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On The Oceans of Eternity by S. M. Stirling
Published by Roc
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
The Islanders continue their battle against William Walker, a renegade from their own society who saw the sudden transportation of Nantucket into the past as an opportunity for his own aggrandizement. The alliance with Babylon and the other Mesopotamian powers have borne strange fruit, including several mixed marriages in positions that have the promise of reshaping entire societies from the bottom up.
However, all that they are doing is threatened by Walker's aggression. His creation, Greater Achea (Mycanean Greece reshaped by modern ideas), is a nightmare empire of industrial slavery and police-state tactics in a world unprepared to deal with this level of evil. At the same time, Iskaterol of Tartessos continues his opposition to Nantucket, which he sees as opposing his efforts to see to it that his people and his citiy do not disappear into the trash can of history as they did in the original timeline. Although he is not evil in the same sense that Walker is (he's merely doing what's common in his own place and time, rather than re-establishing cruelties given up by his people), his opposition to Nantucket prevents them from effectively dealing with the monster they have inadvertantly inflicted on this time and place.
But Walker may well have a surprise in his own back yard. Among his handfast men is Odikweos, better known to our time as Odysseus. Odikweos may be of a lower-tech society, but he is not stupid. By no means -- in fact, the canniness and trickery attributed to him by Homer has its roots in fact. There will be trouble when he discovers the whole story of what he might have been had Walker not usurped the throne in Mycanea.
If you enjoy this book, you may also enjoy 1632 by Eric Flint.
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Review posted December 28, 2000
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