Dies the Fire (Emberverse Series #1)
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Dies the Fire (Emberverse #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  9,165 ratings  ·  1,009 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.

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Published September 18th 2008 by Tantor Media, Inc. (first published August 3rd 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Troy
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.
Chris
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.
Sue
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...more
Eric
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...more
Brent
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...more
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...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Dec 23, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] 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...more
J.S.
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...more
Mike
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
Cleverusername2
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
Christine
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
Michael
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
Darcy
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!
Stephanie
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...more
David
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...more
Emrys
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chloe
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
Jeff
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...more
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...more
Anoolka
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
Stacey
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?
Stephanie
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.
Adam
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,...more
Jason
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...more
Andy
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
Craig
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...more
Wjmacguffin
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...more
LA
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna
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...more
John McDonell
I love Stirling's concept. He handles it well and with the ease of an experienced writer. The whole series is great. This is a must read for anyone who likes fantasy or survival books, as well as any preppers out there. The occurance that knocks the world on its keister is not really plausable, (I don't see how it could be though and still get where the story needed to go),nevertheless,the book is about what happens afterward, to society and humanity in general. On one level it is about populati...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.

More about S.M. Stirling...
The Protector's War (Emberverse, #2) A Meeting at Corvallis (Emberverse, #3) Island in the Sea of Time (Nantucket, #1) The Sunrise Lands (Emberverse, #4) The Scourge of God (Emberverse, #5)

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