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On the Oceans of Eternity

(Island in the Sea of Time #3)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  3,885 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Harry Turtledove hailed Island in the Sea of Time as "one of the best time travel/alternative history stories I've ever read," and Jane Lindskold called Against the Tide of Years "another exciting and explosive tale." Now the adventures of the Nantucket islanders lost in the time of the Bronze Age continues with On the Oceans of Eternity.

Ten years ago, the twentieth cent
Mass Market Paperback, 630 pages
Published April 10th 2000 by Ace Books (first published April 1st 2000)
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4.01  · 
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 ·  3,885 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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The ending lacks the punch it needs for this series - I guess the overwhelming number of battles described in this book just kind of sags your interest after a while. Maybe concentrating on only few key battles would do the trick, but here we're faced with more and more battlefronts as the book progresses. As if the author set up the stage for another book then changed his mind. The stay in Alba was redundant, equaly so the described ship voyages.

It's a shame - I thought we'd see more of Odikweo
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
OK. So I'm done now. It was painful to finish the series, but hey, I'm adicted to reading.

Stirling does not cover himself with glory in this series. There are some interesting characters, and the basic story is quite good, but the pacing is awful, there are stretches of description and inner-monologues that are interminable, and the sheer number of characters Stirling is trying do justice to is unmanageable.

Considering this is the guy who wrote The General series, he's ALREADY dealt with the who
The series started off so well! But the author clearly has nothing to say after his initial burst of enthusiasm. Let me ask you: what is it that you enjoy about time travel stories? Or alternate histories for that matter? Is it the detailed description of different cultures and the clash of civilizations that comes from bringing modern values into contact with ancient ones? Is it the change and adaptation necessary to transform modern technology into more primitive (but still superior) tech usin ...more
This is the final book in the Nantucket trilogy, a series that begins with the island of Nantucket being thrown back in time from 1988 A.D. to 1250 B.C.

I’ve had mixed feelings about the trilogy. It was a fun premise, and there was a lot to like about the story. I particularly enjoyed the encounters with ancient cultures and watching the characters figure out how to survive and accomplish their goals with limited modern materials and resources. On the other hand, there were a lot of battles, to
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: post-apocolyptic
Oh my, does Stirling love details. Seriously, I'm not going to learn how to captain a ship by reading your book. I know starboard and port. I really don't need to know anything else. I don't even know half the words you are using. Because it couldn't hold my attention, it was hard to get through this book even though the author's other series, Dies the Fire, is one of my favorites.
James Tullos
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
See my full thoughts here:

And here we've got one more disappointing climax to a good series.

On the Oceans of Eternity is the finale to the Island trilogy and it really drops the ball. Despite having a good setup it's so full of padding, pointless side quests, and anticlimaxes that it falls almost completely flat.

Before I start complaining here's the good stuff: The battles are still great, and some of the villains get some development. Isketerol and McAndrews both ha
Kat  Hooper
Sep 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
On the Oceans of Eternity is the final novel in S.M. Stirling’s NANTUCKET series. In the first novel, Island in the Sea of Time, which I really enjoyed, a strange electrical storm caused the entire island of Nantucket to be transported back in time to 1300 B.C. It was entertaining to watch the island’s citizens make this discovery and deal with the resulting personal, cultural, economic and political changes. Then, one of the citizens, William Walker, decided to use his modern knowledge and tech ...more
Joel Judge
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I had very mixed feelings about this book. At first I was really annoyed with the none to subtle rehash of the film Zulu. I cannot for the life of me comprehend what the author was thinking by simply rehashing scenes from a 1964 film. Enjoyed the film but did not enjoy having it plagiarised in print.

From then on the book improved marginally. I liked the premise of the series, but thought its execution was flawed. The world building was weak and not enough time was devoted to fleshing out the ma
Melissa Yael Winston
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Die, Deus ex machina, die!

I was looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy where I knew the good guys would win.

With about 100 pages to go, I got worried. There were too many loose ends to be tied up to my satisfaction. With 20 pages to go, I was ready to throw the book across the room. It just seemed like the author got lazy and the end and threw in a cheap ending to get himself off the hook. Ugh!
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Whatever it's faults, this series is EPIC and slavish to the minutest detail of war, sailing, and tactics. I will never forget Marian Alston and Swindapa, the fightin'est lesbian couple known to modern literature! I'd even go so far as to say Marian is on of the top ten characters in any Fantasy/SciFi I've ever read...I can smell her sweat as I write this!

This third book was really good, though the side-stories were a bit much sometimes. (The California side story almost seemed like filler, as i
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
So I will just start with if you haven't read the first two books you will be totally lost if you try to pick this one up. You HAVE to start with book #1. That is the way the series was written.

I loved the series overall. It is a great mix between time travel and alternate history and fantasy all rolled into one series. If you want a summary of the book read the jacket flap:) I will say that if you are the kind of person who wants everything simple or all story threads wrapped up at the end of a
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good ending to this series. I honestly saw the ending coming quite a long way off so that was a bit of a disappointment, but that is ok. What I liked about this book (and the series) was the melding of historical figures (Odysseus was in this novel) and modern technology. You also really get a feel for what humans have learned (not just tech wise) in the last 3500 years (for those reading this that are asking what I mean I say read the series). My only real criticism of the boo ...more
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
After the third large-ish book this was kind of like an old friend. The story was thought provoking as I went about my day(s), I kept thinking, "could I make that from scratch if I had to?" Usually my answer was no way. The shear amount of research and knowledge Stirling had to accumulate to write this book is impressive. From metalurgy to sailing to farming to antique weapons. Unfortunately he probably did a bit too much research, I enjoyed a huge amount of the details but there is a tipping p ...more
Strona po stronie
Oct 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Again, I liked the first book better. It's definitely not because of the number of new characters (I actually find them quite refreshing) and not because of the frequent POV changes (they may be a bit distracting, but one can get used to them). So, no. It's just that both the second book and the third one focus mainly on battles and I prefer the culture clash and other such tidbits (like (view spoiler)). Personal preference.

Anyway, it's
CV Rick
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Well I finished the series. I deserve a certificate of completion.

Cookie cutter characters - all good and talented or all evil and relentless. Myopic viewpoint in love with modern innovation by rejecting modern sensibilities. Annoying internal speeches. But the plot was fast and engaging.

I wonder if Stirling believes that people speak in hackneyed similes? I wonder if he knows that good people can be bad - or bad at things. I wonder if he's met a bad person who does good.


It's worth 3 sta
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
an opportunity to recreate history falls back to the same-o patriarchal testosterone driven militaristic based societies. sad that options for peace & human unity werent imagined & created.

almost impossible to follow the way its organized & marked especially on audio. too much war. i liked the ship scenes.

great in parts. good audio reader. frustrated with the way the scenes & timeline are organized
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this series and I think that I loved the idea of the series even more than the series itself. Like a high school girl I had built it up so much in my own mind that it was hard for the writer to live up to my own image and expectation of what this series should be but somehow, against all odds, he managed.
Kat Heatherington
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
i could cry for the wasted potential of this series. such good ideas. such a strong beginning. such a stupid useless pointless plot. war war war, nothing but war, only war. it degrades the characters. it has no purpose; there's so much *else* he could have done with the time travel. this is probably the worst Stirling book i've ever read.
Dan Pepper
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
The best part of the final volume of the Nantucket trilogy is that it achieved a surprising, but in hindsight sensible ending to the plot. I'd forgotten about the couple of loose ends it left, which I wonder if Stirling ever intends to go back to, or if he's sticking with the other side of his Emberverse forever.
Nov 18, 2008 added it
Shelves: abandoned
I really wanted to like this book but after about 200 pages I had to give up. I just couldn't read more than a page at a time.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2017
He paused for a moment, looking out the door. "Ever think how strange it is, Joseph, that we're giving orders here... and on the other side of the world, people we've never heard of are killing each other because of it?"

This is a book about an American war in the Middle East. No, not the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, or the Gulf war in the 1990s, or the war in the Afghanistan in the 2000s, or the second Gulf war in the 2000s - this book centers around the time-travelled Americans fighting a war in
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
The alliances built by the modern day island of Nantucket, transplanted into the Bronze Age 10 years earlier, must now stand against multiple enemies who may have poorer technology, but superior numbers and supplies, and with all the modern knowledge that has spread in the years since their arrival. And one of them, of course, is Greece, lead by one from their own time who went rogue and decided to conquer.

As the third book in a trilogy, this one is pretty much designed to wrap up the major ong
John Dye
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this book three times now, and mostly for the 'stranger in a strange land' elements.

Here are the bits I admire. He worked very hard on the historical details, trying to get the bits on the Hittites, the Babylonians, and the varying tribes correct as well as adding bits of language. One has to wonder exactly how long that all took. The research must have been MASSIVE.

Unlike some of the reviewers, I liked the smaller characters a hell of a lot more interesting that most of the main charac
Ravi Agarwal
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very well thought out ending to the series.

The battle descriptions in the book could have been a bit less chaotic, but then wars are chaotic by nature and the author did a good job capturing the essence of it. I glazed over a couple of battles as they were hard to grasp my head around, but all in all very enjoyable. It starts with a promise and intensifies slowly but surely.

I also enjoyed the way small technology head starts turned up to be such massive leg up in the battles that were
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
S. M. Stirling is a fine writer of alternate reality. This one combines time travel, military conquest, survival, exploration, adventure, romance. His plot lines and characters are compelling. My main criticism is his plot point that the taxes levied on people and businesses on the Island of Nantucket can pay for two wars fought simultaneously, including R&D, salaries, and lots of hardware.
I would have liked to know what actually caused the anomaly that ripped Nantucket out of 1998 and plun
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Just in case you missed the first two books, there is a lot of recap in the first third of the book. The ending progressed pretty much as expected with just a few twists. Well worth wrapping up the series. It was left open-ended for more sequels, but the end was rushed like the author had just had enough, maybe the research was a drag. He continues with the Emberverse in later books, but an alternate timeline set in the present, I guess so he didn't have to research every plot twist for accuracy ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fiction
Solid end to a good series. Everything worked out as it should. Although the final, ah, denouement of the villain was rather abrupt. In the end though, I saw several good reasons for handling it the way it was. So, no complaints there. But yeah, at the beginning of the series, they more-or-less decide that they can't afford to worry about the impact they're having on the timeline they're familiar with. Again, given the situation, no problem with that decision, but the world they end up with will ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wplc-holdings
more interesting than the 2nd in the series, although there were as many battles they weren't repetitious, and there was more culture/societal description. Of course the ultimate ending is predictable, but how it got there was somewhat of a surprise. Written in a way that previews a possible follow-on book, but I'm not sure I'd want to read that. Three is enough
Fred Fifield
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I felt like this was a good story but in the last third when I saw the setup for how it was going to end I was not happy. The ending is contrived and weak, with a character added in this book that had only a brief one line mention in book 2 before becoming the major antagonist of the end game in the final book.
Mark Garn
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
what a grand adventure! I know I will read these books again. Great characters, ingenious story line, real history as only a story teller can tell. Warfare in ancient times was up close and personal, horrendously brutal, gory, and cruel. I have always felt that a fictional story can give a more accurate account of historical life and events. S. M. Stirling is an outstanding writer.
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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

Other books in the series

Island in the Sea of Time (3 books)
  • Island in the Sea of Time (Nantucket, #1)
  • Against the Tide of Years (Nantucket, #2)