Review of “Prince of Outcasts”

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“Prince of Outcasts” eBook was published in 2016 (September) and was written by S. M. Sterling (http://smstirling.com). Mr. Stirling has published more than 40 novels, novellas and short stories. This is the latest (#13) in his “Emberverse” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is split between the Pacific Northwest after the ‘Change’ and the Pacific islands.

This story is part of the Alternative Future that Stirling has created. In this world the ‘Change’ occured March 17, 1998. Our laws of physics were suddenly changed – electricity, gunpowder, explosives, internal combustion engines and even steam power will no longer work. Millions die and humanity around the world is reborn into a modern feudal society.

This story is about some of the descendants of key figures in the earlier volumes – John Arminger Mackenzie, a prince of the empire that evolved out of the former states of Washington and Oregon, and his sister Crown Princess Orlaith.

An encounter with Koreans on the California coast splits the two with Mackenzie sailing westward with Koreans in pursuit. The voyage brings encounters with monstrous sea creatures, pirates and dark forces. Along the way he finds new allies and a new love interest.

Meanwhile, his sister is establishing a strong bond with Reiko, the new leader of the Japanese empire. Both young women are accomplished warriors. They are preparing to lead an army against the Koreans who killed both of their fathers (in the previous book). They must also defend themselves against assassination attempts.

I have read most of this series from the first volumes released in 1998. I found this to be a good read of 17.5 hours for this 462 page novel. I have missed the past few novels in the series, so I was not familiar with all of the names and events referred to in this book. While it can be read stand-alone, I would strongly suggest reading the other volumes in the series first. I am not a fan of the many ‘songs’ included in the story. With all of the battles and action scenes the pace is fast in most places. I do think that the chosen cover is a good depiction of what to expect. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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