The Sunrise Lands
is the first book in Stirling's 3rd set of 3 interconnected series. I love the idea behind the sets of series, so I thought I'd jump in. In the "Island in the Sea of Time" trilogy, the island of Nantucket is flung backwards in time to 1250 BC. In the "Dies the Fire" trilogy, Stirling tells what happened to the world left behind: The Change has caused electricity, high gas pressures, and fast combustion (including explosives and gunpowder) to stop working in the rest of the world. The four books of "The Sunrise Lands" are about the 1st generation which has grown up in the world affected by The Change.
While I find the idea fascinating and want to know what caused The Change to happen to the world, I don't know that I can slog through any more of these books. The author spends a ridiculous amount of time describing what everyone's wearing and what their weapons look like. At one point, the main characters all jump out of their beds when they hear a sound, and then the author spends 3 pages describing their garb before they charge up the stairs to fight the intruders. It also seems that the majority of the scenes of the book are either practice fighting scenes or fighting scenes. The only other thing that ever really happens are people getting together to eat and have boring conversations about who owns what land and who knows who. Sadly, most of the important scenes are confusing to understand because the author has not mastered the use of pronouns well enough for the reader to understand which "he" and "she" belongs to which character in the scene. Thus, in one place, I found myself not knowing whether a son had killed his father or whether the son committed suicide in front of his father.
Most of this novel takes place in former Washington and Oregon where a group of Ren-faire fanatics have modeled their new world in true Ren-faire fashion: people talk Elvish, wear kilts, practice longsword techniques, etc. A stranger comes to town and tells of his exploits on the island of Nantucket. Sadly, the telling of this tale is the only interesting chapter in the book. A voice the man heard on Nantucket demanded that he come to this part of the world to find a specific person to journey back with him to Nantucket. The vast majority of the rest of the book concerns gathering the group who will travel back to Nantucket and traveling only as far as from Oregon to Idaho on this journey across the former USA.
Nothing happens in this book except a group of people banding together, fighting a lot of people, and making it a few miles down the road. The book doesn't come full circle in any way. The ending isn't an end or even a cliffhanger. It doesn't stand on it's own as a novel in any definition I know.
I want to know the answers to the questions posed in the first 7 books, but I don't think I'm willing to read 3 more novels full of this boring drivel at 400 pages each. Maybe someone can spoil it all for me when they've read the final book after it comes out in 2010?