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The Peshawar Lancers
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About the Author

S. M. Stirling is the New York Times bestselling author of many science fiction and fantasy novels, including the Novels of the Change (including Prince of Outcasts, The Desert and the Blade, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice, Lord of Mountains) and the Shadowspawn series (A Taint in the Blood, The Council of Shadows, Shadows of Falling Night).

Reviews

In 1878, a deadly asteroid shower decimates the population of the Northern Hemisphere and forces the relocation of the British Empire to its southern colonies in India, Australia, and South Africa. Two centuries later, when the British Raj faces deadly threats from rival empires, the crown prince places his trust and the fate of the empire in the hands of a young officer in the Peshawar Lancers and his twin sister, a brilliant and innovative scientist. The author of the "Islander" series (e.g., Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, On the Oceans of Eternity) has written a remarkable alternate history. Stirling's impeccable research infuses both plot and characters with depth and verisimilitude, creating a tale of high adventure, romance, and intrigue that belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Aimed at readers who thrill to King, Empire and the fluttering Union Jack, as well as to brave white heroes, their faithful dusky-skinned servants and sneering villains, this alternative history from the bestselling author of the Islander novels supposes that in 1878 "a series of high-velocity heavenly bodies struck the earth," wreaking havoc throughout Europe and North America. Because much of the British merchant fleet survived the "Fall," the English upper classes were able to escape to the Asian subcontinent. As a result, the British raj, extending from Delhi through India, Afghanistan and the Kashmir, still exists in the 21st century, though the technology consists of 19th-century vintage railways, hydrogen airships and a turbine-powered building-sized "Engine," the equivalent of a computer. It's a nifty premise, but in trying to continue in the grand tradition of such adventure writers as Kipling, Lamb and Mundy, whom Stirling acknowledges as influences, the author fails to inject much life into his stock characters, from the heroic Captain Athelstane King of the Lancers and the captain's memsahib sister, Cassandra, to King's Sikh companion, his trusty Muslim servant and the inevitable wise and helpful Jew. Unfortunately, this is less history altered than simply stopped, and the story is wordy pastiche rather than active inspiration. Not without humor, appendices survey the worldwide consequences of the Fall, complete with the succession of British monarchs from Victoria on. (Jan. 8) Forecast: Given recent events in Peshawar and the Northwest Frontier area, this novel is bound to attract more than usual attention. But since its tone is so at odds with today's grim reality, it may be considered by some in dubious taste. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"A wonderfully evocative adventure, told by an absolute master."-Mike Resnick "Stirling set up his world superbly....It has color, vibrancy, and boldness."-Santa Fe New Mexican "An irresistible read."-Booklist "A remarkable alternate history."-Library Journal "Splendidly detailed world building...with state-of-the-art-action."-Roland Green"Aimed at readers who thrill to King, Empire, and the fluttering Union Jack...a nifty premise."-Publishers Weekly

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