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A Meeting At Corvallis: A Book Review

by @ 8:08 pm on May 23, 2008. Filed under Alternate History, Book Reviews, Books

A Meeting At Corvallis, the final volume of the Change trilogy that began with Dies The Fire, comes to a satisfying, rollicking, action backed end, and there’s plenty there to satisfy anyone who became a fan of the first book and followed it all the way through.

After spending two volumes, stretching over nine years, building up to a confrontation between Norman Arminger’s Portland Protective Association and the loose alliance between Clan Mackenzie, the Bearkillers, and the monks of Mt. Abbott, Stirling doesn’t disappoint this time and gives his readers not one, but two epic confrontations that will decide the future of the characters that we’ve come to know, and perhaps the new post-Change world itself.

For the first time, he spends considerable time in the territory of the PPA where people are under the thumb of a man that they rallied behind when their lives seemed near an end, only to find themselves in a bondage unseen since serfdom ruled Russia. We also see the conflict about to come from the perspective of the people living in PPA and, while it doesn’t really change the moral calculus of good vs. evil, it does paint a broader picture and give depth to characters who otherwise would’ve been little more than cardboard cutouts.

More importantly, though, this final volume of the trilogy shows why Stirling really is such a good writer. Not only does he take care to humanize his characters, he makes you feel like you’re right there in their world with them, which makes the things that happen to them, both good and bad, all the more personal.

Stirling has started a new series based on the world of the Change. The Sunrise Lands takes place about ten years after the events of Corvallis and looks to introduce new characters, new challenges, and at some point perhaps an explanation for what happened to the world back on March 17, 1998. I look forward to continuing the adventure.

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