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Island in the Sea of Time

(Island in the Sea of Time #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,827 ratings  ·  398 reviews
"Utterly engaging...a page-turner that is certain to win the author legions of new readers and fans."--George R. R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones

It's spring on Nantucket and everything is perfectly normal, until a sudden storm blankets the entire island. When the weather clears, the island's inhabitants find that they are no longer in the late twentieth century...but
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Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Ace Books (first published 1998)
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Brownbetty
Jun 27, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is technically fairly well executed, but politically leaves me cross-eyed. Warning for sexual violence, weird race issues, and general ookiness. In order to discuss it, first, an overview of the plot:

One spring night, the island of Nantucket (with several miles of coastal waters) is inexplicably transported into the bronze age. Luckily for the islanders, the coastal waters include a Coast Guard ship, the Eagle, and her captain, Black lesbian Marian Alston, who is plenty competent to or
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Kat  Hooper
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

After a strange electrical storm, the residents of Nantucket discover that their entire island and its surrounding waters have been sent back to 1300 B.C. Now this society, which is mostly based on a tourist economy, must figure out how to establish a new identity in prehistory. This includes clearing and farming land, building ships, finding new sources of fuel, salt, and other necessities, and most difficult of all, developing a constitution and befriend
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Richard
Oct 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is probably a pretty good book within the subgenre of time-travel/alternate-history, but that is damning with faint praise. There are so many pitfalls that have to be avoided that it usually isn't worth bothering to open the book.

(The only one I can recommend: Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. If you'll settle for just alternate-history, try the incredible The Man in the High Castle, or for just time-travel, maybe the almost-incredible Doomsday Book.)

The biggest problem her
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Kim
Wow. I had this book on my to-read shelf for some time as I'd heard it was a good alt history book but I never got around to reading it til one of my book clubs picked it as a series read. And I'm glad I finally read it.

A fascinating, thrilling story of an incident which send the island of Nantucket, MA, USA (plus a sailing vessel of the Coast Guard) back in time to around 1250 BC. The affected having to come to terms with the loss of everyone and everything they once knew and learn to live in t
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Valerie
May 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: masochists
In a word, terrible.

In several words, racist, sexist, and just problematic in more ways than one.

The ones concerned about having supremely negative effects on the current civilizations are the ones that are delusional, incompetent, and lead to failure.

The sole mentioned Asian-American character is a woman who gets her rocks off by torturing people.

The black woman who is in charge of the coast guard people stranded with the island and is part of the closest thing they have to a military is a le
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Sarah
This book puzzles me. The pacing is excellent, the action is quite frequent, the characters get into every conceivable terrible situation that could happen if you landed in 1250 BC, and yet I can only say that "I liked it" and not that "I really liked it". I feel like this should be a four star book. I would chalk it up to a bad mood but there's that little problem that I'm not in a bad mood... Also, I read this maybe five years ago and I ditched it around 75%. So apparently it's not the here an ...more
YouKneeK
This is an alternate history in which the island of Nantucket is unexpectedly and inexplicably thrown back in time from 1998 to 1250 B.C. Nantucket is a real island, part of Massachusetts in the U.S. The story focuses on how they survive, considering Nantucket had relied mostly on outside food sources. They also needed raw materials that were limited in supply in order to make various goods, tools, and weapons, and politics are involved as they decide how to rule their island and how to handle t ...more
Sara
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fish-in-the-sea
I give credit to Stirling for making such an accurate time travel story and for clearly doing his research, making it as realistic as possible. However, that's one of the only satisfactions I received. Eventually said research became overbearing, and instead of letting his readers learn and come to understand the world through the lives of their characters he resorted to info-dumping in excruciating detail, and often in the most annoying places. There would be numerous times in the middle of cha ...more
Annette
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy or History lovers
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book, and the two that followed in the trilogy.

Quick synopsis - the island of Nantucket (and a wooden Coast Guard ship) are mysteriously whisked back in time several thousand years.

The only reason I didn't give this one five stars is that Stirling gets a bit carried away with some of the more ... unsavory sexual behavior of some of his characters. This seems to be a consistent trend of his in most of his books. He can't seem to write plain old vanilla sex - his sex scenes are eith
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Jennifer Connolly
Feb 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, 2009
When you start rooting for the bad guys to kill everyone else, you know something's gone wrong. I found this book intensely annoying.
Chak
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Chak by: Claire
I was completely hooked by the plot, but the writing and character development brought the rating down a few points. The Island of Nantucket (with all of the people, buildings, ships and technology within a certain radius) was mysteriously sent back in time to the year 1200 B.C. The most interesting parts of the book for me were the efforts to form a government and society and provide continued sustenance and safety of the people. Stirling reasoned through all of this very well, and when he stuc ...more
E. Kahn
May 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
For a guy who makes such a point of writing characters against stereotypes, S.M. Stirling sure writes a lot ethnic stereotypes. Seriously, this thing reads like a collaboration between Andrea Dworkin and Sax Rohmer.

I have a lot to say about the plot, but honestly that would apply to the genre as a whole. If you think a bunch of modern first worlders with a representative (and extremely unlikely) cross-section of skills and understanding of modern technology inexplicably go back in time to impose
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Theresa
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this book; I kept trying but gave up about 4/5 of the way through. The characters weren't engaging, the options of dealing with native populations were not adequately explored while at the same time patting itself on the back for doing just that. Some of the characterizations were undeveloped and occasionally offensive.

Mostly I just found the whole situation not worth reading about. My review may be a little biased because I have decided that this genre is probably not my thin
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Matty-Swytla
Now this book was just right for my reading taste - time travel, competent people pulling through, enough history to enjoy the differences, and some action. Not everything is smooth sailing, and some characters need more work to be completely fleshed out, but it's a solid 4 stars. Of course there some serious gore and over-all shitty handling of women in the hands of past men, but there's enough of positive energy that things are going to change to be eager to read more.

Reading some of the more
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Carolyn F.
Audiobook

Can I book about a modern day island on the American east coast (Nantucket) going back in time be boring? Yes. And for an isolated island with minimal supplies there is a lot of traveling going on - to Europe, to the Caribbean, South America. I know the author didn't want to bog down the book with descriptions of days and days of travel, but sometimes it seemed they were one day in Nantucket and then after waiting a week (no real sense of urgency - just we're going as fast as we can?!),
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Hikachi
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adventure
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Libby
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have been rereading old favorites this summer, and I am happy to say that most of them are as enjoyable as I remembered. This one was filed in my mind as a swashbuckling adventure in time travel. I recalled it as being super engaging, keeping my nose firmly in the book through a long and eventful weekend of travel. Well, my memories were accurate and I can still say that nobody does it better than S.M. Stirling. In this one, he moves the island of Nantucket from now into the Bronze Age. The in ...more
Suzanne
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Disappointing. I loved the premise of this book (modern Americans sent back in time, need to cope and rebuild society) but the sex and race stuff was just ick, and the violence was unappealing. I found the rape scenes really disturbing and wish they had not been included. While Stirling is great at thinking through the hows of this situation, some of his characters and scenes are so hard to take that I ended up skimming whole sections. I appreciate that the leads were not all straight white men, ...more
Ron
3.5 stars. Excellent, if you like Swiss Family Robinson and Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court-type stories. Well-researched and told.

But it was all too quick and too easy. Yeah, there was a big conflict of sorts, but everything worked too well for even the renegade "Islanders." But isn't that the style of these back-to-the-past stories?

Fun read. Not great literature. Hardly even credible, despite all the research Stirling apparently did.

Heavy-handed negative stereotypes among secondary
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Hank
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book had/has the potential to get bogged down in the details. Part of the whole alternate history/time travel allure is everything we take for granted in the modern world that doesn't exist in this setting. The down side is that you can get lost in describing all the re-invention you have to do to the detriment of the story. Stirling rides a pretty good line creating a story with drama that you want to keep reading and having the speculative details add to the story.

One of the main charac
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John
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Despite having the same rating and similar a premise, I actually liked this book more than 1632 by Eric Flint.

I liked the fact that Nantucket stayed in the same geographical location. Moving West Virginia to Germany to put them in the middle of the action was a plot device that annoyed me.

All in all, this feels like a more realistic take on the idea of a town moving back in time. Relatively speaking, I mean. And its missing a lot of that overzealous American patriotism that became so annoying
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John
Nov 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
1 star might be a little harsh, but I can't remember the last time I've hated the way an author went with a book as I did with Island. It starts off strong but then the antagonist is the one with the concept of how to deal with the situation and the protaganists are just annoying do-gooders that should be doomed to failure because they just don't get it. I had really looked forward to reading this, but it was a big disappointment; now I have the sequel on my shelf just taking space for the fores ...more
Peter
Mar 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
I've read few books that I *really* didn't like. This is one. I realize that a lot of books contain a lot of the writer's fantasies, but in this one it was so obvious that it made me cringe. Premise good, execution bad. So bad, in fact, I had Jeanette just tell me what happened in the sequel rather than reading it.
Kes
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2017
This is a book that I should have liked. It's well-written with an interesting premise. There's nice descriptions and a pleasant turn of phrase. I wanted to like it. But I didn't. Instead, I found myself wondering how much further I had to go to finish.

The premise is simple: the island of Nantucket gets sent back in time. We follow the competent characters: Jared Cofflin (police chief who gets selected as Chief Executive Officer), Doreen Rosenthal (astronomer who figures out that they've been s
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Shelley
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an interesting premise. A sort of bubble in the sky over Nantucket Island coincides with some odd interruptions with the outside world with the exception of those boats and ships who were also enclosed by the bubble. When it goes away and the Islanders investigate it's to discover that the world outside their immediate area has shifted back to approx. 1250 BC.

The number one immediate issue is providing food and other supplies for the 8,000 island residents who were very dependent upon m
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James Tullos
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
See my full thoughts here: https://youtu.be/c6WFSoOSaf0

If Island in the Sea of Time sounds weird to you, that's because it is. It's a book about Nantucket Island going back in time in some sort of event that's never explained or even really dwelled upon, then they just sort of start trading with the ancient civilizations they find and trying to survive. There are some battles and armed conflicts in the second half, and they're really good, but the majority of the story just follows peaceful inte
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Noura Noman
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good time travel

I can’t remember who recommended this book to me but it sure lived up to my expectations.

Never read time travel books before, at least nothing with this much detail on how 20th century things are made - or in this case reproduced in the middle of the Bronze Age.

The history and military was also quite riveting.

I really enjoyed this book...right till the very end where Mr Stirling showed his bigotry. He may have made our hero a black gay woman winner of all our hearts, but he decid
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hCharles Obert
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tend to find historic fiction and alternate universe story lines to be enjoyable... This book provides a solid story that is plausible (in that it cannot be proven or disproved by our level of science) but with expected sociological and psychological patterns that give us a good look at our base nature.
In a land of blind, a one eyed man is king kind of thing and if the right person is in the right place at the right time.
I'll be reading the other books in this series and have also read the oth
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Mayank Agarwal
Dec 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
I dropped the book midway. While I loved the plot idea, the rest of the book was horrendous. The storytelling, characterization, and pacing were all terrible, just not worth slogging through such horrible writing, the POV change from one sentence to another was so absurd.
Melissa Yael Winston
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An intriguing take on alternate histories. I was constantly wondering, what would I do if I were transported to the Bronze Age and had to survive with none of the resources I've always taken for granted.
This book deepened my already considerable appreciation for paper towels, Tylenol and ballpoint pens.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • 1632 (Assiti Shards, #1)
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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.

MINI AUTO-BIOGRAPHY:
(personal website: source)

I’m a writer by trade, born in France but Canadian by origin and American by naturalizat
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Other books in the series

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