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Island in the Sea of Time (Island in the Sea of Time #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  4,939 ratings  ·  295 reviews
During a perfect spring evening on Nantucket, a violent storm erupts and a dome of crawling, colored fire blankets the island. When the howling winds subside and the night skies clear, the stars appear to have shifted. The mainland has become a wilderness of unbroken forest, where tools of bronze and stone litter the beaches, and primitive natives scatter in terror.

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Published November 10th 2008 by Tantor Media (first published 1998)
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

After a strange electrical storm, the residents of Nantucket discover that their entire island and its surrounding waters have been sent back to 1300 B.C. Now this society, which is mostly based on a tourist economy, must figure out how to establish a new identity in prehistory. This includes clearing and farming land, building ships, finding new sources of fuel, salt, and other necessities, and most difficult of all, developing a constitution and befriend
This book is technically fairly well executed, but politically leaves me cross-eyed. Warning for sexual violence, weird race issues, and general ookiness. In order to discuss it, first, an overview of the plot:

One spring night, the island of Nantucket (with several miles of coastal waters) is inexplicably transported into the bronze age. Luckily for the islanders, the coastal waters include a Coast Guard ship, the Eagle, and her captain, Black lesbian Marian Alston, who is plenty competent to or
Sep 20, 2007 Annette rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy or History lovers
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book, and the two that followed in the trilogy.

Quick synopsis - the island of Nantucket (and a wooden Coast Guard ship) are mysteriously whisked back in time several thousand years.

The only reason I didn't give this one five stars is that Stirling gets a bit carried away with some of the more ... unsavory sexual behavior of some of his characters. This seems to be a consistent trend of his in most of his books. He can't seem to write plain old vanilla sex - his sex scenes are eith
Wow. I had this book on my to-read shelf for some time as I'd heard it was a good alt history book but I never got around to reading it til one of my book clubs picked it as a series read. And I'm glad I finally read it.

A fascinating, thrilling story of an incident which send the island of Nantucket, MA, USA (plus a sailing vessel of the Coast Guard) back in time to around 1250 BC. The affected having to come to terms with the loss of everyone and everything they once knew and learn to live in t
This is probably a pretty good book within the subgenre of time-travel/alternate-history, but that is damning with faint praise. There are so many pitfalls that have to be avoided that it usually isn't worth bothering to open the book.

(The only one I can recommend: Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. If you'll settle for just alternate-history, try the incredible The Man in the High Castle, or for just time-travel, maybe the almost-incredible Doomsday Book.)

The biggest problem her
May 01, 2013 Valerie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists
In a word, terrible.

In several words, racist, sexist, and just problematic in more ways than one.

The ones concerned about having supremely negative effects on the current civilizations are the ones that are delusional, incompetent, and lead to failure.

The sole mentioned Asian-American character is a woman who gets her rocks off by torturing people.

The black woman who is in charge of the coast guard people stranded with the island and is part of the closest thing they have to a military is a le
I give credit to Stirling for making such an accurate time travel story and for clearly doing his research, making it as realistic as possible. However, that's one of the only satisfactions I received. Eventually said research became overbearing, and instead of letting his readers learn and come to understand the world through the lives of their characters he resorted to info-dumping in excruciating detail, and often in the most annoying places. There would be numerous times in the middle of cha ...more
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I have been rereading old favorites this summer, and I am happy to say that most of them are as enjoyable as I remembered. This one was filed in my mind as a swashbuckling adventure in time travel. I recalled it as being super engaging, keeping my nose firmly in the book through a long and eventful weekend of travel. Well, my memories were accurate and I can still say that nobody does it better than S.M. Stirling. In this one, he moves the island of Nantucket from now into the Bronze Age. The in ...more
3.5 stars. Excellent, if you like Swiss Family Robinson and Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court-type stories. Well-researched and told.

But it was all too quick and too easy. Yeah, there was a big conflict of sorts, but everything worked too well for even the renegade "Islanders." But isn't that the style of these back-to-the-past stories?

Fun read. Not great literature. Hardly even credible, despite all the research Stirling apparently did.

Heavy-handed negative stereotypes among secondary
Despite having the same rating and similar a premise, I actually liked this book more than 1632 by Eric Flint.

I liked the fact that Nantucket stayed in the same geographical location. Moving West Virginia to Germany to put them in the middle of the action was a plot device that annoyed me.

All in all, this feels like a more realistic take on the idea of a town moving back in time. Relatively speaking, I mean. And its missing a lot of that overzealous American patriotism that became so annoying
I couldn't finish this book; I kept trying but gave up about 4/5 of the way through. The characters weren't engaging, the options of dealing with native populations were not adequately explored while at the same time patting itself on the back for doing just that. Some of the characterizations were undeveloped and occasionally offensive.

Mostly I just found the whole situation not worth reading about. My review may be a little biased because I have decided that this genre is probably not my thin
Jennifer Connolly
When you start rooting for the bad guys to kill everyone else, you know something's gone wrong. I found this book intensely annoying.
E. Kahn
For a guy who makes such a point of writing characters against stereotypes, S.M. Stirling sure writes a lot ethnic stereotypes. Seriously, this thing reads like a collaboration between Andrea Dworkin and Sax Rohmer.

I have a lot to say about the plot, but honestly that would apply to the genre as a whole. If you think a bunch of modern first worlders with a representative (and extremely unlikely) cross-section of skills and understanding of modern technology inexplicably go back in time to impose
Another excellent offering from S.M. Stirling. "Island" is technically in the "Change" novels universe, but the stories are entirely separate because the premise goes that just before our world was thrown back into the dark ages by a sudden change in the laws of physics, the island of Nantucket was actually physically transported back in time to about 1250 BC. (This is alluded to in the second "Change" trilogy when an expedition finds pre-Columbian Indians living on Nantucket somewhere around 20 ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Chak rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chak by: Claire
I was completely hooked by the plot, but the writing and character development brought the rating down a few points. The Island of Nantucket (with all of the people, buildings, ships and technology within a certain radius) was mysteriously sent back in time to the year 1200 B.C. The most interesting parts of the book for me were the efforts to form a government and society and provide continued sustenance and safety of the people. Stirling reasoned through all of this very well, and when he stuc ...more
The premise was interesting and I liked the characters but, something was missing. There is a more than enough detail on how things work or are built, etc. but the writing never felt electric or moving in the way that great authors do. I don't expect every writer to be great but, if it's going to be a novel of ideas and conjecture, the writing style and prose should have passages that really strike deep. If it's going to be an adventure, chase, fight, survive, then it has to have more forward mo ...more
This is a good swash-buckling adventure story. The island of Nantucket is suddenly swept into the year 1250 BCE, along with the Coast Guard vessel "Eagle" which happens to be sailing nearby. While the storyline is good, it is too predictable. Soon after each main character is introduced, it is all too obvious how that character would be faring in the story.

Apart from the small reserves held on Nantucket from before the time switch, petro-chemicals are not available. Therefore, electricity and mo
Benjamin Newland
OK, I think I've got it figured out. The last book I read (The Sunrise Lands) is the first book in the second trilogy in the second series of "The Change" novels. This book is the first of the first of the first. It's confusing, and a more detailed list of books by series inside the front cover would have been appreciated, publisher!

Anyways, I liked this one, but didn't love it. The premise is very interesting, the characters good, the actions/battle scenes particularly well written. For me, wha
Disappointing. I loved the premise of this book (modern Americans sent back in time, need to cope and rebuild society) but the sex and race stuff was just ick, and the violence was unappealing. I found the rape scenes really disturbing and wish they had not been included. While Stirling is great at thinking through the hows of this situation, some of his characters and scenes are so hard to take that I ended up skimming whole sections. I appreciate that the leads were not all straight white men, ...more
One of my favorite books. I've read this multiple times and enjoyed it every time. If you like alternate history stories this epic read is sure to satisfy.
1 star might be a little harsh, but I can't remember the last time I've hated the way an author went with a book as I did with Island. It starts off strong but then the antagonist is the one with the concept of how to deal with the situation and the protaganists are just annoying do-gooders that should be doomed to failure because they just don't get it. I had really looked forward to reading this, but it was a big disappointment; now I have the sequel on my shelf just taking space for the fores ...more
Gerald Curtis
This was my first attempt with this author. The premise was intriguing - a freak storm that transports an entire island community back in time over 3000 years. I thought that part was done really well and I very much enjoyed vicariously experiencing the dilemma and reactions of the many well-portrayed characters.

I thought I had found a new author to treasure.

But then the story line deteriorated into an endlessly tedious portrayal of how the many, many things were solved that had to be solved if
I've read few books that I *really* didn't like. This is one. I realize that a lot of books contain a lot of the writer's fantasies, but in this one it was so obvious that it made me cringe. Premise good, execution bad. So bad, in fact, I had Jeanette just tell me what happened in the sequel rather than reading it.
Chris Smith
Yeah, yeah...the good guys are smart and great and the bad guys are dumb and terrible. No shades of grey at all.
Great book, enjoyable story and characters although the last couple of pages let it down with the whole follow our religion it`s better which I feel wasn`t necessary especially for 1250 b.c. .Definitely read the next one though some very cool characters I want to follow
Great premise, promising start, disappointing development, ridiculous ending. I'm giving it 3 stars because I did enjoy the first half or so of the book, and I'm a sucker for time travel stories.
Fraser Alister
Very "meat and potatoes" entertaining, escapist alternate history novel where the residents of Nantucket (and a coast guard training ship that happens to be nearby) are transported back to the bronze age, and start struggling to survive in their new habitat, then expanding.
Taciturn self reliant small business tolerant middle class values get to hold sway while religious nutcases and new age hippy types caricatures are quickly disposed of by taking a strawman versions of their views to logical co
Jan 29, 2008 Sheena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephanie, Patrick
Recommended to Sheena by: Stephanie
Shelves: fantasy
This is the absolutely perfect counterpoint to the "Dies the Fire" series. Realistic, gritty, but also steeped in a certain sense of pageantry. Alternate historians will love it!
Leon Aldrich
I can't recall which was the first Stirling novel I read. His "Nantucket" trilogy made me a fan, follower and shrine builder to all Stirling novels...
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Gut Reaction Book 1 *no spoilers* 28 235 Sep 01, 2012 11:35AM  
  • 1632 (Assiti Shards, #1)
  • The Guns of the South
  • Designated Targets (Axis of Time, #2)
  • Lest Darkness Fall
  • The Cross-Time Engineer (Conrad Stargard, #1)
  • Into the Storm (Destroyermen, #1)
  • 1901
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.

More about S.M. Stirling...

Other Books in the Series

Island in the Sea of Time (3 books)
  • Against the Tide of Years (Nantucket, #2)
  • On the Oceans of Eternity (Nantucket, #3)
Dies the Fire (Emberverse, #1) The Protector's War (Emberverse, #2) A Meeting at Corvallis (Emberverse, #3) The Sunrise Lands (Emberverse, #4) The Scourge of God (Emberverse, #5)

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