Setting: In a post-apocalyptic version of North America in the year 2023AD, 25 years ofter the change.
First Sentence: He is coming!
This novel is the twelfth in Stirling's Change series.
When I started reading this novel, I was hoping for the big battle of good versus evil. As the novel opens, Rudi's followers, the army of Montival, are massing to fight a battle with the larger army of the Church Universal and Triumphant. Rudi, with the help of the magical Sword of the Lady, must plan the battle well in order to defeat a much larger foe.
Before we reach the battle scenes the novel plods along with Stirling's extensive descriptions of clothing, food, castles, and familial relationships. The pace picks up as the battle ensues. Yet the evil Prophet Sethaz only appears in one brief scene.
After the battle ends, it's time for Rudi to solidify his standing as High King for the newly created Kingdom of Montival. The kingdom is a confederation of several different groups. Some of which, most notably the Portland Protective Association and the Clan Mackenzie, have recently been sworn enemies. Rudi must find a way to stage a coronation that will satisfy all of the various religious and political groups of Montival.
Fortunately, the solution comes to Rudi in a dream. He must take the Sword of the Lady to the Lost Lake, and there commune with the spiritual powers of good.
The novel fades slowly to the end with a "they lived happily ever after feel." Yet the war versus the evil Prophet is not over. I was waiting for an unexpected attack from the prophet and his evil minions, but it never came.
I don't know if I'll read the next novel of the series. If you are interested in medieval clothing, food, and armaments you might enjoy this novel more than I did.
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