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Theater of Spies

(Tales from the Black Chamber #2)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The second novel in an alternate history series where Teddy Roosevelt is president once more right before WWI breaks out, and on his side is the Black Chamber, a secret spy network watching America's back.

After foiling a German plot to devastate America's coastal cities from Boston to Galveston, crack Black Chamber agent Luz O'Malley and budding technical genius Ciara W
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Ace Books
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4.20  · 
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 ·  45 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Theater 🎭 of Spies is the second volume of the Black Chamber alternate history espionage series. It is set in World War I but Teddy Roosevelt is president again and the Kaiser's armies have routed Europe. Paris has fallen. Although there are pockets of resistance, millions of surviving French have fled to North Africa to start anew and the flow of refugees never ceases. Russia fell and the only two powers left are Germany and the USA, which now includes the Mexican Protectorate. Two secret agent ...more
Randal White
Apr 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the first book of this series. Unfortunately, I had to give up on this one. I forced myself to keep going, but halfway through I had to bail.
The entire first half of the book is spent in just setting up for the actual story. It drags on and on. Even worse was Stirling’s propensity to constantly switch from English, to Spanish and even German dialogue. Which he never did translate. And, like in the previous book, he again gets lost in minutiae, such as reciting recipes.
All in all, wha
Allen Adams

Speculative fiction tends to shine its brightest when it is given space to grow. World building is a key component to the most successful fantasy or sci-fi offerings – those fully-realized backdrops can grant the reader the immersive experience they often seek from this sort of genre offering.

Alternate history – a personal favorite – benefits no less from such world-building efforts, though a higher degree of delicacy is required, thanks to the real-world
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this ARC from at Emerald City Comic Con from the Penguin Random House booth and I was pretty excited because I had read the first one and enjoyed it quite a bit.

The writing style is very tech heavy and full of digressions into the world the characters are living in, the history, the culture, the motivations, the various events that led to where they are and the technology they have access to. I find all of this fascinating and thinks it adds to the story, but some people might find the dig
John Purvis
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Theater of Spies" eBook was published in 2019 (May) and was written by S. M. Stirling ( Mr. Stirling has published more than 40 novels. This is the second novel in his "Tales from the Black Chamber" 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. The story is set in the US and Europe of World War I. This story is set in an alternate tim
Ara Ogle
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched and compellingly written, this alternative history/steampunk version of WWI-era America and Europe will challenge modern readers to think about how politics and values have changed over the past century, while also providing a swashbuckling tale of heroics and intrigue. The main characters continue to delight me—Luz and Ciara as a now-established queer couple avoid the frequent negative tropes of lesbians in fiction and instead forge their own path toward a “Boston marriage” whil ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superb alternate history, with slightly over the top (intentionally I am sure) action-adventure in the style of the Indiana Jones films. (Nobody keeps their hat after falling from a horse, but you might get the idea.)

While somewhat detail heavy (and thus off-putting to some I see from other reviews) the accuracy and world-building this detail enables is fascinating.

The first half of the book does mostly put the characters and scenes in place, but with a WWI setting few readers will be familiar w
Jonathan Palfrey
This is the sequel to Black Chamber; and, if you've read that, you'll know what sort of a story to expect. In this one, the American heroines are sent off on another undercover mission to Germany at the end of 1916, so much of the story takes place in wartime Germany in winter, not the most cheerful of environments. It's enlivened by the imaginative action sequences and the varied characters, although most of the characters encountered are minor and don't get a lot of time on stage.

As before, th
Kim McGee
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Luz and Ciara are the perfect partners in and out of the bedroom and well suited for dangerous work they do for the secret Black Chamber. President Teddy Roosevelt is well aware that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the German takeover has serious implications for the U.S. and his money is on two of his best spies, Luz and Ciara. As they travel all over the world engaged in some really violent encounters trying to be one step ahead of the Germans who will do anything to stop them from ...more
Jean Kolinofsky
I am a fan of historical fiction and the idea of an alternate history of WWI drew me to this book. I had mixed reactions while reading this. Stirling has two strong female characters as his leads. Luz O’Malley and Ciera Whelan are agent’s for an intelligence group that works for Teddy Roosevelt. The first third of this book sees them receive their assignment to travel to Berlin and discover Germany’s newest weapon project. Their journey by airship takes them through South America and on to Afric ...more
Nicole Luiken
WWI alternate history, book two in the series. Book one began with just a small deviation from our history--Teddy Roosevelt is elected to a second term of office--but since the end of book one, events have diverged hugely in very interesting ways.

The action scenes are flat-out superb and the historical details are meticulous. I liked how Luz and Ciara were both extremely capable in wildly different ways. I enjoyed the inner spycraft details.

Quibble: The food is over-described. Learning what pe
Don Cortell
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Long before spy satellites, video surveillance, nano technology and laser beams, spying took good old fashioned intestinal fortitude and cunning. Stirling creates a world where the protagonist exercises that and so much more.

Travel to Germany once more with the Black Chamber and find out how true espionage can make or break the war for one side, all the while hanging on the edge of your seat. It’s a very enjoyable story that will leave you wanting for more.

Thanks to First to Read for my advance
Zeb Kantrowitz
this is the second book in the "Black Chamber" series, written in an alternated time line that starts with the election of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. The series follows the alternated timeline as the 'First World War' is underway and America is involved from the beginning of the war. This is not as strong a start as the books written about "The Change, but hopefully they'll get better.
Michael V. Smith
Please continue this series!

Not enough really good AH reading out there right now and this series is a very satisfying read for an old AH fan like myself. I love Teddy as President in WWI.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good

I enjoyed this story very much. Both Luz & Ciara are wonderful characters that leap off of the page. The villains are people who are evil & yet not one dimensional. Very interesting possibilities regarding this worlds future.
Sarai Henderson
This would not have been a book that I would have normally picked up, but I managed to finish 90% of the book in one day, that's how much I was involved in the story. I think it was the interesting alternative history that the story portrays. You want to keep reading because you want to know what is different than reality. This is a book about spies and the thrill of chase. A wonderful story.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
I liked it more than its prequel. Good adventure story with plenty of hair-raising escapes...but I don’t see myself needing to reread it the way I do the Emberverse books.
Ryan Luetzen
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2019
Bryan Stahl
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2019
rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Feb 11, 2019
Stephen Fleming
rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2019
rated it liked it
May 17, 2019
rated it it was ok
May 15, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 12, 2018
Ronald Pottol
rated it it was amazing
May 12, 2019
David Tygart
rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2018
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2019
Chris Sanford
rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2019
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the first novel in this series. This one just did not catch me as much. I found the first half to be very slow with more description and very little action. Don't know if I will continue. Hope the next one is more action packed.
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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

Tales from the Black Chamber (2 books)
  • Black Chamber (Tales from the Black Chamber #1)