Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change” as Want to Read:
Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change (Emberverse #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  9,650 ratings  ·  1,044 reviews
The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.
""Dies the Fire" kept me reading till
ebook, 541 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Roc
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dies the Fire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dies the Fire

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Oct 04, 2008 Troy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: renaissance re-enactors who are convinced that their weapon skills will be useful in the future.
Shelves: given-up
The moment I realized that 50% of Stirling's characters were frustrated Renaissance Festival "swordswomen" who were finally going to be taken seriously in the post-apocalypse and that he WASN'T doing it for comedy's sake, I had to give up. Two stars for competent writing, but I wish they would have been forthright about the SCA's affiliation on the book jacket. I would have spent my money on an over-sized novelty turkey leg and some mead.
This book made me hate reading. It took me a month to get over the trauma that this self indulgent arrogant waste paper induced. Sterling’s lack of subtlety is developing his characters was only surpassed by his amazing ability to make me disaccoiate myself with his heroes within two pages. Amazingly convenient “coincidences” occur more often than in the Hitchhiker books, but at least Adams had the good grace to blame it on an improbability drive instead of just passing it off as the norm.
I've actually traded this book in without finishing it. I'll keep what review I had read up, though....

I've been reading this book, the first of a series, for a while and, well, we just haven't hit it off. Usually, I'm really interested in post-Apocalyptic, sociological books - The Stand and The Postman are both favorites. The books in the Dresden Files are ones that I can't put down, but Dies the Fire is one of those that it's hard to pick back up. (I've been taking it with me to doctor appoint
Feb 06, 2013 Eric rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hardcore post-apocolytic sci-fi fans
Recommended to Eric by: Rose
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
I loved the premise of this novel, but had a lot of problems with the execution. Well, mostly one problem -- the middle of the book crawls.

The book starts off in contemporary West Coast America, following two characters (a pilot and a Ren Faire musician) on a normal day, when The Change happens. This shoots the story right into action, as the characters have to immediately adjust and survive in a world where electricity no longer works. The first third of the book is compelling reading, I finish
I read this for two reasons. One, because it seemed like the true G David Drake thought well enough of SM Stirling to co-write The General series with him. Since then, I've come to the conclusion that that pairing must have been something the publisher pushed at Drake with a nice deal. Apparently, judging by the reviews here, Stirling's books have a fanatical following reminiscent of Twilight. Except, instead of terrible vampire books, he writes awful speculative historical scifi.

Which brings m
Ryan Mishap
One day in March, the world turns white and every person experiences a searing pain. After this brief flash, modern technology no longer works. No electricity, no firearms, not even gun powder works as it used to. Our modern civilization is thrust back to medieval technology, precipitating a catastrophe where most of humanity dies.
The survivors, though, have to figure out how to live in this new world as civilization collapses. We don't get a primitivist's utopia, however, but a competently wri
Dec 23, 2013 Carol. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard apocalypse fans only
Shelves: apocalypse, yawn
It’s been a while since my last apocalypse (not counting The Walking Dead on AMC, naturally), so it was with anticipation that I opened Dies the Fire. While it scratched some of those survivalist itches, unfortunately, when I finished, I felt nothing but relief. And not the good kind.

Actually, I feel kind of ranty about the book. It is such an archtypical tale, an Aesop’s fable with details–lots and lots of details–but no originality, no finesse in characterization or plotting that it is really
Sep 30, 2008 J.S. rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Really diehard Post-Apocalyptic fans
It's been a really long time since I first picked up this book, enticed by the cover art and plot summary on the back. I don't remember exactly how far I got in relation to how much was left to read (although I do remember what caused me to put the book down for the final time, I'll get to that later) but I'll give my opinion on what I gathered from the way things were going:

The essence of this story is just a catchy premise, stretched painfully to cover an entire novel. I usually see this kind
I have always been fascinated with the post-apocalyptic fiction genre. After some woolgathering on why, I have decided it is because it makes me appreciate the postmodern world I live in. Every time I eat a banana, buy strawberries or raspberries imported from Equator in the middle of winter, or when I simply turn the hot water on in my sink; it reminds me of how lucky I am. Take tap water for instance! Most people won’t even drink it, but I’m glad I don’t have to drill my own well and stoke up ...more
Mar 09, 2008 Mike rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I didn't finish this one. The story was fairly interesting at the start--a compelling scenario, a number of potentially interesting characters--but it fizzled fairly quickly. It comes off mostly as an adolescent male fantasy where D&D geeks rule with their sword mastery. I actually laughed at the main bad guy, who had assembled gang leaders from across the city, dazzled them by killing four men at once with his awesome sword skills, and had scantily-clad (and very frightened) women serving t ...more
Outstanding portrayal of the phases of life and civilization in a post-apocalyptic situation in which a mysterious event causes permanent failure of most technology, notably electrical and internal combustion machinery and gunpowder. Once I got past that unlikely premise, I was seriously hooked and every aspect that follows was a believable and compelling account of survival and social evolution in a world stripped of technology. Most of the action takes place in Idaho and Oregon, with working f ...more
Interesting speculative history/dystopian novel as to what would happen if all electronic devices and firearms were suddenly inoperable. The answer: only the Ren Faire geeks/history reenactor buffs would survive.

I enjoyed this well enough, but I don't see me pursuing the entire series. Fun characters, though, and lots to talk about regarding social structures, canibalism, etc.

But by the Three-Aspect Goddess, I'm so glad that my Wiccan friends don't talk like Lady Juniper! Sheesh!
Uk! I didn't like this book and didn't find it believable at all. Maybe it's because I live in Portland, but I gave up after the scene where the bad guy takes over the public library and makes it his palace complete with willing nubile slave girls... after just a few weeks! Sorry, the massive lesbian population here would have had that dude strung up on a lamp post in nano-seconds... and that before we even consider adding the adding all the feminists and hard core religious zelots into the mix. ...more
On an afternoon in early March, the world gets hit with some kind of phenomenon that causes all energy sources to stop functioning. Basically all forms of combustion stop working the way they used, even steam power doesn't work. Bullets no longer fire, explosives have no effect. It's like the properties of physics are instantly "Changed". Suddenly modern society must survive as they did in the ages before modern science and technology.

This story is told from the perspective of two very different
Feb 16, 2014 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SCAers who always wanted to be REAL warlords, Tolkien-loving archers, bear killers
Dies the Fire goes through the usual paces in an end-of-the-world novel: civilization collapses, there is much confusion and rioting, a few lucky/prepared ones are situated such that they don't starve while all the city-dwellers run out of food, there's a massive die-off, and then the most organized, ambitious, and/or ruthless are setting up fiefdoms.

The gimmick here is that "the Change" that causes the end of civilization literally changes the laws of physics. Gunpowder, internal combustion, an
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Masturbatory fantasy for older white men who feel smug in their own sense of superiority. In which real rugged man's men persevere at the fall of civilization to build a new world in the ashes of the old. Lots of "we need only one leader, not a committee" bullshit to justify strong arm tactics. Lots of colonialism, particularly in Stirling's digs at the Nez Perce tribes loss of traditional knowledge, portraying it as an aspect of how a people had degraded without any mention or even hint of the ...more
This book is terrible, it might be one of the worst pieces of fantasy writing I have ever come across. The basic plot device seems simple enough, humanity is abruptly forced to live without technology again as unknown forces cause anything more complicated than edged weapons to stop working.

That's all well and good, you can build something interesting around that. What we get from Stirling are one dimensional characters written to satisfy stereotypes. Every character has one defining aspect, for
Tom Kepler
What happens when the lights go out . . . for good?

The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and firearms inoperable--and plunged the world into a dark age humanity was unprepared to face . . .

S.M. Stirling has written a trilogy of novels about how humanity adapts to the sudden, catastrophic change in potentialities: where, basically, the technologies of medieval times are all that "w
The idea presented in this book of a world suddenly without electricity and gunfire seemed interesting enough and I've already read the first book of the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy (and liked it a lot) that is somewhat linked with the universe shown in this book so I thought I'd give it a try. It started somewhat slow but I kept going. It didn't even bother me much when the coincidences of meeting just the right people started piling up, after all without them the book would probably be b ...more
The premise is a little weak, I thought. This mysterious event happens that changes the laws of physics, yet there's no particular explanation for it. The novel is entirely alternate history, except for this nebulous fantasy set-up. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story immensely, felt it was well developed once I accepted the fantasy lead-in. The story had more than its share of convenient strokes-of-good-luck, but hey, you have to keep the characters alive somehow, right?
Dies The Fire is dead. I could not finish it, I just didn't care about any of it. I gave it half way through, but could take no more.
Adi Greif
The main male protagonist is so bigoted in so many ways, and the consequences of the 'apocalypse' so hilarious, I couldn't keep reading. Big-picture: the author believes that by reverting technology backwards a thousand years, all of human society must be organized as farmers or bandits that prey on farmers. Yup, nobody a thousand years ago had cities or complex public works. But what was hilarious is that he depicts Renaissance Fair hobbyists who practice with swords as most likely to rule the ...more
Had to set this one down about half way through. I was on page 260ish out of something like 500, so I tried, but I just didn't want to waste any more time on this story that was giving me nothing but laughs. I don't want laughs out of my apocalyptic epics, especially when the author isn't trying to be funny.

Many other reviews have pointed out this book's flaws--the implausibility of everyone knowing how to build bows and arrows and chain mail armor, the uninspired and one dimensional characters,
3 Stars

I really liked quie a bit of this post apocalyptic novel, but do feel that it left me a little unsatisified.

There is a sudden white flash, followed by pain and confusion, and voila no more electricity, and no more gun powder. Our protagonists never really try to figure out the how's or the why's behind the "Change", they simply speculate about it in a matter of fact way.

There are some really great characterizations in this novel, I liked many of the heroes of this story.

Stirling does an
Thank the maker... this book took me forever to read because it was much more fantasy then I expected. I thought... SF all the way. I mean, power goes out and everything that we know of is lost, but nay, it was the other way around. Power was out and the next thing I know, the people of the book are now living a life like that of the medieval times... And I should of known it would be like that. When the world ends and there is no power, it only makes sense that life will become like that of Kin ...more
Nov 11, 2009 Craig rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone with time to kill, a lot of it
Recommended to Craig by: Jim Crawford
Understand before you read the next sentence that I am a D&D player and go to Renaissance Festivals. S.M. Stirling is a hack that needs to go back to LARP-ing and working at his local Ren Faire. How he convinced a publisher to back more of these novels is the crime of the century.
This story is about the world after a freak electrical storm knocks out every electronic device in the world and renders explosives uselss. The world reverts to riding horses and carrying swords. I wonder how ofte
The author has some talent and the writing isn't bad. Neither is the plot nor pace. The dialogue is a bit similar (characters often sound the same). But they are all adequate--not great, not good, but acceptable. What I could not stomach was the basic premise: everything changes in the universe to ensure RenFaire and SCA geeks rule. Really? (And I count myself among RenFaire geeks, so I'm not being snobby.)

If you didn't read it, here's the premise: Tech suddenly stops working. Electricity can't
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I almost gave up on this one but stuck with it and it finally grew on me. I like this type of story, seeing how people deal with the post apocalyptic world. I didn't like that not only was there no explanation of what caused the Change, it actually altered the laws of physics. That seemed such a weak way to set up the conditions the author wanted, i.e., a world with technology of the Middle Ages and no ability to develop anything else.

The thing that kept making me cringe was how the post-Change
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: Postapocalyptic fiction set in Northwest [s] 3 34 Oct 30, 2013 09:07AM  
Wrong spelling of the author's name 1 7 Oct 20, 2013 06:51PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Dies The Fire - March 2013 21 60 Mar 22, 2013 02:02PM  
  • Without Warning (The Disappearance, #1)
  • Warday
  • Plague Year (Plague, #1)
  • 1632 (Assiti Shards, #1)
  • Summer of the Apocalypse
  • The Guns of the South
  • Choice of the Cat (Vampire Earth #2)
  • Eternity Road
  • Emergence
  • World Made by Hand
  • Firestorm (Destroyermen, #6)
  • Malevil
  • By Schism Rent Asunder (Safehold, #2)
  • Wolf and Iron
  • Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse
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...
The Protector's War (Emberverse, #2) Island in the Sea of Time (Nantucket, #1) A Meeting at Corvallis (Emberverse, #3) The Sunrise Lands (Emberverse, #4) The Scourge of God (Emberverse, #5)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Now let's move on to the subject of how a real man treats his wife. A real man doesn't slap even a ten-dollar hooker around, if he's got any self respect, much less hurt his own woman. Much less ten times over the mother of his kids. A real man busts his ass to feed his family, fights for them if he has to, dies for them if he has to. And he treats his wife with respect every day of his life, treats her like a queen - the queen of the home she makes for their children.” 62 likes
And the first king was a lucky soldier. 15 likes
More quotes…