Just finished another S.M. Stirling tale of apocalypse and world destruction in an alternate Earth and while it doesn’t measure up to his great series (Island in the Sea of Time and the Changeverse trilogy), nevertheless The Peshawar Lancers is a good read.
The book takes place in the year 2025, but not a 2025 that we’ll see. In this world, the Earth was struck by a series of comets or meteors in the year 1878, which plunged much of the world into an extended winter and killed off a large chunk of the planet’s population. Since Britain had become uninhabitable, the country was evacuated and the new seat of the British Empire became New Delhi, with the empire encompassing India/Pakistan, South Africa/Kenya, and Australia/New Zealand, plus some other territories. The other world powers were France -outre-mer (or “over the sea” ) based in France’s one-time North African colonies; the Islamic Caliphate covering most of the rest of North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Europe; Dai-Nippon, a Japanese empire based in mainland China and encompassing much of Asia; and the remnants of Tsarist Russia.
Stirling offers a convincing look at how the cultures of the various civilizations would evolve under those circumstances. For example, the British Empire is still distinctively British but the Indian culture—customs, speech, mores, attitudes, even clothing—has made significant inroads.
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