Short works

Books : reviews

S. M. Stirling, Holly Lisle.
The Rose Sea.
Baen. 1994

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 30 November 1997

Bren Morkaarin is a Captain in the XIXth legion of Tykiss, on his way to war against An Tiram. Kara Grenlaarin, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, is pressed into service in the XIXth. But unbeknownst to either, the war is not what it seems, both sides are mired in a web of conspiracy and treachery, and the gods have decided to take a hand in their fate.

The battle scenes are well-drawn, making the fights seem bloody, unpleasant, frightening, and not the sort of place you would want to find yourself; the technology level is swords and muskets. The protagonists are mostly competent -- I particularly liked the Grenlaarin family's reaction to Konzin's news of Kara's fate. The main characters are suitably different from each other, not entirely polarized into all 'good' or all 'bad', and experience a (small) degree of growth through the story. The various conspiracies serve mainly to push the plot in the desired direction, but in rather too straight a line for my liking. I would have preferred some plot twists, and I felt opportunities were missed -- when the identity of Amourgin's patron becomes known, for example.

A good page turner, but ultimately a bit unsatisfying.

S. M. Stirling.
The Ship Avenged.
Baen. 1997

S. M. Stirling.
Island in the Sea of Time.
Roc. 1998

S. M. Stirling.
Against the Tide of Years.
Roc. 1999

Raymond E. Feist, S. M. Stirling.
Jimmy the Hand.
Voyager. 2003