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The Sea Peoples

(Emberverse #14)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  92 reviews
S. M. Stirling’s Novels of the Change are a “truly original combination of postapocalyptic sci-fi and military-oriented medieval fantasy”* about a future where mysterious Powers removed advanced technology, and humanity rebuilds society. However, this new world is not always a peaceful one....

The spirit of troubadour Prince John, the brother of Crown Princess Órlaith, has
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Ace (first published September 1st 2017)
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Corey I actually like John better. Orly, like her father, is a trope rather than a person. Don't get me wrong, she is hard to write, and the author does a…moreI actually like John better. Orly, like her father, is a trope rather than a person. Don't get me wrong, she is hard to write, and the author does a great job to a great extent, with the exception that most of her back story is exposition through dialogue, the done-to-death childhood walkabout with her buddy, the "chiseled features," the blond hair from her father despite the fact that neither he, nor his mother, nor any referenced ancestors except the stock character of a half-aunt who likes to sing were blond. I like John because he knows who he is; he is a pleasant spare heir and a ladies' man who just wants to be the equivalent of a rock star. His internal dialogue is excellent and the high point of the badly named "Prince of Outcasts." (He is not an outcast, in fact he is the antithesis thereof, nor is his ridiculous love interest with her armored bowler, nor is anyone in the story with the exception of the Balinese two generations ago.) John is a decent sort who steps up to his responsibilities, even though he didn't choose them. And honestly, Orly is hard to write --I don't think it is actually a fair comparison. (less)

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3.72  · 
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Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've been reading the books of this series from the beginning, and this is the first that out-and-out disappointed. 80% of the book consists of a vision quest: John's spirit is being held in an alternate semi-mad reality, and his friends spirits travel through a variant of our world to rescue him.

It's hard to write a book-length vision quests that isn't dishonest, because the author has too-few constraints. Nothing that happens will matter at the end of the vision, except that the participants m
Chris Butler
Dec 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Skip this unless you're a lovecraftian fan. Look, I love the Emberverse series. I've read it beginning to end multiple times. I understand that not all writers can hit gold every book, and I've learned to give Mr. Stirlings writing shortcomings a pass (copy pasted turns of phrases, we get it, armor sucks to wear. We don't need to be reminded multiple times a book), but frankly this whole book warrants a pass. Theres a number of glaring problems.

1) It does nothing to further the story. Well, NOTH
Disappointing. Which is okay I guess because I expected to be disappointed. But not like this. This was just plain weird. Clearly an homage to a book which was the inspiration to Lovecraft, which is a negative for me. And supporting the idea that there is unreliable narration. But just in general I found John's story annoying. And Ori's story didn't make up for it. The characters made a good cast, but they were poorly used here. So some good bits but not adding up well. And didn't move the plot ...more
Sarai Henderson
I don't know about this one. I've tried to read S.M. Stirling books before and I get bogged down in all the would building. Don't get me wrong, world building is an essential part of a good story, but I found that I had a hard time sorting through the description to find the story.

My husband has read a lot of this series, so I know he will like it. This one is going on the "not my style," shelf.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
The Sea Peoples is the 14th book in the Emberverse series by S.M. Stirling and this book brings back many characters from the previous books as well as introducing some new ones. The one thing I admire in S.M. Stirling's writings is how much detail is used in each chapter to describe the scenery. Some people might find this cumbersome and boring, but for people who can easily and vividly imagine a world through the power of books, this is a great tool. The 299 pages was not as bad as I thought i ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
2.5 or 3 stars. Didn't love this one for several reasons. It seemed to be trying too hard to include diversity: there seemed to be characters of every race, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There was even a ranger of the Dunedain! There was also entirely too much description for my taste of every different style of spear, bow, arrow, armor, etc., used by the representatives of each land/culture. Then there were two different stories going on, one taking place in the "real" wor ...more
Nicole Luiken
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy, canadian
Strong entry in this long-running series. Continuing from the last book's cliff-hanger, John is in trouble from page one until the end. Rather than the regular battle scenes (which Stirling does so well) this book focussed on a more fantastical dream dystopia based on the King in Yellow where John was trapped. What really made this work for me was the secondary character who was also in danger--I was fairly confident Sitrling wouldn't kill off John or Pip, but had no idea what would happen to Se ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Speaking generally about this series, I like the descriptions of places and cultures and do not like all the supernatural and evil forces. So... this book was one of the tougher ones. It was a new high in level of supernatural activity. I definitely did not like a lot of it. But yet, I felt compelled not to go to sleep without finishing it and finished it in one sitting. So, I guess I liked it after all.

If you thought previous books were heavy on the supernatural, then get ready to be surprised.
William Bentrim
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is set in a post Apocalyptic world where technology has been truncated by some unknown source. I have no idea what number in the series this is. It is entirely too long since I have read anything in this series. This is sometime after the initial characters have kids and those kids are sending out their own children into a world fraught with peril. The peril is a dark, evil force trying to twist mankind to evil purposes. The good guys have their own forces for good providing their cham ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
The previous book left off with a cliffhanger, so I was rather glad I forgot to buy it last year and got to go straight from that into this novel. The results of that cliffhanger are the primary plot journy in this novel, again following the "next generation" of Orlaith and John Arminger Mackenzie through their adventures in the post-Change world.

John has had his spirit captured by a great evil, and his new and old friends must make a spiritual journey through a confusing and dangerous landscape
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Every once in a while Stirling has one of these - a throwaway book that was actually fairly unpleasant to read. Getting through it felt like a real chore. Most of the book is wasted on a floofy dream sequence where none of the characters have agency and a lot of deus ex machina intuiting is used to resolve conflicts. The lion's share of the first third of the book is largely descriptive, too, and has no meat to it. Sets the scene nicely, but... no story. There *could* have been a whole exciting ...more
David Graves
Aug 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.J. Peter
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
The author has obviously grown weary of this tale. The last few books in this series have felt more like "contractual obligation" rather than "inspired tale of adventure".

This novel barely has anything to do with the main thrust of the series; instead it wobbles off into a Lovecraftian tale based on a novella from a fairly obscure writer. While the story is somewhat interesting, it takes familiar characters into a dream-like situation and spends 95% of the time there.

Meanwhile back in the "real
Stephen Wargo
Don’t bother

Disappointing. I’ve read every book in this series and would not have bothered finishing this one but for the continuing story. Almost half of the book is some peyote dream. If you must read this, skip every part of the dream world chapters and hope that Sterling’s editor, if he has one, exerts some control for the next book. One of the strengths of this series has been the combined arms tactics of the battle scenes, and the sound history from which they are drawn. Even that is lacki
Susan Haseltine
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
What I like most about the Emberverse is decidedly lacking in this volume. A few flashes of Hawai'i are not up to the usual tour we get of the post-change landscape. Most of the action drags through the mind of the mad power all tainted with The King in Yellow, and yellow is my least favorite primary. I have had enough tributes to early 20th cent. horror and all of them were better than this. Nothing much happens until the last couple of chapters and the resolutions are scant even for this serie ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
It is expected that the 14th book of a series will have a drop in quality. Usually earlier than this.
Thus, I was prepared for something less enjoyable than the other books of the series. It would be ok.
However, I found this book simply intolerable and extremely hard to finish.
Boring, dark and with a low quality mysticism that would be unacceptable even from a lesser writer.
I cannot imagine how a writer of S.M. Stirling's caliber was happy to published this.

One thing is for sure. I will not preor
Dec 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Well, it should be totally obvious by now, but Stirling has gotten bored with these stories and is now just going through the motions to cash in on the poor suckers still interested in the Change. I actually didn't finish this awful book, which the author admits in the introduction has several "borrowed" elements. Unfortunately that didn't save the book at all.

Still think Stirling missed the chance for a really good book resolving the plot after the victory at Horse Hills in book 6 (I think?).
Judy Aulik
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Looked forward to this for a long time, but I have to say I was disappointed. I can accept the odd rules of the Change, but much of this novel was set in an otherworldly fever dream of Prince John, a character I never much liked. Otherwise, the plot was excellent as always. I did not enjoy the heavy reliance on the book "The King in Yellow," an obscure short story collection of over a hundred years ago.
If you're deeply into S.M. Stirling, it's a must read, but I would not recommend this as your
Elizabeth Burton
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve fallen behind on the Change novels, and have clearly missed some important happenings. On the other hand, it’s a good test of a writer’s skill if a reader can pick up the narrative after a few episodes and not be confused. I’m pleased to say Mr. Stirling’s talent for writing a long, complicated series continues unabated.

I try not to include a lot a plot details when I review a book, mostly because no matter how hard one tries, there will be spoilers. So, long story short, The Sea Peoples ha
This is a pretty good addition to the Emberverse series, but (like Prince of Outcasts) The Sea Peoples largely has Crown Princess Orlaith on the back burner (travelling with the army and navy of Montival making their way across the Pacific) while 2/3 of the book focuses on Pip, Toa, Thora and Deor and they quest through a mad god's dream in search of Prince John. The Dreamquest was generally interesting (in a ghoulish Mythos-y kind of way) but had a rather tiresome section that VERY closely foll ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this series!

This series started as urban fantasy/alternate history and has really evolved into more of a fantasy series book by book. I usually run away from fantasy but this series with its characters and storylines has drawn me in over and over again.

This book picks up where the last one left off. We are plunged into the captivity of Prince John by the Pallid Mask and Orlaith is sailing to Japan to help the High Kingdoms new allies defeat the evil that is Korea. The book is a pretty ev
John Purvis
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Sea Peoples" eBook was published in 2017 and was written by S. M. Stirling ( Mr. Stirling has published more than 55 novels. This is the fourth in his "Rudi's Children" series.

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in an alternate timeline, several years after the Change, when unknown powers di
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My main caveat for this novel is that it is NOT the place to start the Emberverse novels of S.M. Stirling. This is the umpteenth story of The Change. Start with "Dies the FIre" and go from there.
It picks up where "Prince of Outcasts" leaves off. John Arminger Mackenzie is a prisoner, in another dimension and time, of the Pallid Mask and the King in Yellow. This is based heavily on the works of Robert W. Chambers (Google it, it's worth it for scariness. H.P. Lovecraft based some of HIS work on it
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
After finishing the last book in this series, Prince of Outcasts, I happened across a copy of Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow. It's a disturbing little book, a collection of stories that presage the work of Lovecraft and others. A big theme was the idea that there were otherworldly intelligences outside of human understanding that were bent upon our destruction. That is an ongoing threat in The Change series, and Stirling has adeptly folded it into the story here.
Prince John has been boun
Leslie L. Allen
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Naysayers should be booed!

I read the consumer feedback before I bought this latest in the series and I will never do that again. The naysayers either read this as a stand alone novel, didn't do the tiny amount of Wikipedia research somewhat necessary for a full understanding of the story (re: "The King in Yellow" , "The Repairer of Reputations ", and certain giants, demons, and witches), or have very little to no imagination, or a combo of 2 or more of the above. Mr. Stirling has never failed to
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Things are looking up for the Crown Princess and her Empress buddy, and the Protector-to-Be is finally on his own two feet, and seems to be "putting on heirs". I've thoroughly enjoyed this series, as well as the Nantucket trilogy which preceded it. My Scottish blood (thanks, Mom!) sings when the Mackenzie side of the family converse and exchange songs and insults in Scots Gaelic and what might well be reinvented (for the circumstances) Lallans.

From the note in the back of the book, Stirling's n
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of the first few books in the Emberverse series, but as I get further along I've appreciated them less.

I love fantasy, urban fantasy, and post-apocalyptic novels. I'm very appreciative of the possibility of magic, psychic ability, time-travel - any number of the woo woo arts. But somehow the earlier books covering the years immediately after the Change and the struggles to survive, to re-develop society and all the relationships between people and communities appealed to me more t
Dan Pepper
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the new gag with so much of the book taking place in a supernatural otherworld/not place/mind of a mad god or whatever it was. Really nice change for the series and a great little curveball to get that it seems like the Yellow King business he's cribbed will be more of an antagonist that the forces aligned with the Powers That Be which aren't cool with humanity whom we've seen before. A baddy who's threatening versus some of the powers Stirling has given his heroes is a nice, as t ...more
Brandon Kurtz
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This book seemed more like a short story that had some additional material spliced in to make it novel-length. At that, it seemed quite a bit shorter than the average Emberverse novel. While the story was interesting, what struck me after the fact was that almost nothing happened in "the real world" in this book - i.e., the plot didn't really move forward at all. Stirling is a good author and the characters are engaging, but this is definitely a departure from what I've been used to with this se ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I have read the whole series and this book is my least favorite. The first part was slow and boring. For one thing, there was a lot of repetition of the plot points developed in the prior book. And, Prince John's story didn't grab my interest until the last half of the book. Orlaith's story seemed like an afterthought - like "Oh, yea = the good guys won." On the bright side, some fun new characters were introduced. I will read more books by this author, b ...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

Other books in the series

Emberverse (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • 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)
  • 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)