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The Peshawar Lancers [Kindle Edition]

S. M. Stirling
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.58
You Save: $2.41 (30%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

In the mid-1870s, a violent spray of comets hits Earth, decimating cities, erasing shorelines, and changing the world’s climate forever. And just as Earth’s temperature dropped, so was civilization frozen in time. Instead of advancing technologically, humanity had to piece itself back together….

 

In the twenty-first century, boats still run on steam, messages arrive by telegraph, and the British Empire, with its capital now in Delhi, controls much of the world. The other major world leader is the Czar of All the Russias. Everyone predicts an eventual, deadly showdown. But no one can predict the role that one man, Captain Athelstane King, reluctant spy and hero, will play….

 



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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, Inc.

From Library Journal

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 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1190 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (January 7, 2003)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002DYMBTY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,220 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
(117)
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sort of a Neo-Victorian Imperial James Bond... January 11, 2002
Format:Hardcover
S.M. Stirling's latest foray into alternate history is one with a rather inspired premise: after Europe and America are bombarded with comets in 1878, the British Empire must pick up its scattered pieces and reclocate to India. Now, a hundred and fifty years later, the new Britanno-Indian Empire struggles its way through 21st Century politics. While some of it reminds me of the early chapters of Robert Charles Wilson's Hugo-nominated "Darwinia", "The Peshawar Lancers" shares much thematically with Stirling's "Islander" saga: Western culture gets rocked back on its heels, but ultimately struggles and survives in a world that it has unintentionally changed.
Stirling has given a great deal of attention to his world - and it shows. Especially interesting in their own alternate-historical merit are the five appendices at the end of the book that deal with the events of the cometary impact, the British Exodus to India, the state of the world and the British Empire and the level of science and technology in his world of 2025. He has given thought to all of the major players in a world that seems almost more like Asia of the 1920s than the 2020s, but every country comes off as believable and most fall within what I could even see as plausible - given a little dramatic license, of course.
The story itself is a great deal of fun, too. The main character, Athelstane King, is an Imperial Army captain, a young manor lord and a reluctant conscript into his Majesty's service following the uncovering of a conspiracy by the Russian Czar in Samarkand. The story follows him, his armsman, his sister, an Afghan assassin, the Imperial Heir-Apparent and a Algerio-French emissary through Bzyantine plots and a very-well-realized Imperial India.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, great, throwback fun January 10, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Guilty pleasure - thy name is THE PESHAWAR LANCERS.

The first thought that occurs to one after reading this ripping little yarn is that Harry Turtledove now has some serious competition for the title of Alternative History King. A Young Pretender has arrived and it turns out to be a long haired ex-barrister who cut his literary teeth writing up salacious tales of Aryan lesbian dominatrixes hailing from a South Africa that never existed.

In THE PESHAWAR LANCERS, Stirling weaves loads of Kipling, Mundy, and Hobson-Jobson into a throwback tale of a British Empire that never was. A shower of comets strikes the Northern Hemisphere in the fall of 1878, plunging the most advanced half of the globe into a deep freeze for several years. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli gets a quick heads-up on the climatic consequences from scientific advisors led by Lord Kelvin...and before you know it he's managed to use what remains of the Royal Navy and British merchant marine to ship off the the richest and most useful elements of British civilization off to Britannia's southern hemisphere holdings: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and, for Queen and Court and capital, the Raj in India while the rest of Eurasia and North America, save for Japan, a resurgent Arab caliphate and a French remnant fleeing to the Maghreb, plunges into death, canibalism and barbarism. What emerges a century and a half later is a wild and crazy early industrial world where an Indianized Raj still employing steam engines and Martini-Henry rifles now rules half the world from Delhi - setting an exotic stage for adventure that Kipling or Haggard would have thrilled to.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rousing Good Adventure Story! March 9, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I think that it was Coleridge who coined the phrase, "a willful suspension of disbelief", which is, in my mind, what it takes to enjoy good fiction. Readers with imagination and the ability to "suspend" are going to love this book. It makes no pretentions of being other than what it it is, a really good adventure story, replete with sword fights; manly heroes who admit and enjoy their vices; tough, but still feminine heroines, who are excellent shots, and really BAD bad guys. Author Stirling acknowledges inspiration from such former great adventure writers as Burroughs, Sabatini and Talbot Mundy, whose "King of the Khyber Rifles" features as its main character, one Athelstan King. Lancers' featured character is Athelstane King, but Stirling's fast moving plot is very different from that of Mundy. Placed in alternative history following a global disaster caused by meteors hitting Earth in Victorian times, King and his friends battle to save the remains of the British Empire, now centered in India from the machinations of an evil Russian agent and his minions. If you are looking for serious, New York Times' approved fiction, save your money. But if you, like me, really enjoy a well conceived and crafted, fast paced adventure story, you will not be disappointed. Don't start it, though, unless you have time to read it from cover to cover. Once you are "into" Mr. Stirling's world, you won't want to come home again until the story is finished. This book only needs two things: first, a sequel, and, second, a good (as in GOOD) movie version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good yarn, have a few issues with the selective ...
good yarn, have a few issues with the selective development og different sciences/technologies, but read it in two evenings. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Per Frøbjerg Moe
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Alternate History Yarn
This is a stand alone novel from S.M. Stirling, and another of his "kill the world and rebuild it" stories. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rick Buchanan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
In the tradition of Flashman. Rousing adventure in an almost real world.
More, please, from this universe.
Published 1 month ago by Paul Delaney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great fun, Indian loan words a little difficult at first but not a hindrance to a good read.
Published 1 month ago by albert j wozniak
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great one!
I'm a huge fan of Stirling, have read virtually everything he's ever wrote. This particular book, like "Conquistador", is a one-off, stand-alone book (unlike his "after the fall"... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Fun read
Published 2 months ago by GVL
2.0 out of 5 stars Very slow and at times confusing. More background on ...
Very slow and at times confusing. More background on the calamity in the earlier chapters would have made, in my opinion, it easier to move into the main story.
Published 3 months ago by OffInt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A rollicking good time!
Published 3 months ago by Will
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, but not an Alternate History
I really, really liked The Peshawar Lancers as well as Conquistadors, Island in the Sea of Time and Dies the Fire. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ray Givan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good read
Published 4 months ago by Ed
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More About the Author

I'm a writer by trade, born in France but Canadian by origin and American by naturalization, living in New Mexico at present. My hobbies are mostly related to the craft -- I love history, anthropology and archaeology, and am interested in the sciences. The martial arts are my main physical hobby.

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