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Ceridwen

Ceridwen

You kids get off my lawn. 

The Protector's War - S.M. Stirling The "Empire Strikes Back" of this series. Our protagonists from "Dies the Fire" are all on Hoth, running the Rebellion...no wait.

Set eight years after the events of the first book, which hinged on the Change, an inexplicable event after which gunpowder, electricity and high explosives don't function, this book continues the adventures of our heroes. Several different societies have sprung up in the Oregon valley where these books are set: a neo-Celtic coven of witches, an Abbey, a former University town, and a former SCA guy who's got delusions of Sauron-ness.

It's the delusions of Sauron that drive the action of the book. After setting up his post-Portland society modeled after Norman feudalism and a bunch of other Romantic fol de rol, Arminger, our Bad Guy, sets his sights on conquering his neighbors. There's also a sub-plot involving a group of folk in England, so the reader gets a broader view of what went down all over the world after the Change.

I'm not one for military strategy. It's not that it isn't interesting, it's just that I think it's fairly hard to get across the whole fear and trembling thing without resorting to nihilistic bloodbath. While the occasional hand to hand fight can get a dull, (they feint, they slash, someone fakes someone else out, the floor gets slippery with blood, etc), I actually found the military campaigning totally interesting. In the second book, you've been around the societies and personalities long enough to have a good sense of how they would behave, and how they would fight, if they had too.

The empire is still striking back though, so you'll have to wait for the next book to return with the Jedi.