Slight spoilers ahead, but I’ll do my best to not give anything important away. The plot follows the exploits of Nimue Alban, who becomes Merlin Athrawes. Earth was forced to send a last ditch colonization mission out to try to save a remnant of humankind from the onslaught of an alien race called the Gbaba. Things go okay with the escape, but Nimue dies in the process of leading the Gbaba away so that the colony ships can disappear. So, imagine her surprise when she wakes up in a cave alone and in the body of a Pica, a sort of android copy of herself, and learns that the colony succeeded but that it twisted into a Neo-Luddite world by a faction of those who were supposed to found it and that everyone that she knew and cared for are dead and those that were part of the founding were turned into the Demons of the corrupt – world spanning – religion that the founders used to enslave the world to their Neo-Luddite views. Oh, and it’s not like she can just flip back on the lights because there is a Sword of Damocles hanging over the whole world, ready to strike if some unknown technological threshold is exceeded.
And so begins the story of one woman’s/man’s battle to change a world which is indoctrinated to regard change as demonic, and to save it before the Gbaba find them. There is a timer counting down to zero over them all, even if they don’t know it, but no one knows how much time is left on the clock.
Frankly, I loved these books. The rich world that Weber is created and the way that he shows you the strife and problems that the main characters have to overcome using early industrial revolution era technology is engaging and interesting. Like most of Weber’s books, there is a bit too much introspection and explanation for my taste, but I still liked and like these books and the moral and social dilemmas that they address.
This book and the series are great if you want a SciFi book that has combined with the age of Sail, cannon, and sword.
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