The High King of Montival by SM Stirling
Having followed the novels of "The Change" since the brilliant opening trilogy it is fair to say that S. M. Stirling deserves every accolade spewed liberally on the ROC jacket. His simple post-apocalyptic vision that has Nantucket returned to an early Bronze Age earth and the subsequent impact on the current timeline of the remainder of Earth - that electricity and high explosive do not work - has paved the way for the greatest alternative history series of the past decade.
Rudi Mackenzie - Artos - has claimed the Sword of the Lady. The merge of pre-Change literary romance novels and epic sagas into what Astrid Loring deems the Fifth Age moves us ever closer to a new imagining of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights. It remains to be seen if the round table will make a pine-timbered appearance in future novels. Rudi has his Excalibur, has danced with a symbiosis of Nimue and the Moirae, and lived to tell the tale. This seventh novel follows Rudi as he treks back westwards to his people in order to unite a land, bring a vast army to bear against the Church of the Universal Truth, consolidate his own power and marry Mathilda. Along the way he sweeps up Bjarni, new King of the Norrheim and defeats a large Cutter force at a key ranch in Darnheller before his triumphal return.
This novel is one of transition. It will prove the glue between the search for the Sword and Rudi's role as Ard-Righ in the books to come. To be honest, little actually happens in the 481 pages and it is very slow for the first part, dealing with Rudi's coming to terms with who he is and ensuring a groundswell of support for him. The irritation of the Tolkien-obsessed Dunedain-wannabes continues and there are terse flickers of exasperation with the gullibility in some of the characters who fervently cling to the notion of Tolkien's stories as true Histories. Still, it does drive home the point that history is written by either the deluded winners or the powerfully charismatic. Anyway, this aside, science is losing its grip on Earth and magic is beginning to seep back into the very air. A magic deeply rooted in Celtic and Norse mythology. It actually reminds me of that other current series written by another maestro - Terry Brooks. His "Word and the Void" series is acutely similar to Stirling in his transition from apocalypse to a "purer, somehow more noble" medieval/faerie world. It's interesting to see how Stirling (who is behind Brooks from a development of this notion) parallels the advancement from 21st century Earth to Shannara-esque idealism. Then again, it would be interesting to have the Change reverse and see how everyone gets on with electricity back in place.
So, "The High King of Montival". Expertly handled by the undisputed current master of alternative historical fiction. I hope this series continues for many books to come. I'd have given it A top rating but I find Astrid Loring's almost narcissistic obsession with Tolkien a touch too irritating.
This The High King of Montival book review was written by travelswithacanadian
Have you read The High King of Montival?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The High King of Montival reader reviews
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troop...
Guy Gavriel Kay
Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the t...
A Christmas Carol
It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and all around the snow-covered city people are rushing home to be with their families. All except one man, that is: Ebenezer Scroo...
Sailing to Sarantium
Guy Gavriel Kay
Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of t...
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man. ...
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airs...
The Moon and the Sun
Vonda N McIntyre
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules the Western World from the Chateau at Versailles. Marie- Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in the scientific ...
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar...
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-...
Publius Varrus is the last legionnaire in Britain, and The Skystone is in many ways his story. He is a common man with aristocratic friends, and successful both as a soldie...
Dreaming Of Zhou Gong
The Wu have been living in isolation for decades while the Shang Emperor and his enchantress have ruled the land. It has been a terrible time for the common people and the ...
Kepler is like you, but not like you. With a simple touch, Kepler can move into any body, live any life - for a moment, a day or for years. And your life could be next. SOM...
The Other Log of Phileas Fogg
Philip Jose Farmer
About a hundred years ago, a group of mutant supermen began playing a major role in our affairs. It is no accident that Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo, and Doc Savag...
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine i...
Sold into servitude in the pagan splendour of the Night Court as a child, Phedre no Delaunay is a woman who struggles for honour and duty, whose loyalty to the land she lov...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
The Silver Mask
The gods and goddesses are dead, killed two hundred years ago. With their destruction the moon split apart, the sun dwindled and the land was devastated. Civilisation has re-e...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...