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The Scourge of God: A Novel of the Change (Emberverse #5)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  4,102 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
Scourge Of God, The: A Novel Of The Change, by Stirling, S.M.
Mass Market Paperback, 511 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Ace (first published 2008)
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Clay Kallam
Dec 04, 2008 Clay Kallam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of s.m. stirling
Shelves: sf-fantasy
The hype has been pretty steady for S.M. Stirling as he has written eight different books based on one imaginary event: An as-yet unexplained 1998 event/explosion over Nantucket Island that seriously disrupted the planet – to the extent that 90% of the world’s population died when electric power, internal combustion engines and all non-muscle-powered machinery essentially stopped working. (It also had an impact on medieval times, the subject of the first three books.)

“The Scourge of God” (Roc, $
William Bentrim
Dec 15, 2009 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any scifi fantasy fan
The Scourge of God by S. M. Stiriling

The gods have tasked Rudi Mackenzie with a task. He must claim a sword across the country in Nantucket and return home. He and his companions set out across a hostile countryside, facing wasteland lands and the fanatic cutters.

Stirling stirs the soul. I find his writing captivating and enthralling. His hero’s embody both realism and astounding strength of character. The modesty and self depreciation of Rudi is contrasted with the self centeredness of Odard.
Gah I hate saying this because I have been such a fan of this series... I'm getting bored. The author is still good, things are descriptive and the scenery is nice. It is pretty amazing how this author does not live near where he is writing about but he sounds like he is actually there where he is writing about. He has an incredible imagination to be able to come up with the series and keep it going. But this book is taking forever; it isn't keeping me engaged at all and I'm a pretty loyal reade ...more
So far, so good. I am impressed that Stirling is putting his characters in real danger and letting them - even our favorites - get really hurt.
There have always been heavy religious elements to the "Change" books, but - ignoring the change itself - there's been little that is truly supernatural with the exception of a few experiences of Juniper's group. For the most part rationalists and agnostics are not given all that much to challenge their positions. But this is changing.
In "Scourge," the
I read S.M. Stirling for the Apocalypse Now Challenge. This was a last-minute addition to my challenge because I realized Mr. Stirling was not well represented in the challenge. This would have been a true crime because no one writes the neomedieval post apoc novel like S.M. Stirling. His “Emberverse” series is a jaunty fest into a renaissance festival gone horribly wrong. The Scourge of God is the 5th novel in the series, or the 2nd novel in the Emberverse II depending on i ...more
Kathy Davie
Mar 20, 2015 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, apocalyptic
Fifth in the overall Emberverse apocalyptic science fiction series and the second in the second trilogy in the Emberverse, The Change, which revolves around Rudi and his merry country-crossing disparate band that includes Mathilda, Edain with Garbh, Odard, Father Ignatius, Frederick Thurston, and the twins, Mary and Ritva.

My Take
It's a terrifying start and only gets scarier. There is action galore, terrifying adventures, ambushes, torture, attacks, hair-raising escapes, horrible wounds, deaths,
Definitely enjoyed this one - 5th in the series (or 2nd in the second series, depending on how you want to look at it)

The books are starting to move more from an "alternate present" that happens to have an unexplained plot mcguffin (the change) into something that definitely feels like urban fantasy, with the occasional appearance of a god, a spirit, or a mystical vision that tells one of the main characters the way to go. That doesn't bother me in the slightest - I can usually switch gears pret
Dec 16, 2010 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
12/11 I'm bumping this up to four stars. The second reading left me less concerned with plot progression, and more willing to luxuriate in the world that Stirling's made. Yes, there's no doubt that Rudi is going to triumph in every situation, but it's because he's Hero Incarnate. It's a lovely escape, and a wonderfully convincing dystopia.

12/10 Another solid entry in the Emberverse saga, this book takes Rudi Makenzie and his cohorts deep into the middle of what used to be the United States. Thei
Nov 18, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fifth book in the series of Dies the Fire, The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis, and the Sunrise Lands. The first three book occur shortly after a cataclismic change occurs on Earth which results in a fundamental change in how people live and how society is organized. The fourth book and this one are the exploits of the generation after the 1998 Change. Our heros are one an epic quest somewhat similar to that in Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings. The adventure is continuous and entertai ...more
May 12, 2009 Luke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Am almost done with this book 2 of the second trilogy. I got it in hardcover for my birthday. I'm sure to read it cover to cover again. absolutely love how the characters seem to be living and breathing.

something new in this book... that I never saw from Stirling before... He has made the characters explore and learn other cultures, faiths, and beliefs. Its broadened my mindset. It reminds me if Tolkien were to rewrite Lord of the Rings in a different way... Scourge of God reminds me of LOTR in
Ryan Mishap
The Change series continues as Rudy attempts to travel to Nantucket--where the Event that rendered modern technology useless supposedly originated--to retrieve a sword. His band was waylaid in Boise's fight with The Prophet and these crazy religious warriors track them on their journey to Lakota lands and to Iowa.
The book is fun to read, but it is a tad long as Stirling has the characters thinking private asides on too many pages. This slows down the interactions, the action, and the story. W
I didn't like this book less than the last one but it was frustrating because the main story of finding the sword and finding out about what caused the Change made only glacial progress. The action scenes are great and the dynamics of the various tribes and political groups are still interesting, but what I want is for Rudi to get to Nantucket and get is storyline over with.

I am starting to wonder if that storyline is going to be finished in the next book or not. If it is then great. If not I wi
Dec 27, 2016 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the story and the voice of the man reading the story was perfect. If only he pronounced things correctly. Or, I should probably say, as I expect them to be pronounced. For example, if you are shortening the word machete into chete, presumably it would be pronounced something like 'shetty' rather than 'sheet'. It kept throwing me out of the story. There were others but the chete one was way too often as it was the weapon of choice for most of the players in the book (and sometimes ...more
Vickey Foggin
The 9 continue their quest eastward and the anthropologist in me really enjoyed their tour of the different cultures that had spread up across the US after the Change. That and some more focused political and character bumps this up to 4 stars. I'm still enjoying this trilogy less than the first one as it is more focused on battles than personalities. Stirling tries to counter that by cramming in some heavy handed deaths and grieving which aren't the most fun to read but at least this book is be ...more
Kevin Hua
Jul 23, 2014 Kevin Hua rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 12 year olds.
Why is this book boring?

I've asked myself that a few times as I read through it. I mean I liked the first Emberverse series, so what the hell happened here?

After some thought, I decided that more than anything else, it was Stirling's characters that killed it for me. All the good guys are ridiculously good. All the bad guys are ridiculously evil. In fact, the characters are so extremely cheesy that I have trouble giving a crap about any of them. I mean, no one can possibly be as good, capable, s
Jan 21, 2009 D.w. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The reasons this tale does not get higher is that the more the author pens, the less consistent his world view seems. Our heroes who are undefeatable and will never die it seems have the laws of the world they know only change to support them.

It causes us to lose the drama and conflict that we should expect, that we had in the first series. Here the bad guys from that are good guys and we are kept being shown just how nice they are now.

The new bad guys are so bad that they have anti-heroes that
Ryan G
Feb 03, 2011 Ryan G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Scourge of God takes place at the same point that The Sunrise Lands ended. Rudi is determined to rescue his friends for the new alliance formed between The Church Universal Triumphant and United States of Boise. The old president was assassinated by his eldest son with the help of the Prophet and now his youngest son is on the run with Rudi and his friends. Once the rescue mission goes off with just a few glitches the group of adventures continue to make their way East to Nantucket. Along th ...more
Ryan Mcdowell
Feb 14, 2017 Ryan Mcdowell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and it made a great plane to marathon read on a plane trip!
Linda I
Please understand that I am a huge Emberverse fan and love, love, love this series (particularly the MacKenzies), however I wasn't as enthralled with this story as all the previous. Possibly because this is the middle of Rudi MacKenzie's journey to Nantucket or because the story didn't really have a central focus this time, but I felt like the whole novel was nothing but one prolonged battle scene where the only differences lay in terrain and allies. My goodness, Stirling certainly puts Rudi and ...more
Nov 26, 2013 Fred rated it really liked it
The thing that kept this book from getting five stars for me was that the first hundred or so pages were painfully slow. After that it picked up a bit and things went faster as the action unfolded. All told, this is a great series and one that still tentatively shelve as Post Apocalyptic.

Personally, I can't wait until the group (fellowship?) reaches the eastern deadzone. I'm not sure that I like the way that the book ended. It was a bit of a cliffhanger but in a direction and with a twist that
I'm having a harder time getting into this book than the previous Change novels. I think it's because it starts right where the previous book left off and that was a pretty bloody ending. Lots of violence right up front. I'm still curious enough to want to see how he brings the story forward and then to its conclusion with his forthcoming book, but I must admit, the fanatic cult CUT which is a major obstacle to Rudy's quest is definitely a scary faction I don't like reading about ...

Things are
Daniel Mala
Okay, here I am finishing the fifth book in the never ending Emberverse Series, so I’m going to try not to be as critical on this review as I have on the earlier books. This is mostly in that I’ve changed my perspective of this series. The key change in my viewpoint is that this series is displayed as a science fiction book and the key to good science fiction is that the science is plausible and makes you see the real world for what could be. This series is fantasy or rather dark fantasy that br ...more
An Odd1
Jun 22, 2011 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
** "The Scourge of God" (E5) by S. M. Stirling is the evil possessed self-proclaimed prophet's equally nasty patricidal heir. The preceding "Sunrise Lands" (E4) set a future US returned to remembered culture styles, medieval, tribal, by a sudden Change when all technology stopped working. Trouble and allies arise among ranchers, Indians, then a military traditional camp. The cliffhanger was hostages to be rescued. After a monastery retreat, again, the end is hostages, held by the same nasty, now ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Rahadyan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was eager to read S.M. Stirling's The Scourge of God, the sixth in a series of novels set after some unkonwn entities have altered physical laws so that internal combustion, electricity and explosives no longer work (but the human nervous system seems to function as before). Much of Earth has been depopulated with what remnants of civilization remaining in small pockets, such as in Oregon, Idaho and Iowa. The series began with Dies the Fire, which seems to be at least a useful prerequisite for ...more
Oct 07, 2014 jammastere rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really loving this series!

I didn't know if I would continue to enjoy and care for the next generation of characters in the Emberverse series. I kind of knew the series was changing from urban fantasy to more epic fantasy and I wasn't sure I would like where it was leading.

I LOVE this series and the next generation of characters! This story continues the journey of Rudi and his traveling companions as they attempt to journey across America to reach the island of Nantucket. Rudi is convinced that
Erica Anderson
First of all, don't try to jump into this novel if you haven't read The Sunrise Lands. You'll be lost. If you've read Sunrise, then you know that this book continues Rudi's quest to find Nantucket. The big problem with this book is that it doesn't go anywhere in terms of plot. There is a lot of character development, a lot of action, killing, and death. But Rudi's band basically has a lot of adventures without actually getting anywhere.

Okay, they do get to Wisconsin, but the point is that this
Junkie for the Written Word
Just re-read this to be prepared for The Sword of the Lady.

S. M. Stirling is a good writer, the world he has created in the "novels of the change" are rich and inspired. I love the fact that he actually seems to have researched pagan/wiccan traditions before going off and writing about them all willy-nilly. The story is fresh and exciting in the genre and I get excited when each new book in the series is about to come out.

I do have a couple of issues with the books though:
1) At this point I ei
More of the same from this series, though like the previous book, it ramps up the supernatural side of things. Much of Rudi's story in this one dealt with side quests and downtime.

I guess it's supposed to be part of his hero journey to make allies, but I'd prefer more resolution to earlier issues than introduction of so many new characters and complications. The pace also feels awkward, it took a book and a half for the group to get to the Rockies, and then only a couple of chapters to reach Io
Oct 27, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great "Emberverse" book & another raiting that I wish that I could give an additional half star to... The action sequences and descriptions of the martial details are still engrossing. The characters are fun and the mythology that is being built is very interesting indeed. The implications of Powers behind the scenes at war while using Man as just one skirmish on a vast battlefield is frightening and fun. As with all of the previous books, this one is a real page-turner. However, the ...more
This is the second book of the later emberverse series (fifth in the overall series) and takes Rudi and his companions from Idaho to Iowa, with many stops along the way. This series is one of my favorite series and this book is no exception. This is a very character-driven story (which is where many authors lose with their obsessively-world driven stories) but also has a very well thought out world, which is uncommon. The main character (Rudi) is so well written and is such a good mixture of bad ...more
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Stephen Michael Stirling is a French-born Canadian-American science fiction and fantasy author. Stirling is probably best known for his Draka series of alternate history novels and the more recent time travel/alternate history Nantucket series and Emberverse series.

(personal website: source)

I’m a writer by trade, born in France but Canadian by origin and American by naturalizat
More about S.M. Stirling...

Other Books in the Series

Emberverse (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Dies the Fire (Emberverse, #1)
  • The Protector's War (Emberverse, #2)
  • A Meeting at Corvallis (Emberverse, #3)
  • The Sunrise Lands (Emberverse, #4)
  • The Sword of the Lady (Emberverse, #6)
  • The High King of Montival (Emberverse, #7)
  • The Tears of the Sun (Emberverse, #8)
  • Lord of Mountains (Emberverse, #9)
  • The Given Sacrifice (Emberverse, #10)
  • The Golden Princess (Emberverse, #11)

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