Reviewed by Jaya Rai
Behold a future sans supersonic machines and laser emitting guns. S M Stirling’s new book The High King of Montival is another in the Emberverse or Change World series. The novels depict the events following “The Change”, which caused electricity, guns, explosives, internal combustion engines and steam power to stop working. Besotted with the loss of years of technological progress, people of the new world are charged with the formidable task of surviving the aftermath.
Stirling takes you into the world of magical swords, axes, spears and the dominion of Kings, Sorcerers, savages and wise-men. Artos, the high king of Montival , is a changeling (Children born after ‘The Change’) who is destined to be the highest leader under whom the now fragmented former ‘USA’ comes together, to give peace a chance. Artos is the one bestowed with the divine sword which empowers him to deal the cards. The plot revolves around Rudi taking on the mantle of the catalyst in bringing in different factions together to defeat the ambitions of an evil adversary.
The plot has highs and lows. The mind-numbing description of battle equipment is boring for those who are used to the visual treats of battle gears in the movies.
The story threads around Artos’s efforts to unite the forces and engaging in skirmishes, now and then, but the real treat of a full-blown war effort against the enemy has probably been saved for the sequel. Moreover, there are references to the preceding books in the series which necessitates a reading of those as well. On the other hand, the techniques of survival in the aftermath of ‘The Change’ make for an interesting read.
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