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A Meeting at Corvallis

A Meeting at Corvallis

Written by S.M. Stirling

Narrated by Todd McLaren


A Meeting at Corvallis

Written by S.M. Stirling

Narrated by Todd McLaren

ratings:
4.5/5 (27 ratings)
Length:
23 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 22, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176786
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In the tenth year of the Change, the survivors in western Oregon have learned how to live in a world without technology. The city-state of Corvallis has preserved its university, and trade flourishes via riverboats and horse-drawn railways. Under the strong hand of Michael Havel, the Bearkillers hold the lands west of Salem in peace and order. And in the eastern half of the Willamette Valley, the Clan Mackenzie flourishes under the charismatic leadership of Juniper Mackenzie, bard and High Priestess.



Together, they have held the Lord Protector, Norman Arminger-the warlord of Portland-at bay. With his dark fantasies of a neofeudal empire, Arminger has extended his power over much of the Pacific Northwest, spreading fear with his knights, castles, and holy inquisition. Even more dangerous, and perhaps Arminger's most powerful weapon of all, is the ruthlessly cunning mind of his consort, Lady Sandra.



The tensions between these factions have been building for some time, and the only reason they haven't confronted one another on the battlefield is because Arminger's daughter has fallen into Clan Mackenzie's hands. But Lady Sandra has a plan to retrieve her-a plan that threatens to plunge the entire region into open warfare.
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 22, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176786
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

A well-regarded author of alternate history science-fiction novels, S.M. Stirling has written more than twenty-five books, including acclaimed collaborations with Anne McCaffrey, Jerry Pournelle, and David Drake. His most recent novels are T2: Infiltrator, The Peshawar Lancers, and the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy.


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Reviews

What people think about A Meeting at Corvallis

4.3
27 ratings / 16 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Very interesting read. No science fiction here, except for the initial premise that a sudden change eliminates all electricity and spark driven machinery. Stirling is a good author, but in this book, set in Oregon, he goes a little overboard in describing the wonders of Oregon's countryside. He also over-describes middle ages type of battles, protective clothing, and weapons. All that gets a little tedious. Nevertheless, this continuation of "Dies the Fire" is a good read.
  • (3/5)
    good action in this one; a little predictable but still fun
  • (4/5)
    Third entry to the Emberverse, finishing up the series about the first 10 or so years after The Change. No one knows quite what happened, but on one fine evening, suddenly machines all stopped working at once. There followed massive upheaval and a few hearty folks who struggled to survive. These three books covered several small enclaves in the Pacific Northwest, and how they managed to put together a follow on civilization.Lots of interesting learning to make-do, reinvention of primitive techniques for survival and lots of interesting approaches to governance.
  • (5/5)
    Stirling continues his "Change" series to this satisfying and powerful conclusion.
  • (4/5)
    11/11 I think this is my favorite of the series as it stands right now. One can see who Rudi is becoming, and which way the wind blows there. I like Tiphanie, who begins to have depth and nuance here. I like the tying up of knots, and the promises left hanging. There is, of course, a lot of thwacking of swords into bone, and plenty of blood and bone splinters flying about, but it's all part and parcel of this well-imagined world.

    12/10 I suppose saying "astronomical body count" and "graphic violence of the most lurid sort" is redundant in a review of any of the books in this series. Or so it appears, after I've read three of 'em.

    Solid action, taut plotting, no real surprises (well, there's the one, but I'm not telling you about that) and a satisfying conclusion to the first trilogy in the series.

  • (5/5)
    Original given the series to read by my son, awhile ago. Purchased the series, to have in my own library. What would you do if there was no power, gunpowder doesn't work and machinery will not work. You are forced back to the time of swords and bow and arrows. It's a time of fight or die to survive. Its an interesting journey and will keep you riveted to the books to see how it unfolds. Excellent books. Well written.
  • (4/5)
    A fine conclusion to the series. It tied up many loose ends. I could say the ending felt a bit rushed and the negotiations were flawed. But the march to and from war seemed fair. That war doesn't end with a total victory and slaughter on one side only was represented. And in that there was justice. The pseudo-feudalism set up on the good side seemed to have no problems or issue. The utopian situation that was created would never exists. There would just be too much turmoil inside the set up to be real. But getting beyond the politics of clan and small communities living together for ten years growing and adding people but only growing in harmony, the book was reasonable to read. I put it above many other ones.
  • (4/5)
    The third in the "Dies the Fire" series, a post-apocalypse America in which the apocalypse consisted of something (alien space bats?) somehow twisting the laws of physics so that electricity and engines stop working. Thrown back on medieval technology, nearly everyone dies horribly. But of course we focus on the survivors.The survivors are tough and skilled people, who have learned blacksmithing and sword fighting in the SCA and such, and who work hard to grow their food. Enclaves spring up, some tolerant meritocracies, and some vicious feudalisms. This is the story of the conflict between the Evil Feudalists and the Good Egalitarians. Guess who wins.SM Stirling is something of a guilty pleasure - his books are just so much more fun than they have any right to be. The detail of the societies is fascinating; the farms and battles and technologies have a complexity of realism and detail that makes up for the rather two dimensional characters.
  • (5/5)
    A fitting end to the Dies the Fire trilogy; damned book had me in tears on the Tube by the end. The hostilities between the Protector and the protagonists comes to a climax. a wonderfully imagined world where technology no longer works, plunging civilisation back into the middle ages.
  • (4/5)
    The final installment in the Change series included some unexpected turns. With most of the character development already complete, it was also faster in pace. I enjoyed it, but would recommend reading the first two before this.
  • (4/5)
    Ahh, the ending to the trilogy, but don't worry new Stirling fans, a new series is already out, featuring Rudi MacKenzie and his quest for Nantucket. Anyway, this third book brings the conflict to a head. Corvallis, Bearkillers, and Clan MacKenzie vs the Portland Protection Association. More great battles, more nerd sourced references, and the children of the change are getting older. Not the best writing ever, but the setting and tantalizing what if scenarios are enough to get me hooked. If you can put up with the bizarre wiccan rituals there is lots of strange knowledge to glean from this story. The reader also gets a few more details regarding Nantucket and what caused all of this to happen, foreshadowing the next three books in the series.
  • (4/5)
    A Meeting at Corvallis is a wonderful end to a story that started in Dies the Fire. The war that is alluded to in the previous book, The Protector's War, finally materializes and the battles are fast moving and well written. Overall this book is everything I hoped it would be. The story arcs that developed over the previous two books are completed with great skill and satisfaction. That is not to say that the book is not without its faults. There were a few instances where I felt that the story had lost its momentum, and I didn't feel compelled to keep reading. But these instances passed as quickly as they arrived, and I was drawn once again into the rich and detailed world that Stirling created.
  • (4/5)
    The best compliment I can pay to this third installment in Stirling’s Emberverse series, and sixth in the Nantucket event series, is that it brings most plot points to an end. Finally, we have the war between the Portland Protectorate Association and the alliance of Bearkillers, the monks of Mount Angel, and Clan McKenzie promised in the previous book, The Protector’s War. Two campaigns detailing the end game of the war are laid out, in fact. Unfortunately, while Stirling delivers on the gripping action scenes and florid descriptions of post-America that endeared me to this series in the first place, “Meeting in Corvallis” suffers from disjointed pacing and wandering focus.I was expecting a linear buildup of action leading to the ubiquitous final battle that are typical of this genre of disaster fiction. It seems instead that “Corvallis” is more of a seris of novellas, typical of Analog Magazine mashups (such as Brin’s “The Postman”).It starts off as a kind of spy story, where the heroes of the previous two novels hold a conference with the leaders of the University of Corvallis as indicated by the title and are hampered by a murder mystery. There is a buildup to large battle and just when you think the protagonists are going to triumph over evil the battle ends and a year-long détente ensues. It’s almost like another story starts up. I am tempted to blame the insertion of a new character into the plot. Some authors have a certain tick, a signature character that crops up in their writing over and over; telepathic intelligent dogs for Dean Koontz or mentally retarded yet central to the plot young men for Stephen King, for instance. I can only guess that Stirling realized he had gone nearly two books into this series without writing in a lesbian ninja. "We can't have that!" he may have thought. After putting one in as a villain at the end if “The Protector’s War” he killed her off, so with this book we have her lover out for revenge as an even more capable and ruthless lesbian ninja. In the center of the book there is a seemingly separate plot arc detailing her life. It’s an interesting story and all, but I kept waiting for things to wrap up. Finally with the end of another harvest season a second battle gets underway and we have get the conclusion we were expecting, but it comes suddenly and is rather jarring. I won’t second guess the author and accuse him of being in a hurry, but for a guy who usually can stretch a duel into several pages, agonizing over descriptions of the weaponry and tactics involved, in this last skirmish of the series he merely describes the internal sensations of the lead character and leaves much up to the imagination. It’s over before you realize. It is an intriguing change of storytelling style but might lead readers wanting something a bit more. However, if you’re made it thus far in the series it remains a satisfying read and you are likely to be entertained.
  • (4/5)
    I found this at the YMCA lending library as I was waiting for my son's Capoiera class and it was good enough to prompt me to check out the next two books from the library and finish all 3 in less than 2 weeks.
  • (4/5)
    I think the best way to conceptualize this, the third book in Stirling’s series that began with Dies the Fire, is as the second part of The Protector’s War. The storylines and themes that began there are woven through into A Meeting at Corvallis and completed therein. The pace of this book starts off somewhat slow in comparison to its two predecessors, however the action soon arises and regains the rapid and gripping pace that made the first two books of the series quite enjoyable. Again, as in the first two books, Stirling explores the impact of mythology, lore and religion in an agrarian society, comparing and contrasting healthy individual spirituality with domineering organized religious establishments. Along with this, he also presents contrasting ethical frameworks that showcase some of the fundamental aspects of liberated societies and tyrannies. During this exploration, all the major plot lines are left resolved, yet the overall milieu Stirling has created is left in a wonderful spot for the next book, which apparently will jump forward in time to the next generation of post Change survivors. One interesting facet of the series as a whole is how much the setting is reminiscent of ancient Greece. While I doubt that Stirling intentionally set out to create an allegorical account of Grecian antiquity, one thing I found myself pondering as I read these books is their loose relationship to the pre Socratic classical era that seems to lie just beneath the surface. One does not need to stretch the imagination far to picture the Spartans (Bearkillers), Athenians (Clan Mackenzie), or the collected empirical states of Persia and Asia Minor under Xerxes (Lord protector and the Portland Protectorate Authority) portrayed in the series. Any detailed analysis will show vast differences in any one of these allegorical mappings, but the loose connection kept recurring to me as I read and continually mapping fiction back to history was an integral part of the enjoyment of the series. For anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic fiction, I would definitely recommend picking up this series. It is escapist fiction of good merit, not challenging the reader heavily in any academic way, yet intelligent and engrossing enough to allow the reader to slip away into a new yet plausible reality.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting plot device, fairly well-written and well-thought out. It is a bit contrived, but I freely admit that I have not been able to put down any of the books in the series, and that as I finished each one I nervously began making mental lists of necessary survival gear for when the lights go out for good.