and invaders from Mongolia and Tibet across the ruins of China, and the bloody rise of Mahendr Shuddhikartaa hai—Mahendra the Purifier—carving out a new empire called Hinduraj on the Bay of Bengal…

See it's the tantalizing details of stuff like this that make me want to see him branch out in the series and explore the rest of the world. Killing Rudi will finally end all his predestined nonsense and let us see some good old fashioned intrigue and more huge battles :D

One thing I've been looking forward to is some naval battles in the Change World, thats why some of my favorite scenes are from the Protectors War
 
Even if you were fighting the biggest war since the Change. Certainly the biggest in North America since then, if you didn’t count the desperate scrambles in the months after the machines stopped. Not the biggest in the world, probably; Asia still weighed heavily in the nine-tenths-reduced total of human kind. Rumors trickled in now and then across seas pirate-haunted when they weren’t empty. They spoke of warlords fighting each other and invaders from Mongolia and Tibet across the ruins of China, and the bloody rise of Mahendr Shuddhikartaa hai—Mahendra the Purifier—carving out a new empire called Hinduraj on the Bay of Bengal…

See it's the tantalizing details of stuff like this that make me want to see him branch out in the series and explore the rest of the world. Killing Rudi will finally end all his predestined nonsense and let us see some good old fashioned intrigue and more huge battles :D

One thing I've been looking forward to is some naval battles in the Change World, thats why some of my favorite scenes are from the Protectors War
Navy: Why I am eager for this series to end so he can start the rumored ones focusing on the Maine Astatru and Tasmania.

That is also why he lets folks write fanfiction about stuff not focused on the main storyline. The Fire Trilogy in my opinion is AMAZING. As good as the books. He ever declared a few as canonized, like one focusing on the Protectorate prior to the first battles with the Alliance or what happened to Luke Hutton's son. http://www.ipinc.net/~kiers/SMSFanFiction/LukeHuttonJ.html
http://www.ipinc.net/~kiers/SMSFanFiction/

The yahoo group is fairly active and last time I was on there he fairly regularly answered questions about the Emberverse.
 
Navy: Why I am eager for this series to end so he can start the rumored ones focusing on the Maine Astatru and Tasmania.

That is also why he lets folks write fanfiction about stuff not focused on the main storyline. The Fire Trilogy in my opinion is AMAZING. As good as the books. He ever declared a few as canonized, like one focusing on the Protectorate prior to the first battles with the Alliance or what happened to Luke Hutton's son. http://www.ipinc.net/~kiers/SMSFanFiction/LukeHuttonJ.html
http://www.ipinc.net/~kiers/SMSFanFiction/

The yahoo group is fairly active and last time I was on there he fairly regularly answered questions about the Emberverse.
Ah I've never been to the Yahoo group. Though I'm definately going to check out some of this fanfiction you've suggested!

I can't wait to see if he goes through with the events on Tasmania! That would be such a unique and interesting locale!
 
Why do the Oregonians start calling the royal court "Montival" ? Is it some made-up pretentious word that is supposed to sound like "Camelot" ?



What do you think of the screenshots ?
Essentially Camelot considering they went in a quest to claim a magic sword. Though. It is likely that they are 'getting with the times' and dropping the 'Old Time' monikers for a 'modern' one. Also, ASBs.
 
My review (written immediately after the book came out):

So, the latest Emberverse book is out. I got it (Kindle-ized) for my Ipad, and read it on the plane (coming back from Germany). Review follows.


Warning: I assume that, if you are reading this, you have read the Emberverse books up to Tears of the Sun.

Spoilers may await.



Let me lead off by saying that I love the Emberverse. It has it's flaws (more on that, later), but it is one of the best series of our time, and is head and shoulders above the competition. I've always like Stirling's writing style (with a few minor reservations), from the 5th Millenium books on up to today, and his books are always entertaining.

The Good (and there's a lot of it):

In Lord of The Mountains, Stirling's ability to build worlds is on full display. He puts you into the room, sits you at the table, and you feel like you are there. The last two books (Tears of the Sun, and now Lord of the Mountains) have really shown off the PPA, to good effect. Lots of food porn, scenery porn, and armor porn. All well done. Along with a fairly subtle but sharp pointing out of one major disadvantage of a feudal military (namely that a massed cavalry charge by feudal knights can put 90% of the political leadership out on the sharp end at one time).

The Battle of the Horse Heaven Hills (Battle of HHS, from here on) is wonderfully detailed, and actually feels like it goes on all day, as a Pre-Modern battle would. I have only two quibbles:
First, that it is detailed enough (and important enough to the story) to warrant a page or two of tactical maps (it can get confusing for the reader, otherwise)...
...and second, the dialogue is extensive enough that it starts to seem like the CUT/Boise armies are always willing to wait for the Montivalan leadership to chat and double check everything before they attack.

The Battle of HHS also gives the Montivalan groups we haven't seen much of lately a chance to shine. The Corvallans, in particular, get a moment in the sun (Swiss Pikes, slightly modified, versus Roman legionaries, slightly modified). The Associates also find the perfect spot to conduct a major heavy cavalry assault, with ~8,000 knights and men-at-arms. Crunch.

Fred Thurston, a character I've grown to dislike, actually has a good group of scenes. The Boiseans as a whole have some pretty good moments, especially....well, I won't spoil it, but I found it quite realistic and very human.

We never did get a good explanation of how Signe and half the Bearkillers became hardcore Asatruar in the "missing" 15 years. It comes off a little forced.

The Emberverse lives and dies (and mostly rules) on the strength and likability of the Secondary and Minor characters. The Twins and Tiphaine, in particular, along with the new squires. They feel like real people, and the story really comes alive through their eyes. They have limitations, uncertainties, things they'd rather not contemplate too hard, regrets, and it's easy to relate to them. Tiphaine's (mis)adventures as a Field Marshal really made the last book. The squires, Ingolf, and Mathilda cause the Battle of HHS to have a dog's-eye-view that enhances the "you are there" feeling that Stirling is going for (and achieves).

A minor character, whom I have often expressed my dislike of, dies. Muhahahaha.


Now the Bad:


Which brings us to Rudi. I'll go ahead and say that the Emberverse is awesome in spite of him, not because of him. It seems to me that he is a bold literary experiment, a Chosen One/Annointed King/Hero played straight and without the irony that we so often see nowadays, that has badly misfired. Everything he does is great, he's super handsome, super smart, better than almost anyone at anything (and the people who are better than him in one single thing they've devoted their lives to mastering, are wildly outclassed by him in everything else), everyone loves him (or is intimidated by him), and people flatly ignore barriers that normally would lead them to prefer someone else's leadership/company/etc in favor of Rudi.
Rudi can start jukeboxes by hitting them.

Again and again, characters point out how much better Rudi is than they are....at their own game. Tiphaine, who is probably the closest thing Montival has to a real Field Marshal, specifically states that she's a "competent general"....but Rudi has a "gift" for it. Of course. On top of the other hundred "gifts" he has. About the 9th or 10th time you read this conversation repeated by different characters, in each successive book, you start losing the ability to empathize with Rudi. If you ever did.
He's a master swordsman, archer, knight, etc....who's also stronger and faster than everyone else. After he gets the Sword, he's mentioned as having to spar with 3 of the Protector's Guard simultaneously, just to give him a workout. Descriptions of his doings rapidly start to sound like a Dos Equis commercial:

"I don't always drink wine.....but when I do, I prefer Chateau D'Ath".

Another item is the way Rudi goes on and on about his Kingship (often in internal monologues). As far as he's concerned, he's the King...and everyone else has little input into that matter, save which particular way they wish to celebrate his Kingship. He's been crowned by the Powers, and anyone who begs to differ had better think twice about it. If it were just the necessity of his Leadership to form a unitary response to the CUT/Boise alliance.....that would be one thing. Instead, he seems to see that as merely a speedbump on the way to his Kingship, which is the actually important part. It's not the he seems to even want power, just that the Powers have crowned him and thus he is King, and it would be wrong for anyone to get in the way of that.

to have anyone at all (who isn't a moneygrubbing banker from Corvallis, or the equivalent) react to Rudi's propaganda with anything less than utter credulity....makes chapters featuring Rudi rather painful to read.

When we finally get to the penultimate event of this book (and no, it isn't the Battle of HHS, which is finished about 2/3 of the way into the book), instead of coming across as awesome and otherworldly....it's just another (bunch of) scene(s) of Rudi being confirmed as the Bestest Evar! Just in case the last six nine or so books failed to hammer the point home sufficiently. The obvious "this scene will be explained in the next set of stories" scene, while cool, failed to pull that whole section of the book out of the Rudi morass....and even added a single line that (subtly but definitely) points out that, yes, Rudi will have no*** problems having his cake and eating it, too.

The Religion issue is also, to my opinion, way underplayed. The fresh-from-the-Council-of-Trent form of Catholicism that the overwhelming majority of the Protectorate (and Association in particular) embraces would/should cause them to flatly reject a Pagan monarch (especially one who will be the father of the next Lord Protector). A Pagan leader of an alliance that included the PPA...not so much of an issue, but when it starts to encroach on the PPA top slot itself...nope.
Mathilda, in particular, should have long since eliminated Rudi as a potential consort, once it was obvious he wouldn't convert for her sake. Yet the narrative shows them as more or less always planning to be married, with her basically ignoring both the political issues (loooong before the CUT War/Sunrise Lands/Sword stuff popped up) and the interpersonal issues. That's Pirates Who Don't Do Anything territory.

Aside from the Rudi issue, the only other real complaint is....too many. Too many people (including almost all the main characters) are basically able to function at near superhuman levels. This is a common complaint that Stirling's writing is hit with (and with some justice), as he's rather too optimistic as to what exactly "sufficient martial arts training" can do (even with the best possible raw material). The main characters are basically a gang of Batmen.
The Twins are tall and muscular women who are faster than 99% of men, and stronger than all but the strongest, who are not as skilled as they. Rudi is Rudi (even before the Sword). Mathilda is the closest thing to a realistic person, and is mainly just very well trained (eventually matching that up with lots of experience) by expert trainers, and with sufficient base physical ability to make use of it....so she's just very, very good. There are too many supremely-gifted people that happen to be close friends, and decide to go on a Quest together. It breaks with the more realistic/naturalistic feel of the Emberverse.

Bottom Line: Buy it. Especially if you've been following the Emberverse. If you haven't, check out the Emberverse and buy Dies The Fire. Highly recommended.
Overall, I am optimistic for the Emberverse, and look forward to further books. We seem to be coming to the end of the Rudi Era, for which Deo Gratias.








***-Major Spoiler: Rudi's two eldest kids each pick one of their parents' religions (NeoPaganism and Catholicism, respectively). Conveniently clearing all problems out of the way of Rudi being the daddy of the next Lord Protector. YMMV on how forced that feels.
 
I agree with your opinion on events. Granted, I like the many different character point of views.

I've always disliked Rudi from the beginning. He is such a child of the Fae folk. Granted, initially I did not like the Mackenzie's at all, but some of them have grown on me. I preferred Havel, he was skeptical of everything at least.

Though, I can't wait for Stirling to focus somewhere else in the Emberverse
 
Malta, I can't find this "The Fire Trilogy" fan fiction anywhere. Do you have a link? I'll also send you a pm to make sure you see this.

Also, I don't know if this is the thread to post this, but I'm thinking about doing a a fanfic piece based loosely off of the Emberverse world. The problem is, I have't read all the books. Actually, I've only finished the first two. The problem is, that while I love the concept, I can't seem to keep reading. Sterling's writing to me just seems so... tedious.

The idea I have is basically the story of a small group of university students and their families making their way out of the San Francisco Bay area, and traveling north to establish a settlement in Tehama County (I know they say the great majority of California was wiped out, but surely not ALL of the Californian population disappeared). From there the story would extend into that settlements decedents, and march even further away from what is already canon in the story.
 
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