Setting: In an alternate version of the early twenty-first century, years after and event which rendered modern technology useless.
First Sentence: I am so fucked, Pilot Officer Alyssa Larsson thought, as the glider hit a pocket of cold air, shocking and utterly unexpected.
This novel is the thirteenth novel in S. M. Stirling's Novels of the Change series.
In the previous nine novels in this series, we follow Rudi Mackenzie as he and a small group travel across North America. Along the way Rudi gains allies for his cause, obtains the magical Sword of the Lady, and comes to understand how incredibly evil the Prophet of the Cutters is. When the quest returns home, Rudi sets about forming a coalition of allies to battle the Cutters.
Like many fantasy tales, this series is an epic battle between good and evil. The arc of the plot seemed to point to this novel as the conclusion of the struggle. I expected to read about a grand battle. And, as the title warned, a character (probably Rudi) would give his life to save humanity.
Instead, there was a straight forward battle in which the evil prophet was killed too easily. Followed by almost a hundred pages of happily ever after.
In the end, with plenty of foreshadowing, Stirling redeems the series and gives the good guys some evil to fight in future novels.
Like most of Stirling's books, this novel is heavy on description. Although, there was some excitement at the beginning. The novel soon bogged down into tedious details. For me, the last half of the book was a long slow read. More than once, I was tempted to put the book down. In my opinion, the plot twist at the end was too little, too late.
I'm not sure I'll read any more novels in this series.