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Conquistador

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Conquistador.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    S. M. Stirling(Author)

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A new alternate history of America from the author of The Peshawar Lancers, the bestselling novel the Chicago Sun-Times called -a pleasure to read- and Harry Turtledove hailed as -first-rate adventure all the way.-

1945: An ex-marine has discovered a portal that permits him to travel between the America he knows-and a virgin America untouched by European influence. 21st century: The two realities collide...

"The moral landscapes of this novel are intriguing, and the sight of an undeveloped West Coast is unforgettable.""In this luscious alternative universe, sidekicks quote the Lone Ranger and Right inevitably triumphs with panache. What more could adventure-loving readers ask for?"-Publishers Weekly

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Book details

  • PDF | 608 pages
  • S. M. Stirling(Author)
  • Roc; Reprint edition (1 Mar. 2004)
  • English
  • 5
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Review Text

  • By S. Brady on 12 March 2003

    With Conquistador S.M. Stirling maintains and builds on the standard his readers have come to expect from the author of the Draka and Island in the Sea of Time series. Like Stirling's last offering, The Peshawar Lancers, Conquistador is essentially an Alternate History, although partaking also of elements of other genres such as techno-thriller, action-adventure, crime, utopian romance and even Western. It will be of interest therefore not just to diehard SF and AH fans, but to those who enjoy these other genres.The tale opens in 1946, when John Rolfe VI, wounded WWII combat veteran and scion of an old (by US standards!) if now impoverished Virginian colonial family accidentally creates a mysterious shimmering silver gateway in the cellar of his Oakland, California, house, whilst tinkering with his radio set (a fine vintage 1940s SF plot device this!) A gate which opens on another America, undiscovered by Europeans, through which Rolfe and those he lets in on his secret can go back and forth at will, even if they have no idea how it works.It is typical of Stirling's impressive historical erudition and worldbuilding skills that he supplies a detailed, convincing allohistorical rationale for this. A timeline in which Alexander the Great did not die young, but went on to found an empire from the Atlantic to the Bay of Bengal. Whilst Poul Anderson in Eutopia built a hi-tech Hellenistic scientific-industrial 20-Century civilization on this premise, Stirling equally convincingly goes the opposite way. His Hellenistic Eurasian empire has stagnated by 1946 at a medieval level, with quarrelsome successor states surrounded by barbarian tribes, and thus has yet to cross the Atlantic. An Appendix describing in some detail the world thus created is a fascinating addendum to Stirling's tale.Rolfe and his old Army buddies build their own society on the other side of the Gate, financed by its resources, such as unRushed Californian gold, sold on our side. And peopled by assorted disaffected elements seeking a bolt hole, from postwar East European and German refugees, through French and British colonials dispossessed by the end of Empire in Africa to Boer and Russian malcontents today. Whilst the Native American inhabitants are decimated by European diseases accidentally introduced by 20th Century Americans rather than 16th Century Spaniards.The society John Rolfe and his associates build in their New World is the latest in Stirling's series of thought-provoking fictional alternatives to that of the modern America he inhabits. Like its predecessors, the Domination of the Draka and the societies of the Island series, the socio-political structures are carefully worked out, plausible and interesting. Stirling is clearly fascinated by environmentally-friendly, hierarchical alternative societies. As he has progressed, the dystopian downside of the alternative societies he devises has steadily grown less, to the extent that many will feel that in his latest book it is outweighed by the positive side. Unlike the nightmare slave-state of the Draka, the New Virginia Rolfe builds may well seem to many readers, this reviewer included, a better place to live in many ways than its counterpart on our side of the Gate. Although, as we discover, its inhabitants include villains as evil and ruthless as any.Then a US Fish and Wildlife Service agent investigating an apparent illegal trade in endangered wildlife products stumbles upon a mystery, One that starts from an inexplicable extra specimen of the extremely rare Californian condor in a blown-up warehouse. That continues via his meeting and becoming involved with Adrienne, the glamorous and talented wild card of the Rolfe family pack. And ends in the secret of her other world, and its own secret enemy within, an enemy that menaces both her world and ours.En route escaping death at the hands of post-Soviet mafiya hoods, and their Sicilian originals, on the mean streets of our America and at the guns of hostile Indians in a desert canyon of another world's West. Passing from the humdrum offices of US Government bureaucrats to the elegant mansions of the aristocrats of another America and from the polluted urban sprawl of our LA to the small towns, yeoman farms and wildlife-filled wilderness of an alternative California.S.M. Stirling's latest book managed the not inconsiderable feat of keeping this reader on the edge of his seat whilst making him think. Heartily recommended, both as an exciting, page-turning adventure story and a thought-provoking exploration of historical, social and political alternatives to our own world.

  • By S. Brady on 19 March 2003

    With Conquistador S.M. Stirling maintains and builds on the standard his readers have come to expect from the author of the Draka and Island in the Sea of Time series. Like Stirling's last offering, The Peshawar Lancers, Conquistador is essentially an Alternate History, although partaking also of elements of other genres such as techno-thriller, action-adventure, crime, utopian romance and even Western. It will be of interest therefore not just to diehard SF and AH fans, but to those who enjoy these other genres.The tale opens in 1946, when John Rolfe VI, wounded WWII combat veteran and scion of an old (by US standards!) if now impoverished Virginian colonial family accidentally creates a mysterious shimmering silver gateway in the cellar of his Oakland, California, house, whilst tinkering with his radio set (a fine vintage 1940s SF plot device this!) A gate which opens on another America, undiscovered by Europeans, through which Rolfe and those he lets in on his secret can go back and forth at will, even if they have no idea how it works.It is typical of Stirling's impressive historical erudition and worldbuilding skills that he supplies a detailed, convincing allohistorical rationale for this. A timeline in which Alexander the Great did not die young, but went on to found an empire from the Atlantic to the Bay of Bengal. Whilst Poul Anderson in Eutopia built a hi-tech Hellenistic scientific-industrial 20-Century civilization on this premise, Stirling equally convincingly goes the opposite way. His Hellenistic Eurasian empire has stagnated by 1946 at a medieval level, with quarrelsome successor states surrounded by barbarian tribes, and thus has yet to cross the Atlantic. An Appendix describing in some detail the world thus created is a fascinating addendum to Stirling's tale.Rolfe and his old Army buddies build their own society on the other side of the Gate, financed by its resources, such as unRushed Californian gold, sold on our side. And peopled by assorted disaffected elements seeking a bolt hole, from postwar East European and German refugees, through French and British colonials dispossessed by the end of Empire in Africa to Boer and Russian malcontents today. Whilst the Native American inhabitants are decimated by European diseases accidentally introduced by 20th Century Americans rather than 16th Century Spaniards.The society John Rolfe and his associates build in their New World is the latest in Stirling's series of thought-provoking fictional alternatives to that of the modern America he inhabits. Like its predecessors, the Domination of the Draka and the societies of the Island series, the socio-political structures are carefully worked out, plausible and interesting. Stirling is clearly fascinated by environmentally-friendly, hierarchical alternative societies. As he has progressed, the dystopian downside of the alternative societies he devises has steadily grown less, to the extent that many will feel that in his latest book it is outweighed by the positive side. Unlike the nightmare slave-state of the Draka, the New Virginia Rolfe builds may well seem to many readers, this reviewer included, a better place to live in many ways than its counterpart on our side of the Gate. Although, as we discover, its inhabitants include villains as evil and ruthless as any.Then a US Fish and Wildlife Service agent investigating an apparent illegal trade in endangered wildlife products stumbles upon a mystery, One that starts from an inexplicable extra specimen of the extremely rare Californian condor in a blown-up warehouse. That continues via his meeting and becoming involved with Adrienne, the glamorous and talented wild card of the Rolfe family pack. And ends in the secret of her other world, and its own secret enemy within, an enemy that menaces both her world and ours.En route escaping death at the hands of post-Soviet mafiya hoods, and their Sicilian originals, on the mean streets of our America and at the guns of hostile Indians in a desert canyon of another world's West. Passing from the humdrum offices of US Government bureaucrats to the elegant mansions of the aristocrats of another America, from the polluted urban sprawl of our LA to the small towns, yeoman farms and wildlife-filled wilderness of an alternative California.S.M. Stirling's latest book managed the not inconsiderable feat of keeping this reader on the edge of his seat whilst making him think. Heartily recommended, both as an exciting, page-turning adventure story and a thought-provoking exploration of historical, social and political alternatives to our own world.


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