[ Pdf The Peshawar Lancers É italy PDF ] by S.M. Stirling Ò I was quite excited to read this when it was selected as a Bookclub pick, the only alternative history that I ve read so far mainly focused on events altering during the Second World War.
The set up is that a huge meteor shower hit the northern hemisphere during 1878 The book is set in 2025 where the worlds climate has recovered and the majority of the population now live in the South Pacific.
What I practically loved about this book was the clash of cultures, you had placed such as Oxford and Delhi being two of the main settings.
So why the low score I really struggled to connect with the characters, I m not sure if Sterling s fantastic world building just made them seem bland But I just couldn t identify with any of them.
About halfway through I realized that I had no investment with them, even though I didn t find the book a chore as the prose was well written I didn t see the point in carrying on.
Which is a shame really as felt it had such huge potential to be fantastic read.
The Peshawar Lancers is a rip roaring, swashbuckling tale of Alternate History rooted firmly in the tradition of Rudyard Kipling and other 19th Century adventure writers such as H Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs Set in a world where the planet was devastated by a spray of comets in the mid 1870s, the world of The Peshawar Lancers is a far different one from ours today Empires still rule the world, with the British Empire, now centered in Delhi being the major power Our hero, Captain Athelstane King is drawn into a far reaching conspiracy that threatens the survival of his family, his country and the very planet itself Against him, are the agents of the now Satan worshipping, human eating Czar of All the Russias and our protagonists and antagonists collide in an adventure that echoes back to the spy games and derring do that characterized the rivalry between Britain and Russia at the end of the 19th Century, a period known as The Great Game As a genre, alternate history can be pretty tricky to master Everyone always mentions the guru of alternate history, the man himself, Harry Turtledove and for sure, Turtledove has pulled off some brilliant speculative fiction in his time He s also disappointed me greatly as he s transplanted contemporary history and changed some times, places and names in other cases, which to me, smacks of laziness Phillip K Dick of Blade Runner and Total Recall fame probably owns the title of best around with his masterpiece The Man in High Castle which depicts a truly creep tastic vision of a history where the Axis won World War II.
So how does Stirling measure up Extremely well, as a matter of fact It s obvious that he s done his research on the colonial and imperial periods of British history and his scenario of civilization desperately trying to piece itself back together after a catastrophe is plausible enough The British Empire and French Empires would have had the resources to evacuate themselves and their governments to their overseas possessions and with civilization collapsing all around humanity, it s hard not to imagine that some crazy, Satan worshiping cannibalism could spring up Even impressive is that the political structure of this new British Empire is plausible as well Surviving a Second Mutiny after the comets impact throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the ruling British elites survive by relying on the loyalty of the aristocracy already in place and out of necessity, surrendering a lot of imperial arrogance and recognizing whom exactly they were now ruling This partnership instead of overlordship hearkens back to the very earliest days of the East India Company, where British officers and soldiers won the respect of indigenous allies and soldiers by leading from the front and not directing from the back Overall Stirling has produced a fascinating vision of what might have been that is plausible, interesting and easy for the reader to buy into Taking that vision and adding an adventure worthy of the very best of Rudyard Kipling or H Rider Haggard produces a readable, exciting book that s the perfect beach book for science fiction fans heading out for their summer vacation.
This book highlights both Stirling s strengths and weaknesses His main strength is the power of his underlying ideas, and the depth with which he has thought them out The premise is that the entire northern hemisphere basically got wiped out by meteors in the 19th century, but Britain managed to relocate some of its population and retain its power base in India, Australia, and South Africa Flash forward 250 years, but with technology lagging behind, and resources much different than they otherwise would be So the land still has Empires, steam engines, etcHis main weakness is in characterization Even his best characters tend to be very thin, and this book doesn t have anything approaching his best characters Everyone here seems to have come straight out of central casting His other weakness is in doing fantasy This becomes a problem in the latter half of the Emberverse Here, it rears its head in the form of the Sisters of True Dreaming These people have a genetic trait that allows them to see parallel, possible worlds It s a neat advantage, because it can let them know precisely what will happen next, and thereafter The problem with this, for me, is that these woman are kept brutally oppressed by their Russian masters, and have been for a couple of centuries But the book itself shows what an enormous advantage they would have in any tactical or strategic encounter So how did they not overcome their oppression It makes little sense to me.
But that s not why the book fell flat for me Instead, it fell flat because I thought the entire thing was a rather unimaginative story hitched onto a very cool idea The surprises were like winks, because everything happened just as one would expect in this sort of tale In other words, there was no need for a Sister of True Dreaming, because everything proceeded as if it were on rails While diverting, and easy to read, this was not nearly his best.
I stumbled across this book on top of one of the many shelves of my father s library read the synopsis on the back and knew my Dad to be a reader with great taste I found my Dad s bookmark in the book, checked the publication date and realized he got this book when he was getting sick, and never finished it As an act of fealty to him, I vowed to read it That was 4 years ago Having just finished it I think 1 of two things happened 1 He read to where he was and knowingly stopped because he was bored out of his mind and disappointing with how Stirling thought he was Rudyard f ing Kipling at a fashion show and not an interesting author Or 2 It was so boring that it actually killed him Too soon I don t think so, so serious am I about how much I did not like this book How can you screw up such an AMAZING premise Stirling clearly understands his subject matter and writes about British Raj India like the master historian he is But my god is it ever horrendously boring The action is stale and comical in its predictability The Peshawar Lancers get all of 2 pages to do their thing It is just page after page of intense description and exposition, and frankly it is so thick you might want to have a MA to understand some of it Stirling has a vast knowledge of language, sadly I do not He writes so dryly that I committed the sin, ABSOLUTE SIN, of skipping pages of descriptions just to get to dialogue and move things on The characters are one dimensional and cartoonish The good guys are damned good, the bad guys are f ing evil, and the ladies are not totally in distress all the time but almost there No one has any real depth, no motivations are clear aside from the mere fact that the good do good and the bad do bad.
An army of fortune telling ladies are enslaved by the Russians, sad, right Not really, when you see just one of them on their own is one of the most tactically deadly weapons on a battlefield How on EARTH did the entire race of these chicks get captured No idea Maybe I skipped it Either way I read it, I communed with my Dad, and I thought, he must have HATED this one and I would have loved to joke about it with him I heartily suggest skipping it.
I was initially rather off put by the incredibly James Bond i ness of the protagonist Athelstane King, home on leave after a wound to the designated hero area aka shoulder, has sex with his sexy sexy concubine who promptly gets fridged by assasins so he can appropriately swear revenge I rolled my eyes.
It picks up, though Oh, he never gets any less Marty Stu But it turns out that it s just that Stirling doesn t do deep characters, really at all But at least Athelstane is not the only one His sister Cassandra is just as ludicrously badass As are the prince, and the princess, and the French ambassador, and King s two retainers, and the mysterious seeress, and the chief of intelligence Even the Emperor turns out to be pretty badass They re arranged against a mustache twirler of the first degree, who literally worships Satan and eats babies and wants to end all life on earth, and pretty much can t be considered dead until you ve seen the body and maybe not even then.
So this is high pulp If you can accept that and run with it, it s actually pretty fun high pulp.
The characters are wildly entertaining The action sequences are very well paced and often fairly creative There are camel chases and ambushes on trains and exploding airships, basically across the width of India and into Afghanistan There are several fairly unbelievable and yet still satisfying romances There are tricksy plotting and can t trust anyone paranoia and ancient family obligations stretching back multiple generations Also impressive is the world building There s a very complicated setup in the 1870s, a comet killed off most of the northern hemisphere, which is why civilization is now pretty much centered on India with a handful of rivals The actual sequence of events, both climatological and political, is very well thought out There are a series of appendices at the end that detail everything, but they re exactly what appendices should be interesting but not necessary The world building is done well enough in the text that you have an excellent idea of how it all works, fast enough to not get frustrated, and then if you re still curious, there s some additional details at the end I did find the ending slightly unsatisfying, in that while the heroes all totally kick ass and take names, at the very end they re kind of saved by deus ex machinas Well, the groundwork is laid and the events are foreshadowed, but I still would have liked to see them solve their own problems rather than be rescued by circumstances beyond their control.
So Great literature, this is not But it s really good pulp.
I foundThe Peshawar Lancersto be very easy to fall into S.
M Stirling is very talented at creating believable and fully realized worlds you can really tell how much thought and research goes into them.
This book in particular deals with an alternate history where man s technological progress was halted in the 1870 s by an asteroid colliding with the Earth Flooding, long winters and cold summers, starvation, mass migration, cannibalism, and disease follow Fast forward to 2025 where the major world powers are the Caliphate, the British Raj Empire now comprising mainly of India, Australia, and parts of Africa , France Outre Mer, The Mikado of Japan, and the Czar of All Russias Russia survived by creating a religion that centers around cannibalism and is intent on bringing the whole world under the influence of Tchernobog Europe is considered a dangerous frontier full of cannibalistic savages.
The story mainly concerns the King siblings, who find themselves being pursued by an agent of the Czar, Count Ignatieff, who is intent on their assassination as well as the end of the Royal house of the British Raj Stirling also introduces a sisterhood of psychics used by the Russians who can see the outcomes of different possibilities This serves an interesting purpose of allowing flash backs to The Fall and The Exodus, both important periods in the history of the world.
I will admit the characters are a bit one dimensional at times Should this turn into a series I m sure they would develop very nicely However, this story, despite its length, was a bit too fast paced and action packed for character development On the other hand Stirling spends so much time developing and introducing the world and its history you often forget any flaws.
Overall an interesting, what if sort of story.
This could have been an amazing book The premise is a little unusual the earth is struck by a series of meteors, causing a miniature ice age Western civilization essentially collapses, and British society relocates to India Against this backdrop of severe cultural social upheaval, there is a mysterious assassination plot afoot.
But the author, I felt, really lets you down The characters tended to be flat and stereotypical The basic plot was very simplistic I foresaw every twist by the time I was halfway through the book , though the author tries to distract from that by adding in all of this extraneous detail And there is just too much extraneous detail in general A lot of research obviously went into this book And the author really wants to make sure the reader knows just how much research was done.
That being said, I did enjoy the novelty of the situation the author proposes He also has several societies devolve into cannibalism For me, the most interesting parts of the book were those dealing with how these cannibalistic or formerly cannibalistic tribes were dealing with the trauma of these acts, and how the rest of the world viewed these societies.
The Peshawar Lancers is extraordinary It started like any old historical, very familiar ground to anyone coming across Flashman or the Kipling Corbett path then you realize it s not a history adventure at all, but a fantasy world steeped in cannibal horror, futurecasting, and forced eugenics Then it flips over into a faux Victorian, inventor scientist complete with plucky heroine steampunk world with dirigibles, transistors and babbage engines and if this is sound like a horrific mishmash, that s because I m not SM Stirling He ties it together in one of the finest, most masterful displays of fictional cohesiveness and integration I ve rarely seen, putting vastly incogruous technologies, values, worlds, science and sci fi, fantasy and reality, and an extraordinary, loving attention to detail that remains familiar and internally plausible while leaping through massive chasms of suspension of disbelief, and carrying with it a vast, strange but hauntingly familiar world, a huge cast of empathetic, easily identifiable and memorable characters and locales, and through it all, remains fun It s hard to classify this book but whatever shelf it might come from, once it s in your hands, it s unputdownable.
For example Stirling is so concerned with not saying he or naming a character by name than once in a paragraph that he comes up with all sorts of ridiculous synonyms the landowner was the most ridiculous.
And I think you re only allowed to use the phrase unmusical skrrrng once in a book Perhaps once in your lifetime Not twice.
The cast of characters is like Minoriteam all over again you ve got your white dude, your Afghan, your Sikh, your Jew, your Frenchman, and a couple but only a couple ladies thrown in.
Skip this one Trust me.
In The Mid S, Civilization Froze In Time When Comets Hit The Earth Instead Of Advancing Technologically, Humanity Had To Piece Itself Back Together In The St Century, Boats Still Run On Steam, Messages Are Delivered By Telegraph, And The British Empire Controls Much Of The World From Its Capital In Delhi The Other Major World Power Is The Czar Of Russia Who Is Preparing For Global Conquest