History Main / Emberverse

12th Dec '12 8:15:08 AM Discar
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The Year: 1998.\\
The Date: March 17.\\
The Time: 6:15 p.m. PST.

An enormous electrical storm of unknown properties encompasses the island of Nantucket and transports it back to the bronze age. The resultant time shock causes everyone on Earth to suffer an intense migraine at the exact same moment. The far more important consequence is that any device run off of electricity, gunpowder, explosives, internal combustion or steam power ceases to function. Permanently. In a single instant, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt humanity has been, metaphorically, bombed back to the Stone Age.]]

Thus begins ''Dies the Fire'', the first "Novel of the Change" by Creator/SMStirling. The Novels of the Change, aka the Emberverse, concern what happens to the modern world after the island of Nantucket is hurled back through time in IslandInTheSeaOfTime, the other side of the Emberverse coin.

The Emberverse currently consists of two completed trilogies, the first three volumes of a tetrology, and three short stories ("Something for Yew", "Ancient Ways," and "A Murder In Eddsford"). An additional trilogy is planned, taking place a generation after the end of the tetrology.

The first trilogy consists of:
* ''Dies the Fire'' (2004) - After the Nantucket Event, Michael Havel and the Larsson family make their way from Montana to the Larsson estate in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, picking up survivors on the way, and eventually forming the mercenary outfit "The Bearkillers". Meanwhile, in Corvallis, the Oregon State University "faculty senate" rallies the city survivors to their banner, while Juniper Mackenzie and her neo-pagan "Georgian Wiccan" coven form the "Clan Mackenzie" in the hills south of Lebanon, Oregon. Finally, history professor Norman Arminger rallies the members of his local branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism and the criminal element of Portland to his "Portland Protective Association", based on a feudalistic monarchy with some minor Mordorian influences. All this is accomplished amid the backdrop of billions dying as most of the world's mass food production capabilities and rapid transport fail, leaving everyone to fend for himself.
* ''The Protector's War'' (2005) - With the various factions of the Willamette Valley relatively settled, Lord Protector Arminger sets his sights on conquering the rest of the valley, something the Bearkillers, Mackenzies and Corvallans want no part of. This marks the start of the Protector's War
* ''The Meeting at Corvallis'' (2006) - The Protector's War ends, and peace finally comes to the Willamette Valley...for a time.

The second trilogy takes place 22 years after the Change, after a 12-year TimeSkip:
* ''The Sunrise Lands'' (2007) - Ingolf Vogeler, a traveler from Readstown, Wisconsin, arrives at Dun Juniper, the capital of the Clan Mackenzie, searching for a man known as "The Son of the Bear Who Rules," so the Wisconsinite can take him to obtain "The Sword of the Lady," after a vision he received while visiting the island of Nantucket. He is pursued by assassins from the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), a religious cult who view the Change as punishment from God. Rudi Mackenzie, son of Juniper Mackenzie and Mike Havel, long ago prophesied as "The Lady's Sword" at his naming ceremony, leads Ingolf, Mathilda Arminger (his childhood friend and heiress to the PPA throne), her vassal Odard Liu, Rudi's sisters Mary and Ritva (both Dunedain Rangers), and Father Ignatius (a warrior-monk of the Benedictine order of Mount Angel). Together they embark on a cross-country quest to recover "The Sword of the Lady," which waits for Rudi back at Nantucket.
* ''The Scourge of God'' (2008) - The CUT gains in power, land and influence, apparently aided by otherworldly forces, threatening the entirety of the Willamette Valley and all of what used to be the United States. Meanwhile, Rudi and company make their way across the Midwest, and arrive at the Provisional Republic Of Iowa.
* ''The Sword of the Lady'' (2009) - Rudi and his companions finally arrive at Nantucket, and obtain the titular sword, as the war between the CUT and the Willamette forces takes a turn for the worse.

A new tetrology is in progress, which promises to wrap up the war with the CUT, and track Rudi and co.'s journey back to the Willamette to complete their quest:

* ''The High King of Montival'' (2010) - Now in possession of the Sword, Rudi - Artos - must journey back to the western lands he'd left behind, and muster from them an army to rescue his homeland. Both he and his people back home work to consolidate the newborn kingdom, should they prevail against the Cutters.
* ''The Tears of the Sun'' (2011) - The kingdom of Montival takes firmer shape under Artos's leadership, the disparate groups within drawing together to meet the CUT threat. Allies from the eastern lands, as well as from the former Canada, provide vital support. Part of the war effort includes sowing dissension in the enemy ranks, with the goal of taking the CUT's ally [[spoiler: Boise]] out of the war.
* ''Lord of Mountains'' (September 2012) - [[spoiler: The combined armies of Montival and its allies, led by Rudi with the Sword, rout the CUT invasion. Boise is freed of CUT influence when Rudi kills Martin Thurston, although the overall political situation there is still one of unrest. After the climactic battle in the Horse Heaven Hills, the leaders of Montival decide on a further course of action and formally unify under Rudi's leadership.]]
* ''The Given Sacrifice'' (September 2013)
----
!!This series provides examples of :

* ActionGirl: Lessee... Astrid Larsson, Eilir Mackenzie, Ritva and Mary Havel, Virginia Kane, Mathilda Arminger, Asgerd Karlsdottir. Also any girl on Mikes "A-list" by virtue of well...making onto the A-list.
* AffablyEvil: Both Norman and Sandra Arminger do a nice line in this.
* AfterTheEnd: The setting of the series, once the change occurred.
* AfterlifeAntechamber: [[spoiler: Mathilda has a vision of her father, Norman Arminger, in Purgatory--having learned his lesson but still serving his pennance. The Blessed Virgin Mary even drops off lunch for him!]]
* AlienSpaceBats: Most of the characters assume that these caused the Change, [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] it to the point of referring to the trope by name.
* AllGaysArePromiscuous: Don't tell Tiphaine d'Ath that, unless for some reason you feel the urge to die a quick and bloody death. However, Estella Maldonado and Aaron Rothman each labor gallantly to uphold this trope. As does Rigobert, who would be just as provoked, and as dangerous, as Tiphaine if you chose to make an issue of it.
* AllHailTheGreatGodMickey: The Rangers have a quasi-religious reverence for the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, considering them actual histories and swearing by the Valar. How seriously they take this varies from individual to individual.
* AllMythsAreTrue: Seen to be the case with the Mackenzies' Wiccan/Celt faith in the first trilogy, and with other religions, including the familiar, the ancient, and the new, in the second. Prophecies are also presented as true and reliable.
* AlternateHistory: On 3/18/98, no one in the Emberverse was worrying about Y2K or the performance of their tech stocks...
* AngelUnaware: While none have actually shown up, the Mackenzies (who are Wiccans) they treat every visitor they have as if they are these.
* AnnoyingArrows: Averted in ''Dies the Fire''. With guns no longer working and no one wearing serious armor yet, people swiftly learn to fear someone carrying any kind of bow or crossbow.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Mike Havel]] in ''A Meeting in Corvallis''.
** [[spoiler: Chuck Barstow]] in the ''The Scourge of God''.
** [[spoiler: Odard Liu]] in ''The Sword of the Lady''
** [[spoiler: Astrid Larsson Loring]] in ''Tears of the Sun''.
** [[spoiler: Epona]] in ''Lord of Mountains''.
* TheApocalypseBringsOutTheBestInPeople: It also brings out the worst, more often than not.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 2, as most of the world's existing civilizations are destroyed during "the dying times," to be replaced by entirely different ones.
* TheArcher: As an expert shot and original trainer of the Mackenzie archers, ex-[=SAS=]er Sam is deservedly known as "Aylward ''the'' Archer." As he ages, his son Edain proves a worthy heir to the title.
* ArmorIsUseless: Averted ''hard'' as the world re-learns why people used to wear chain mail.
* ArtificialLimbs: Will Hutton, Aaron Rothman, and Eric Larsson all use prosthetics thanks to injuries incurred in combat or by torture.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: Norman Arminger, Mike Havel, and Abbot Dmwoski, for starters -- given the world, for good reason. Averted with Juniper Mackenzie, who is a charismatic leader but only a fair combatant, and even more so with Sandra Arminger, who is small in stature and repeatedly described as lacking experience with weaponry.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: For Rudi and Mathilda, in ''Lord of Mountains''.
* BadassAdorable: Ten-year-old Rudi Mackenzie is beautiful and charming. And he deals out almost as much damage to his would-be kidnappers as do his two adult bodyguards.
* BadassCreed: Clan [=MacKenzie=]'s war chant:
-->We are the point!\\
We are the edge!\\
We are the wolves that Hecate fed!\\
We are the bow!\\
We are the shaft!\\
We are the bolts that Hecate cast!
* BadassDamsel: Kidnap Mathilda (or try to), and you have an excellent chance of finding yourself facing the sharp pointy end of her sword.
** Also Signe does a good job of keeping her potential rapist pined while the rescues being made in the first book.
* BadassGay: Tiphaine d'Ath, Rigobert de Stafford.
* BadassLongRobe / BadassPreacher: Abbot-Bishop Dmwoski of Mount Angel, who leads his WarriorMonk troops both spiritually and in battle. Also Father Ignatius, though he generally does not wear his robe into combat.
* BadassPrincess: Mathilda is among the most effective warriors of her kingdom, and plays important roles in some key battles.
* BattleCouple: Mike and Signe. Rudi and Mathilda. Aoife and Liath.
* BattleCry: Many, including the PPA's "Haro Portland!" and "Holy Mary for Portland!", the Bearkillers' "Hakkaa paalle!" (based on the real-life battle cry "Hakkaa päälle!" of troops serving under 17th-century Swedish ruler Gustav II Adolf), Mount Angel's "Jesu-Maria!", Rudi Mackenzie's "Morrigu!", Odard Liu's "Face Gervais, face death!", Virginia Kane's "Sweetwater forever!", and the United States of Boise's "U-S-A! U-S-A!" And of course the Church Universal and Triumphant's uncanny scream of "CUT! CUT! CUT!"
* TheBeard: In the homophobic PPA, Lady Delia de Stafford (lover of Lady Tiphaine d'Ath) and her gay husband Rigobert play this role for each other. They even refer to one other as "my beard" in ''Tears of the Sun''.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Right after the Change, Mike Havel discovers that his gun is not working. Signe says, wistfully, wouldn't it be wonderful if ''all'' guns had stopped working? Well, about that, Signe....
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: Having been chosen by ThePowersThatBe, Rudi has very little choice but to lead the fight against the CUT, and unify a group of diverse peoples.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Ian Kovalevsky is one of the nicest people in the series (when he's not in a fight, that is).
* BigBad:
** Norman Arminger in the original trilogy.
** The Prophet (head of the CUT) in the later books.
* BigBadWannabe: several of the petty thugs and warlords Mike Havel disposes of at the beginning of the series qualify, including the white supremacist survivalists (the first people to attack his party) and Iron Rod (who was quite effective terrorizing a convent--against the Bearkillers, not so much).
** Mary Liu, who tries to outwit the Lady Regent. Uh, yeah, good ''luck'' with that....
* BigGuyLittleGuy: Mack and his friend and boss Eddie Liu. Arguably applies to John Hordle and Alleyne Loring as well, though Alleyne is not small compared to anyone but John (or Mack).
* BiTheWay: Before taking up with her girlfriend Liath, Aoife Barstow was in love with a boy. Estella Maldonado, occasional lover of Delia the miller's daughter (before Delia became Tiphaine d'Ath's lover), admits to having a girl in "half a dozen or so" villages, and "boys in one or two."
* [[BlackVikings Black Viking]]: arguably, Frederick Thurston becomes one when he starts worshipping Odin.
* BloodBrothers: Eilir and Astrid. Proving that the trope isn't exclusive with romance, Rudi and Mathilda also get this.
* BobHaircut: Tiphaine d'Ath wears her hair this way. She'd prefer it shorter, but in the PPA it's barely acceptable at the length it is. Since said haircut is also known as a ''pageboy'', it's not surprising that this style is also worn by her pages.
* BoisterousBruiser: John Hordle fits it to a T.
* BrainsAndBrawn: Eddie Liu (brains) and his friend/[[TheDragon dragon]] Mack (brawn).
* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: In the first book, Juniper's friend Chuck Barstow gets the idea to raid the Eugene history museum's Living History exhibit and steal a wagon and horses during the chaos. Juniper's other friend Dennis' brother is an amateur blacksmith (who lives on Nantucket and gets flung back in time along with it), and during the escape from Corvallis, Dennis arms Juniper and himself with swords and axes his brother made for him.
** In areas where they have survived, the Amish are now highly-valued technical experts.
* TheBritishEmpire: Not only did the Royal Family, SAS and other remnants of British society manage to survive the initial chaos. they managed to eventually rebuild "Greater Britain" as a hybrid Medieval-Victorian-Postmodern state. Though not before "Mad King Charlie" tried to turn it into a Renaissance Fair.
** It's also mentioned that they're back to setting up colonies such as Prince Edward Island as well as building outposts across former Western Europe.
* BrownNote: '''''I...see...you'''''
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Astrid believes that the ''LordOfTheRings'' stories are actual histories. But she's a kick-ass fighter and wilderness scout and also has both the charisma and organizational ability to turn her delusion into an actual organization and quasi-religion.
** Norman Arminger is a former SCA dork, ''uses Sauron's Mordor banner as his flag,'' and is probably more than a bit crazy himself. With how he is numerically the most effective leader immediately post-Change and willing & able to kill almost anyone hand-to-hand, no one under him really has much to say about it...
** In-universe, Lawrence Thurston is regarded as one for his insistence upon restoring the United States (an idea seen as completely impractical by just about every other leader on the continent). However, he does manage to preserve at least the state of Idaho as a coherent political entity (in part by keeping the pre-Change state legislature intact), build a post-Change army (along the lines of the Roman legions) from the remnants of the US military in the area, and overall is one of the more effective and humane leaders in the series. [[spoiler: Of course [[DoomedMoralVictor he had to die]]...]]
* ButchLesbian: Tiphaine D'Ath
* CampGay: Aaron Rothman. Mike Havel suspects that Aaron is deliberately camp in reaction to the puritanical attitudes of many post-Change societies.
* CelibateHero: Father Ignatius.
* TheChessmaster: Sandra Arminger. Oh dear Lord, Sandra Arminger. Signe Havel also shows some aptitude for this. [[BigBadWannabe Mary Liu attempts it, but isn't quite smart enough]], especially not for going against Sandra.
* TheChosenOne: Rudi Mackenzie. Duh.
* ChurchMilitant: an apt description of the Mormon church in New Deseret. Given they have the CUT for neighbors, it's understandable.
* ClockPunk: Especially in the third trilogy. Bicycle-powered trains anyone?
* ColdBloodedTorture: Norman Arminger is seen practicing this. [[IncrediblyLamePun (Though he doesn't need much practice, as he appears to have a considerable natural talent.)]]
* ColonelBadAss: Colonel Sir Nigel Loring, sometime of the Blues and Royals. He helps to save the Queen and the Royal Family, trains troops in the new fighting methods, protects the families of his soldiers, escapes royal custody, fights heroically in a battle at sea (where he's instrumental in saving the Crown Prince), and outwits the Lord Protector -- all before he links up with the main plotline!
* CorruptChurch: The Roman Catholic Church in Portland, in the days of Lord Protector Norman Arminger, has its own "pope," burns heretics and dissenters, and supports the PPA's brutal tyranny. Its opposition includes Mount Angel and its WarriorMonk order, who believe the Catholic Church should uphold what Abbot Dmwoski calls "the ''best'' of our long tradition."
** Note that Arminger so very much wanted his own tame Pope to go along with his Norman-England fetish. Thus Pope Leo was given his own inquisition and was mainly in existence to increase the BigBad's powerbase.
** The Church Universal and Triumphant evolves from a fringe (but relatively harmless) New Age religious sect into an all-conquering ReligionOfEvil with nothing but enmity toward its neighbors.
* CountryMatters:- the Church United aNd Triumphant. GettingCrapPastTheRadar? Or simply descriptive of the CU(N)T mentality?
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Norman Arminger. He's a professor of the feudal early Middle Ages. This suddenly becomes a quite relevant skill when everyone is living it; when Mike asks him how he figured out and built up the PPA so rapidly, he almost gleefully responds that "I was a man who realized what the Change meant." It's heavily implied that his over-the-top DarkLord behavior in Dies the Fire is solely in furtherance of this, particularly as it comes to impressing and subordinating street gang leaders who are a lot more dangerous than he actually is.
** He's so genre-savvy that he includes the Evil Overlord list in the manuals he makes for each of his initial followers. Because he's that badass.
** Briefly turns into WrongGenreSavvy at the end of the first book when the Bearkillers and friends hammer Norman's troops with a mix of technologies - horse archery, a trebuchet and [[spoiler: observation balloons and hang-gliders]] - that troops & fortifications modeled on the 11th century have no answer for.
* DarkActionGirl: Tiphaine d'Ath and Katrina Georges.
* DaysOfFuturePast: Several societies fulfill this trope although it also has a foot in FantasyCounterpartCulture as [[spoiler: supernatural elements creep in during the second trilogy.]] The Clan Mackenzie is based on a New Age interpretation (much against the liking of its founder) of a Celtic clan, while the Portland Protective Association was deliberately created by an SCA member as a copy of a medieval feudal society with trappings of Mordor. The oddest example are the Dunedain Rangers, founded by a mildly insane Tolkien fangirl who has a quasi-religious reverence for his books. There are also several "Indian" tribes many of whose members have, at best, only nominal amounts of First Nations ancestry and Norrheim and Kalksthorpe, Viking-style nations founded by Asatru. Additionally, the remnants of the American military in Idaho have formed into a hybrid Roman Legion. Meanwhile, over in England, "Mad King Charlie" tries to turn what remains of his nation into something of a vast Rennaisance Faire, although his subjects draw the line at Morris dancing.
** in A MEETING AT CORVALLIS, a graffiti in the city of that name reads: "Help! I've fallen into the [=RenFaire=] and I can't get out!"
** Corvallis itself seems to be run by the 'council of wise men' Plato recommended. Although Corvallis has retained much of the pre-Change world's customs, it's channelling Classical Greece as much as the other nations are looking toward their ancient inspirations.
** Averted, at least at first, by Lawrence Thurston's efforts in Boise--he adopted Roman military organization out of practicality, not out of any great desire to emulate the ancient past; his main focus to the end was to restore the pre-Change United States. His son Martin turned the Romanisms UpToEleven [[spoiler: when he sold out to the CUT.]]
-->Frederick Thurston (to an officer defecting from Martin): My father adopted these things because they were ''useful'', not because he had some man-crush on Julius Caesar!
* DeadGuyJunior: Several. Rudi is named for Juniper's [[spoiler: first]] husband, who died on the day of the Change. Nigel's late-in-life daughter Maude is named for his [[spoiler: first]] wife. Ritva and Mary Havel are named for their paternal and maternal grandmothers, respectively.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: [[spoiler: Martin Thurston, after he is slain with the Sword of the Lady and the influence of the Power behind the CUT is lifted.]]
* DemocracyIsBad: The single democracy amongst the surviving Willamette communities, Corvallis, is easily manipulated by Portland during the Protector's War, and it's notably inefficient at the best of times. Averted (so far as we know) by the Dominion of Drumheller, seen in the second trilogy. It's worth mentioning that this is an {{Aesop}} completely opposite to that expressed in the related series ''IslandInTheSeaOfTime''.
** the Mackenzies are also technically a democracy. The chief is chosen by the great assembly, albeit they've only chosen one person so far. They also choose the tannist, the successor, and vote on major issues. Each dun has its own assembly to deal with local matters.
* {{Determinator}}: She is Tiphaine d'Ath, and you ''are in her way''. (And delightfully, in ''Lord of Mountains'' she even ''says'' so!)
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Rudi (and, on at least one occasion, Ignatius) versus any given High Seeker. [[spoiler:Especially after Rudi retrieves the Sword.]]
* DisasterDemocracy: Though other types of government are more common in the post-Change world, Corvallis and at least one of the Dominions (in what was formerly known as Canada) form their governments along these lines.
** Iowa managed to maintain not only democracy but ''its pre-Change system of government'' up until the third trilogy, although there are very big signs that the government is becoming functionally corrupt. And Mike Havel's original plan for the Bearkillers was to form a democracy, but this was subverted by Signe after his death.
* DistressedDamsel: Signe, early in the first book. It's this experience which prompts her to TakeALevelInBadass.
** Mathilda is also taken hostage at least three times during the series. Justified in that as the Protector's daughter she has high political value to her potential captors. She also becomes quite capable of rescuing herself when necessary as she gets older.
* DistressedDude: Ingolf gets captured with alarming frequency.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: "Son of the Bear Who Rules"... "Sword of the Lady"... [[KingArthur Where have we heard those before...]]
* TheDragon: For Norman Arminger, Conrad Renfrew; for his wife Sandra, Tiphaine D'Ath.
* DungAges: massively and deliberately averted. Although the overall tech level of the Emberverse is pre-industrial if not completely medieval, modern medicine and sanitation (and the relationship between sanitation and public health) are still well-known and widely practiced.
* EldritchAbomination: whoever or whatever is controlling Sethaz and the rest of the CUT High Seekers definitely qualifies.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Boy, is it!
** [[{{Lampshading}} Lampshaded]] in ''A Meeting at Corvallis'', where some young fighters actually sing the song of the same name.
* EnemyMine: Rudi invokes this when he decides to warn President-General Thurston of the Cutter ambush, and again when urging Thurston to ally with Deseret against the Cutters. (Thurston had previously refused to do so on the grounds that he was opposed to theocracies.)
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Played straight when the evil is of purely human origin: Norman and Sandra Arminger are HappilyMarried and love their daughter, Tiphaine d'Ath loves Delia and fights to protect her when she is threatened; Martin Thurston [[spoiler: initially]] is seen to love his wife and son. Averted with those who are possessed by the evil force backing the CUT [[spoiler: notably, post-possession Mary Liu and Martin Thurston]].
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Tiphaine d'Ath is by all accounts a decent suzerain to those who swear fealty to her; hates the CUT as badly as anyone else; and ''will not tolerate'' the abuse and exploitation of refugees by other nobles in the PPA during the war against the CUT.
** Several characters observe that, as bad as they are, the Cutters are ''still'' an improvement over Eaters.
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: Mary and Ritva Havel have each had to bounce many a LipstickLesbian from their respective beds. [[spoiler: At least once Ingolf is looking on laughing.]]
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: If he is to be believed, Rigobert was apparently such a hot guy in his high school days that even ''straight'' guys were willing to sleep with him.
* EvilParentsWantGoodKids: Though admittedly, even shamelessly, evil herself, Sandra Arminger gives Mathilda a religious and moral upbringing, and says the young woman is one of the few good things she has ever done.
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: This is the major point of contention between the factions of [[spoiler: the Universal Mind]].
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Norman Arminger's Castle Todenangst is deliberately designed to be ominous, imposing, and intimidating.
** And yet it has a ''food court'' and the elevator (powered by a serf in the basement) plays Muzak.
* ExpectingSomeoneTaller: An average-sized man with a giant reputation, Sam Aylward gets this reaction a lot.
* FeudalOverlord: Norman Arminger, to the PPA. Very, very deliberately.
* FlatEarthAtheist: Ultimately averted. Though Sandra Arminger and Tiphaine d'Ath are presented as atheists for much of the series, both eventually realize that it's an insupportable position in a world where there is objective evidence for the existence, and influence, of deities. In ''Tears of the Sun'', Sandra actually rejects this trope ''by name''.
* FlawExploitation: In ''A Meeting at Corvallis'', Mike Havel identifies Arminger's central flaw, and uses it in a heroic bid to end the War of the Eye with a minimum of bloodshed.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Dies the Fire,'' Mike is extremely concerned about the injuries or mutual death that almost always result from trying to knife-fight anyone who isn't completely incompetent. [[spoiler: Two books later, he challenges MasterSwordsman & BigBad Norman Arminger to single combat. Both of them die.]]
** [[spoiler: Epona]] meets her final fate in the [[spoiler: [[IncrediblyLamePun Horse Heaven Hills]]]], with her impending demise set up over several pages in ''Lord of Mountains''.
* FourStarBadass: President-General Lawrence Thurston puts together an army and a country largely through the strength of his will. Oh yeah, and if there are any other assassins in his guard detail, he dares them to ''take your best shot'' (said while unarmed and unarmored).
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Norman Arminger started as an undistinguished history professor and [=SCA=]dian, and became one of the most successful (and brutal) despots in the post-Change world.
* {{Gaydar}}: When two male Corvallan guards are made to look as if they were overcome by alcohol whilst making out, Aaron Rothman smells a set-up, as he is quite certain the guards in question are straight. When Mike Havel questions his certainty, Aaron answers archly, "''Radar'' may not work any more, but my ''gaydar'', I assure you, is fully functional."
* GenreShift: The series begins as an apocalyptic disaster thriller with brutally realistic consequences of the loss of much of the US' infrastructure. In short order it evolves into medieval structures. [[spoiler: The actual destination is the closest kin to a fantasy world one can do with AlienSpaceBats.]]
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Hallgerda of Greater Britain manipulates her mad husband and places her royal stepsons in harm's way in an effort to ensure her own children will inherit the throne. She eventually kills King Charles when he refuses to disinherit his older sons in favor of her children. Interestingly, the trope does ''not'' apply to [[MagnificentBastard Lady Regent Sandra]] of Portland. Ruthless as she can be, she is constrained by the need to avoid alienating her subjects thanks to an open-borders policy. She also sincerely loves her spouse and is devoted to her daughter.
* TheGoodChancellor: Father Ignatius is this to Rudi/Artos, although he is something of a BeleagueredBureaucrat due to the lack of qualified individuals to fill out the new kingdom's civil service. When Sandra Arminger offers the services of the Protectorate's administrative professionals, the good Father [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy refuses]], knowing that it's just an invitation for her to subvert Montival to her own ends before the kingdom is even fully established.
* GoryDiscretionShot: During the Dying Time, Oregon and Idaho deal with mass starvation (some of it quite deliberate), imposition of slavery by strong-arm rule, outbreaks of the Black Death, rampant RapePillageAndBurn including massacres of children, and an infestation of cannibal bands. After all that, no one ''believes'' - or recounts to the reader - the stories they are hearing from bicycle refugees from California and St.Louis.
** Whatever happened inside the Catholic Church in Bend [[spoiler: just before the CUT were forced to abandon the city]] was enough to make Father Ignatius and Eric Larsson order the building burned to the ground, although the rest of their party--and the readers--are spared a look inside.
* GranolaGirl: Signe, before the Change. She's a vegetarian and thinks the prospect of a world without guns is wonderful. Then she ''lives'' in that world....
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Where do we begin...
** Finnish and Icelandic are pretty commonly used and abused.
** Irish, too. It gets to the point where it starts feeling like the entire series is written in Irish sentences followed by their English translations.
** [[LordOfTheRings Elvish]] gets used a lot by the crazed Tolkien fangirl Astrid, who takes the story's suggestion that it is based on actual history a little too literally. It's subject to TranslationConvention, but Stirling still gets more mileage out of it than he needs.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] at least twice in ''The Scourge of God.'' Rudi says that Astrid's endless Elvish is insufferable, and Tiphaine d'Ath calls her a "pseudo-elf" later on.
* HandicappedBadass: Eilir, who doesn't let her deafness interfere with -- well, anything. She's a kickass fighter and wilderness scout, who thanks to her mother's early training is ''very'' good at stealthy approaches.
** Eric Larsson doesn't let the loss of a hand stop him from doing much (including riding into battle).
* HappilyAdopted: Chuck and Judy Barstow's children Sanjay, Aoife, and Oak, whom Chuck and Judy adopted from the group of children Chuck found abandoned on a school bus, just after the Change. Juniper speculates that before the Change "those three didn't really ''have'' parents, only people who paid the bills."
* HappilyMarried: Applies to many of the married couples in the series, notably including BigBad Norman Arminger and his wife Sandra.
* HasTwoMommies: All of Delia's children to some degree, but especially her second son Diomede, whom Tiphaine d'Ath adopts as her legal heir.
* HeelFaceTurn: Tiphaine d'Ath undergoes a gradual one as the later books move on, although she frequently reminds us that GoodIsNotNice.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Rudi Mackenzie and King Bjarni of Norrheim regard each other as this. They're allies against the CUT, but otherwise each is content to leave the other to his own realm. [[spoiler: This may become subverted later on, as Eric Larsson is interested in establishing a closer relationship involving trade and information exchange with Norrheim, possibly as a means of bolstering his position (and that of the Bearkillers) within Montival in the future.]]
** Although the PPA is an antagonist in the first part of the series, the citizens of Walla Walla regard them as heroes, as it was an expedition from Portland that rescued the city from convicts who had taken over after escaping the nearby state prison in the aftermath of the Change.
* HeroesWantRedHeads / RedHeadedHero: The Mackenzies, mother and son. Redheaded Juniper, a charismatic and courageous leader, attracts a couple of heroes. Later her redheaded son [[TheChosenOne Rudi]] is seen to be even more charismatic, and a warrior born. He draws not only the interest of the heroic Mathilda, but also the attention of a number of other females.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Mike Havel]]
** Only the first of many. The heroic body count has since increased to include [[spoiler:Odard Liu and Astrid Larsson]] in later volumes.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Astrid Larsson and Eilir Mackenzie.
** Arguably Edain and Rudi, or Little John Hordle and Alleyne.
* HonestAdvisor: [[TheDragon Conrad Renfrew]] and Sandra Arminger are the only advisors with the nerve (and the license) to tell Norman Arminger when he's wrong.
* TheHorde: The Bekwa tribes, descendants of the survivors in Quebec, have become a large, barely-united band of marauders who continually menace the outposts of civilization in northern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. [[spoiler: The only reason they show any unity at all is because the CUT has gained influence over them.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: And how. "This is the City that Works." The Bearkillers, proto-Clan Mackenzie and other towns encountered also turn away people they can't feed in the Dying Time.
** It is actually WordOfGod that the biggest reason Oregon is almost uniquely inhabitable is that the PPA directly and indirectly eliminated the disorganized surplus population. In other words, what Norman does is the ''better'' outcome...
* ImAHumanitarian: Right after the Change, groups of cannibals, called "Eaters", are one of the most common bands of survivors, particularly in larger cities. They take the place of the post-apocalyptic zombie horde in parts of the first book, but through a combination of disease and madness have largely removed themselves from events by the second book.
* ImpracticallyFancyOutfit: Sandra wears a full-length ermine cape to the first Meeting in Corvallis. Juniper notes that it would be too heavy to carry/wear for any length of time, but Sandra's carriage pulls up as close to the exit as possible so that she won't have to walk far.
** In ''The Sunrise Lands,'' Mathilda tells the Thurston daughters that she doesn't wear her formal gowns while traveling because she wouldn't be able to ride or fight well in them.
* IncrediblyLamePun: The scout the Cutters have tracking Rudi's band is, in fact [[spoiler: a ''Boy Scout'' -- or at least, a member of a settlement based on the Boy Scouts]]. Oh, it's justifiable; a member of such a group would be likely to have the right skill set. It is, however, still a groaner.
** Also a case of NotSoDifferent in that the two members of the band the scout encounters [[spoiler: are the two who are infamous for taking the ''LordOfTheRings'' as literal history and see themselves as revived Dunedain. ''They'' regard the scout, who almost certainly ''was'' a Boy Scout before or during the Change, as some deluded lunatic with a lot of badges. The fact that he was nearly their equal at fighting and tracking and only lost the fight because he was outnumbered seems to just barely register with them.]]
** In-universe, Delia uses a series of dreadful puns to get the attention of Tiphaine d'Ath.
* LadyOfWar: Signe Larsson and Tiphaine D'Ath
** Astrid Larsson as well -- perhaps even more so, given the emphasis she places on style.
* TheLancer: Sam Aylward, for one.
** His son, Edain to Rudi as well.
* LipstickLesbian: Delia, Tiphaine's lover.
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Several are seen. Played straight in that ''all'' myths and religious traditions are equally valid (and have real, demonstrable power) in the Emberverse. Subverted in that the surviving Native Americans use as much pre-Change technology as possible...down to a group of Sioux having a portable medical laboratory with their encampment and their chief (a pre-Change university graduate) being just as aware of the implications of the situation as any other successful leader in this setting.
* TheMagicComesBack: [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Hinted at in the first trilogy]], full blown in later works.
* MagicKnight: Father Ignatius. Rudi even more so.
* ManlyGay: Rigobert, Delia's [[TheBeard husband]] and father (via turkey baster) of her four children.
* [[MasterSwordsman Masters of the Sword]]: Rudi Mackenzie, Tiphaine d'Ath, Norman Arminger
* MeaningfulName: For some reason, [[KingArthur ''Artos'']] leaps to mind....
** There's also Kaur and Singh of Vogeler's Villians.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: In ''High King of Montival'', Rudi's party is exploring the long-abandoned CN Tower in Toronto when they discover the skeletons of a woman (apparently a suicide) and her cat. Though they live in a world in which ''billions'' died at the time of the Change, they are powerfully moved by the evidence of these particular deaths. Rudi is quite aware of the nature of their response, and of this trope.
* TheMole: [[spoiler: Kuttner]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Alex, Odard Liu's manservant who sells out Rudi's party to the CUT as part of Mary Liu's failed power grab.]]
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Professor Tom Turner of the Corvallis Economics Faculty will take the best deal for himself even if it means throwing his city under the wagon. He is also using refugees as sweatshop labor and engaging in war profiteering. This all [[LaserGuidedKarma bites him in the ass]] during negotiations to set up the Kingdom of Montival in ''Lord of Mountains'' and to decide whether[[spoiler: to continue to pursue the CUT into Montana after the enemy's field army was destroyed]]. When Turner asserts that Corvallis is a democracy and cannot accept a monarch, Sandra Arminger [[spoiler: produces a document signed by Turner stating his willingness to subjugate Corvallis to the PPA during the Protector's War, thus destroying Turner's credibility at the negotiating table generally and with the rest of the Corvallis delegation specifically]].
* NemeanSkinning: Michael Havel, Lord Bear of the Bearkillers, wears the head of the bear that earned him and the outfit their names on his helmet. Subvertes the trope by making Havel nearly get killed by the bear, and tanning is done by specialists off-page.
** Further subverted by Havel being totally against the idea in the first place (thinks it's too hokey), until he realizes it will serve the purpose of something for his people to rally behind.
* NoBikesInTheApocalypse: Averted. Bicycles become a popular mode of transportation after the Change.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: horribly averted, as most celebrities ''were'' harmed (and probably killed and eaten, too). Of the ones we actually hear about in the story, the British royal family has been put through the ringer with Queen Elizabeth II dying, Prince Charles taking the throne at the point of insanity, and Prince William being sent on a one-way trip in a leaky museum piece.
** The leader of the CUT immediately after the Change is heavily implied to be [[spoiler: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unabomber the Unabomber]]]] (or at least a ''very'' thinly-veiled {{Expy}} of him).
** We are told that Pope John Paul II elected to remain in the Vatican to confront an angry mob rather than be evacuated by the Swiss Guards with the College of Cardinals. He did not live long. His successor (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI as in RealLife) lives to the beginning of the second trilogy, which would make him about 95 years old at the time. BadassGrandpa indeed!
* NobodyOver50IsGay: Dr. Aaron Rothman begs to differ -- [[DeadpanSnarker and thinks you look quite fetchingly butch with that little scar on your chin.]]
* NonActionGuy: At over 60, he's not much use at hand-to-hand combat, but Ken Larsson is the husband of one ActionGirl (Pam), the father of two more (Signe and Astrid) ''plus'' a young BadAss (Eric), and the father-in-law of [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority Lord Bear]] himself. He's also the Bearkillers' premier engineer and one of Lord Bear's most trusted advisers.
* NoNewFashionsInTheFuture: Inverted in many places, as many societies (Clan Mackenzie, PPA, Norrheim, Indian tribes, ranches) went back to ''old'' fashions. Played straight with Corvallis, Boise, and the surviving urban centers of the Midwest.
* Greater Britain meanwhile is mishmash of Medieval, Victorian and Modern-ish attire.
* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: Less-equipped and less-principled groups in the wake of the Change survive by killing and eating stragglers. And once they've started, it's not likely the proper societies will welcome them with open arms. On occasion these "Eater" societies reform on their own and remain outcasts, but more likely than not, they end up slaughtered by the more civilized groups or eating one another to extinction.
* NotSoDifferent: Averted in ''The Scourge of God''. Rudi Mackenzie is describing Chuck Barstow's actions at the time of the Change, including survival-motivated fighting, deception, and theft (see BreakOutTheMuseumPiece, above). Odard Liu, thinking of his own brutal sire's actions at that time, is about to invoke this trope, with a side of [[IDidWhatIHadToDo Our Parents Only Did What They Had To Do]]. Rudi shuts him down by pointing out one more thing Chuck Barstow felt he "had to do": rescue and take in a group of stranded schoolchildren (including his son Oak, whom Odard knows personally), something that Eddie Liu would certainly never have considered.
** Many of the new nations that arise after the Change are inspired by [[ThemeParkVersion old movies and books]], and the residents of each one seem to think of all the others as acting upon some strange fantasy. Even nations like Boise, Corvallis, and Iowa, which have retained more of the pre-Change world's forms and systems than the others.
---> Renfrew: ''(to his much-younger aide)'' If you have to ask why it's funny to say the Mackenzies look weird, you're too young to ever understand.
* NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering: Corvallis's contentious Faculty Senate is sometimes shown this way. The Protectorate manipulates their politics in an effort to keep Corvallis from entering the War of the Eye. [[spoiler: Nice try.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: In his first encounter with Norman Arminger, Mike Havel takes advantage of the fact that Arminger thinks of him as a stupid jarhead.
* {{Patronymic}}: A common form of identifier in some cultures Rudi's band encounters in their trek across the continent, including the Southsiders (e.g., "Jake sunna Jake"), Canadian neo-savages the London Bunch (Dik Tomskid), and the Norrheimers (Bjarni Erickson). The Norrheimers seem to be the only ones who also use this naming convention for women, whose surnames end with "dottir" rather than the masculine "son" (Asgerd Karlsdottir).
* PetTheDog: Tiphaine d'Ath with regard to her page (and later squire) Lioncel--when appropriate, of course.
* PowersThatBe: [[spoiler:The Change turns out to have been caused by what's best described as the Universal Mind having an argument with itself and coming up with the least awful option. Mind you this least awful option resulted in the worldwide collapse of civilization and the deaths of billions.]]
* PresidentAction: President-General Lawrence Thurston of Boise (see FourStarBadass, above).
* QueerPeopleAreFunny: [[IncrediblyLamePun Played straight]] by Aaron Rothman, the closest any character comes in the series to being comedy relief (although he may be doing it deliberately, as noted elsewhere). Averted by Tiphaine and Delia, who are better developed as characters and whose relationship (and the implications it has for them socially and politically) is explored more seriously. Rigobert de Stafford and Estella Maldonado (as of ''Lord of Mountains'') haven't been developed as well as the series' other gay characters; most (but not all) of the time when they are shown it's in a purely professional context.
* TheQuest: A lot of characters, especially the aforementioned Tolkien fangirl comment on the auspiciousness of the fact that Rudi's journey will [[KingArthur take him across the land to find a mythical sword]] and that he will have [[LordOfTheRings nine members in his group.]]
* RainOfArrows: combat strategy of the Mackenzie archers.
* ReligionIsMagic
* ReligionOfEvil: The Church Universal and Triumphant edges on PathOfInspiration, but the fact that they're pretty openly out for world conquest and the way they keep followers in line by freaking them out with aural AlienGeometries plunks them in this category. Not to mention that they turn out to be a front for EldritchAbominations that want to reduce the universe to nothing.
* RootingForTheEmpire: InUniverse. The PPA base their soceity around ''[[TheLordOfTheRings Mordor and Sauron]]'', of all things.
** Boise makes the shift from trying to establish itself as a successor to the United States to replicating the Roman Empire outright after [[spoiler: President-General Thurston is assassinated.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Many. Norman Arminger, Mike Havel, and Astrid Larsson are war leaders; the multitalented Juniper Mackenzie is a bard, a high priestess, an expert weaver, and a pretty decent archer. Mathilda Arminger and Rudi Mackenzie, the heirs apparent, undertake the quest for the sword in the second trilogy, and fight in combat repeatedly.
** 'Mad' King Charles of Greater Britain, despite having been groomed to be a figurehead his entire life, proves invaluable in organizing the survivors on the Isle of Wight. His expertise in organic farming (Prince Charles in RealLife is an expert on the topic) in particular helps to ensure Greater Britain's survival. Unfortunately [[IDidWhatIHadToDo some of the decisions he had to make]] left him a broken man, easily manipulated by Hallgerda and her retinue.
* ScaryBlackMan: PlayedWith. Will Hutton; Lawrence, Martin, and Frederick Thurston; and the 'Moorish' (actually Senegalese) corsairs. They're all black and all very imposing individuals, but to survive and succeed in the Emberverse one ''has'' to be a pretty scary individual when it counts. Racism seems to have died in the Change, with race seldom if ever discussed by the main characters after the first trilogy (although it does figure prominently there, with Will being rescued by Mike Havel from white supremacists who were torturing him to death in the first volume). The Thurstons aren't even ''described'' as black until met in person in the second trilogy.
* SchizoTech: the survivors post-Change implement useable technology from all eras, from the Stone Age to the 19th and 20th centuries (among other things, knowledge of modern medicine and sanitation proves ''very'' helpful).
* SecretPolice: employed by several of the post-Change nations:
** The Iowa State Police has evolved into such an agency. [[spoiler: This is a rare case where the secret police are on the side of the good guys, as they're the ones who verify Rudi's claims about the CUT even as the cult is trying to subvert Iowa's leadership. Probably a minor case of NoCelebritiesWereHarmed, as making the ''actual'' Iowa State Police look evil when the rest of the state government survived more or less intact probably wasn't the author's goal.]]
** Boise has the Natpols (National Police; originally an FBI-equivalent but later on becomes a secret police organ after the elder Thurston's death).
** The Inquisition run by Pope Leo served this role for Norman Arminger. Arguably, Tiphaine d'Ath in her role as Grand Constable fulfills the trope, as she is frequently called upon by Sandra to make certain individuals 'disappear'. The PPA also maintains a secret prison facility (location generally unknown) for high-value prisoners (this is where Mary Liu ends up after her failed power play against Sandra Arminger).
** The CUT High Seekers fill the role for areas under the cult's control.
* ShoutOut: In ''A Meeting at Corvallis'', Arminger's Grand Constable, Conrad Renfrew, recalls a time five years ago (and five years post-Change) when PPA forces "were smoking a lunatic archer in green out of the ruins of Seattle." Guess what West Coast city [[TheDCU DC Comics]] bowman GreenArrow has been known to operate out of.
** In ''The Sunrise Lands'', Rudi and his party return from a tiger hunt singing an old song, "a bouncy hunting tune." Appropriately enough, it's [[RockyIII "Eye of the Tiger."]]
** Rudi and his fellow Changelings don't understand why older people laugh at the suggestion that superb fighter Tiphaine d'Ath (a lesbian in a homophobic society) has an "I won't tell, and I'll kill you if you ask" policy.
** Ritva and Mary Havel buy supplies for Rudi's journey at "A.E. Isherman's Fine Arms and Armor." ScienceFiction author A.E. Van Vogt authored a famous story called, "The Weapons Shop of Isher." Stirling's shop and Van Vogt's even have the same slogan: "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free."
** The original members of Juniper's coven debate whether letting newcomers choose their sept by dreaming is appropriate. Juniper jokes that perhaps instead the coven should [[HarryPotter enchant a hat]], place it on the head of each new candidate, and let the hat shout the name of the candidate's sept.
** The Protectorate's secret code book is a copy of "Bored of the Rings" by The Harvard Lampoon.
** When he, Astrid, Eilir and Alleyne spring a surprise attack, John Hordle calmly informs their target, "Nobody expects the Elvish [[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus Inquisition]]."
** While learning martial arts in ''The Scourge of God'', some of the heroes unknowingly quote a couple of lines from TheFrantics' audio-skit 'Ti Kwan Leep'.
** In ''Dies the Fire'', Juniper and several others of her group make a journey to discover the situation in the lands around them. On her return, she discovers that many in the group have adopted kilts and are halfway to becoming a full-fledged neo-Celtic clan. Her friend Dennis skips up to her with a cry of "'Tis Herself herself!" , and a sly [[Franchise/{{Highlander}} "There can be only one."]]
** At one point while the CUT is [[spoiler: attempting to assassinate the main characters in the Republic of Iowa ]] lines are almost directly lifted from the [[ConanTheBarbarian Conan]] story "The Hour of the Dragon" where Xaltotun convinces a man that his belt is a snake.
** ''ConanTheBarbarian'' gets another one in ''Tears of the Sun'' when a group of traveling performers is overheard delivering the opening narration ("Know, o prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities...")
** Several major characters have names taken directly from TheWhiteCompany. And the similarities [[{{Expy}} don't end with]] [[PublicDomainCharacter the names]]...
** Hence, Conan Doyle is consistently referred to as Donan Coyle to avoid the CelebrityParadox.
** And Donan Coyle's books have titles such as "The Free Companions" and "Sir Guilliame".
** Let's not forget the mere existance of the Dunedain rangers and the fact that they have a quasi religious reverence for Tolkien's work.
** ''The High King of Montival'' introduces several units of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are referred to colloquially as "the Force." When they join his troops, Rudi observes, gladly, "[[StarWars The Force is with us]]!" Being a Changeling, he has no idea why his older companions are snickering....
** In ''Tears of the Sun,'' Lady Sandra indulges in a bit of Yoda-speak, even though her younger companion has no idea what her odd phraseology signifies.
** The owner of Ford's Kyentse Cowboy Bar & Grill (''The Scourge of God'') resembles Creator/HarrisonFord. The eaterie is located in Wyoming, where Ford has a ranch, and it's rumored that the owner built the place with his own hands. Creator/HarrisonFord has worked as a professional carpenter. (Also, we get a fair amount of information on the character, for all that [[LawOfConservationOfDetail he appears in only one scene]].)
** Given that Harrison Ford would be well into his eighties by the time that scene takes place, his mere survival in this setting would qualify him for BadassGrandpa status far above and beyond the characters he's played.
** In ''The Sword of the Lady'' some of the Bjornings listen to an ancestral tale. It's the first paragraph from ''Literature/TheLongShips'' by Frans G Bengtsson (originally written in Swedish and arguable one of the best Viking yarns to be found). Guess the Bjornings took that to heart a bit more than Tolkien.
** The quote is actually from "The Broken Sword" by Poul Anderson, though "The Long Ships" is also excellent and they probably like that one, too.
** In ''The Protector's War'', one young Mackenzie is telling another a tale that ends with, "This is the most powerful war bow in the clan, and even I can't hold the draw forever. [[Film/DirtyHarry So tell me, punk, do you feel lucky?"]]"
** In ''The Scourge of God'', Juniper sees in her vision something very like the witch hunt in ''Literature/KingSolomonsMines'' where Umbopa (a NobleSavage and associate of the heroes) is singled out by the chief witchfinder, Gagool, for political reasons.
** In ''Tears of the Sun'', Lady Sandra notes the goateed Baron de Mosier's resemblance to [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries "Evil Spock from the Mirror Universe."]]
** Tiphaine and Delia's children are all named after characters in a book series that however remains unnamed so it's something of a stealth shoutout.
** Ingolf Vogeler and crew set sail for Nantucket from a cannibal-haunted ruined New England town named... [[Creator/HPLovecraft Innsmouth]].
** WordOfGod has it that Mary and Ritva were inspired by the old Zulu practice of using identical twins as scouts...so this is a ShoutOut to RealLife.
** The organizational structure of Corvallis--the entire city is run by the university's Faculty Senate--looks like a callback to {{Plato}}'s ''[[Literature/TheRepublic Republic]]''
** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur, right down to his conception by a powerful king (Uther/Havel) and queen (Igraine/Juniper)--although that encounter was a consensual one-night stand rather than magic-assisted rape.
* SingleMindedTwins: Ritva and Mary Havel begin very much like this, though they develop/display more distinct personalities in the course of the second trilogy.
* SmugSnake: Norman Arminger, Duke Iron Rod, Piotr Stavarov, Eddie Liu
* SocietyForCreativeAnachronism: Many of the founding members of the PPA were originally members of this.
* TheSouthpaw: Rudi Mackenzie, after his right arm is wounded to the point he can't use it as well as he used to.
* StormingTheCastle: Happens a few times, although both sides dread the thought of having to do so.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens: Suspected at first of being responsible for the Change. [[spoiler: It turns out that the responsible party is several levels beyond that...]]
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: The Sword of the Lady reveals all truths, brings the [[spoiler: influence of the good parts of the Mind]] into the world, and also can chop clean through anything from a gnarled tree trunk to an airborne hair.
* ThisIsReality: A lot of the early conversations between Mike and Astrid are variations on this theme.
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Tiphaine d'Ath and Delia de Stafford. Tiphaine is the [[ButchLesbian toughest woman]] -- arguably the toughest ''person'' -- in the Protectorate, dresses in male garb (usually a big no-no in that realm), wears her hair in a pageboy and would wear it shorter if she could, and doesn't like children. Her lover Delia is [[LipstickLesbian a complete creampuff]], an expert weaver and needlewoman who never dresses in anything less than the height of feminine fashion, wears her hair long and lush, and loves babies. Naturally, they're inseparable.
* TooDumbToLive: Jon Wooton in "A Murder in Eddsford". [[spoiler: He tried to build a nuclear powered steam engine ''without'' wearing protective material, thus dying of radiation poisoning.]]
* UnholyMatrimony: Probably best exampled by a quote:
--> Signe Larsson-Havel: My husband was a good man.
--> Sandra Arminger: Mine was a monster. But don't think for a second that I loved mine any less than you loved yours.
* VillainousValour: Whether outnumbered and pursued by the Mackenzies, surrounded by Astrid and friends, or betrayed by a member of her own band, DarkActionGirl Tiphaine d'Ath earns her victories with remarkable skill, ingenuity, and courage. She's not a particularly likable person, and her objectives are often other than admirable, but her wit and her grit are outstanding.
* TheVirus: And if you think the CUT is chilling on general principle, you should see what happens when its influence is suddenly removed...
* WarriorMonk: The local monastery becomes an order of these after the change. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] frequently, in that they draw comparisons with the Shaolin and other martial orders and lament that they cannot spend more time simply studying and praying.
** Don't forget the Buddhist Monks in the Valley of the Sun where the party winters to [[spoiler: heal Rudi's shoulder after he sustained a nasty evil arrow wound.]] The monks also train the party so as they all TakeALevelInBadass.
* WarriorPrince: Rudi Mackenzie. Also the brothers Thurston, though their father might dispute that description! ''Also'' Prince William of Greater Britain, whom Nigel encounters during a battle early in the series.
* WeddingsForEveryone: The first trilogy ends with a massive handfasting ceremony whose participants include a number of the central characters.
* WomanInBlack: Tiphaine d'Ath.
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen: the Change has forced a return to the Age of Sail, seen as early as the first trilogy (where we meet Prince William in command of the ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutty_Sark Cutty Sark]]''--impressed into the Royal Navy despite being a decrepit museum piece--on what appears to be a suicide mission arranged by Hallgerda).
* TheWorldIsNotReady: NOTE: The following spoiler explains the origin behind The Change. '''Do not read further if you want this to remain a mystery until the end of the sixth book.'''[[spoiler: The Change was caused by the PowersThatBe (see above) because humanity was showing more and more irresponsibility with its current technology levels. The god(s) decided the best course of action was a "do-over" in order for humanity to mature more as a species before inheriting their tech. This is why we were bombed back into medieval times, rather than having history wiped clean. The idea was to learn from the first time through, so we were better prepared for the next time.]]
** [[spoiler: [[InferredHolocaust It's kind of a shame that the next time is going to have to wait until the Earth's supplies of readily accessible metals, coal, oil and other traditionally non-renewable resources refresh themselves, really.]]]]
** [[spoiler: the theory behind solar power is still on the books, which the surviving universities are maintaining. Likewise wind power (they're already using windmills) and other renewable sources. Alcohol is available as an internal combustion fuel, and there's still more than enough coal left to jumpstart an industrial revolution once the normal laws of nature apply again. Even nuclear power is still an option--the point is that humanity will have learned to take nature more seriously the next time around (which will take place once the PowersThatBe decide humanity has learned its lesson sufficiently.) It won't be easy, but neither was gearing down to medieval technology. In both cases, though, the hardest work has already been done.]]
* WriterOnBoard / AuthorFilibuster : To varying degrees, though relatively low. That's S. M. Stirling for ya...
* LesYay: In-universe. For a time, [[HeterosexualLifePartners close friends]] Astrid and Eilir are rumored to be lovers. They find the rumor "inexpressibly funny."
** Eddie Liu asks "Have you found the Ring of Power in her Crack of Doom yet?"
* YouFailPhysicsForever - It's an [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief acceptable]] breach, given that it's a fantasy work, but if the laws of physics were broken the way this novel broke them, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Universe would probably end up breaking]] and become less an apocalyptic wasteland, and more an EldritchLocation. However, there is a mention in the original trilogy that the Change appears to be limited to Earth and its immediate surroundings - the rest of the cosmos are unaffected.
** If you like that idea, try Steven R. Boyett's "Ariel" series, Stirling's inspiration for the Change.
** [[spoiler: The laws of the universe, or even Earth as a whole, haven't changed. The Mind is powerful and precise enough to constantly monitor the entire world, watch for people trying to use technology, and selectively suppress things just at the places and times where it's needed.]]
----

to:

The Year: 1998.\\
The Date: March 17.\\
The Time: 6:15 p.m. PST.

An enormous electrical storm of unknown properties encompasses the island of Nantucket and transports it back to the bronze age. The resultant time shock causes everyone on Earth to suffer an intense migraine at the exact same moment. The far more important consequence is that any device run off of electricity, gunpowder, explosives, internal combustion or steam power ceases to function. Permanently. In a single instant, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt humanity has been, metaphorically, bombed back to the Stone Age.]]

Thus begins ''Dies the Fire'', the first "Novel of the Change" by Creator/SMStirling. The Novels of the Change, aka the Emberverse, concern what happens to the modern world after the island of Nantucket is hurled back through time in IslandInTheSeaOfTime, the other side of the Emberverse coin.

The Emberverse currently consists of two completed trilogies, the first three volumes of a tetrology, and three short stories ("Something for Yew", "Ancient Ways," and "A Murder In Eddsford"). An additional trilogy is planned, taking place a generation after the end of the tetrology.

The first trilogy consists of:
* ''Dies the Fire'' (2004) - After the Nantucket Event, Michael Havel and the Larsson family make their way from Montana to the Larsson estate in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, picking up survivors on the way, and eventually forming the mercenary outfit "The Bearkillers". Meanwhile, in Corvallis, the Oregon State University "faculty senate" rallies the city survivors to their banner, while Juniper Mackenzie and her neo-pagan "Georgian Wiccan" coven form the "Clan Mackenzie" in the hills south of Lebanon, Oregon. Finally, history professor Norman Arminger rallies the members of his local branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism and the criminal element of Portland to his "Portland Protective Association", based on a feudalistic monarchy with some minor Mordorian influences. All this is accomplished amid the backdrop of billions dying as most of the world's mass food production capabilities and rapid transport fail, leaving everyone to fend for himself.
* ''The Protector's War'' (2005) - With the various factions of the Willamette Valley relatively settled, Lord Protector Arminger sets his sights on conquering the rest of the valley, something the Bearkillers, Mackenzies and Corvallans want no part of. This marks the start of the Protector's War
* ''The Meeting at Corvallis'' (2006) - The Protector's War ends, and peace finally comes to the Willamette Valley...for a time.

The second trilogy takes place 22 years after the Change, after a 12-year TimeSkip:
* ''The Sunrise Lands'' (2007) - Ingolf Vogeler, a traveler from Readstown, Wisconsin, arrives at Dun Juniper, the capital of the Clan Mackenzie, searching for a man known as "The Son of the Bear Who Rules," so the Wisconsinite can take him to obtain "The Sword of the Lady," after a vision he received while visiting the island of Nantucket. He is pursued by assassins from the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), a religious cult who view the Change as punishment from God. Rudi Mackenzie, son of Juniper Mackenzie and Mike Havel, long ago prophesied as "The Lady's Sword" at his naming ceremony, leads Ingolf, Mathilda Arminger (his childhood friend and heiress to the PPA throne), her vassal Odard Liu, Rudi's sisters Mary and Ritva (both Dunedain Rangers), and Father Ignatius (a warrior-monk of the Benedictine order of Mount Angel). Together they embark on a cross-country quest to recover "The Sword of the Lady," which waits for Rudi back at Nantucket.
* ''The Scourge of God'' (2008) - The CUT gains in power, land and influence, apparently aided by otherworldly forces, threatening the entirety of the Willamette Valley and all of what used to be the United States. Meanwhile, Rudi and company make their way across the Midwest, and arrive at the Provisional Republic Of Iowa.
* ''The Sword of the Lady'' (2009) - Rudi and his companions finally arrive at Nantucket, and obtain the titular sword, as the war between the CUT and the Willamette forces takes a turn for the worse.

A new tetrology is in progress, which promises to wrap up the war with the CUT, and track Rudi and co.'s journey back to the Willamette to complete their quest:

* ''The High King of Montival'' (2010) - Now in possession of the Sword, Rudi - Artos - must journey back to the western lands he'd left behind, and muster from them an army to rescue his homeland. Both he and his people back home work to consolidate the newborn kingdom, should they prevail against the Cutters.
* ''The Tears of the Sun'' (2011) - The kingdom of Montival takes firmer shape under Artos's leadership, the disparate groups within drawing together to meet the CUT threat. Allies from the eastern lands, as well as from the former Canada, provide vital support. Part of the war effort includes sowing dissension in the enemy ranks, with the goal of taking the CUT's ally [[spoiler: Boise]] out of the war.
* ''Lord of Mountains'' (September 2012) - [[spoiler: The combined armies of Montival and its allies, led by Rudi with the Sword, rout the CUT invasion. Boise is freed of CUT influence when Rudi kills Martin Thurston, although the overall political situation there is still one of unrest. After the climactic battle in the Horse Heaven Hills, the leaders of Montival decide on a further course of action and formally unify under Rudi's leadership.]]
* ''The Given Sacrifice'' (September 2013)
----
!!This series provides examples of :

* ActionGirl: Lessee... Astrid Larsson, Eilir Mackenzie, Ritva and Mary Havel, Virginia Kane, Mathilda Arminger, Asgerd Karlsdottir. Also any girl on Mikes "A-list" by virtue of well...making onto the A-list.
* AffablyEvil: Both Norman and Sandra Arminger do a nice line in this.
* AfterTheEnd: The setting of the series, once the change occurred.
* AfterlifeAntechamber: [[spoiler: Mathilda has a vision of her father, Norman Arminger, in Purgatory--having learned his lesson but still serving his pennance. The Blessed Virgin Mary even drops off lunch for him!]]
* AlienSpaceBats: Most of the characters assume that these caused the Change, [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] it to the point of referring to the trope by name.
* AllGaysArePromiscuous: Don't tell Tiphaine d'Ath that, unless for some reason you feel the urge to die a quick and bloody death. However, Estella Maldonado and Aaron Rothman each labor gallantly to uphold this trope. As does Rigobert, who would be just as provoked, and as dangerous, as Tiphaine if you chose to make an issue of it.
* AllHailTheGreatGodMickey: The Rangers have a quasi-religious reverence for the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, considering them actual histories and swearing by the Valar. How seriously they take this varies from individual to individual.
* AllMythsAreTrue: Seen to be the case with the Mackenzies' Wiccan/Celt faith in the first trilogy, and with other religions, including the familiar, the ancient, and the new, in the second. Prophecies are also presented as true and reliable.
* AlternateHistory: On 3/18/98, no one in the Emberverse was worrying about Y2K or the performance of their tech stocks...
* AngelUnaware: While none have actually shown up, the Mackenzies (who are Wiccans) they treat every visitor they have as if they are these.
* AnnoyingArrows: Averted in ''Dies the Fire''. With guns no longer working and no one wearing serious armor yet, people swiftly learn to fear someone carrying any kind of bow or crossbow.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Mike Havel]] in ''A Meeting in Corvallis''.
** [[spoiler: Chuck Barstow]] in the ''The Scourge of God''.
** [[spoiler: Odard Liu]] in ''The Sword of the Lady''
** [[spoiler: Astrid Larsson Loring]] in ''Tears of the Sun''.
** [[spoiler: Epona]] in ''Lord of Mountains''.
* TheApocalypseBringsOutTheBestInPeople: It also brings out the worst, more often than not.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 2, as most of the world's existing civilizations are destroyed during "the dying times," to be replaced by entirely different ones.
* TheArcher: As an expert shot and original trainer of the Mackenzie archers, ex-[=SAS=]er Sam is deservedly known as "Aylward ''the'' Archer." As he ages, his son Edain proves a worthy heir to the title.
* ArmorIsUseless: Averted ''hard'' as the world re-learns why people used to wear chain mail.
* ArtificialLimbs: Will Hutton, Aaron Rothman, and Eric Larsson all use prosthetics thanks to injuries incurred in combat or by torture.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: Norman Arminger, Mike Havel, and Abbot Dmwoski, for starters -- given the world, for good reason. Averted with Juniper Mackenzie, who is a charismatic leader but only a fair combatant, and even more so with Sandra Arminger, who is small in stature and repeatedly described as lacking experience with weaponry.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: For Rudi and Mathilda, in ''Lord of Mountains''.
* BadassAdorable: Ten-year-old Rudi Mackenzie is beautiful and charming. And he deals out almost as much damage to his would-be kidnappers as do his two adult bodyguards.
* BadassCreed: Clan [=MacKenzie=]'s war chant:
-->We are the point!\\
We are the edge!\\
We are the wolves that Hecate fed!\\
We are the bow!\\
We are the shaft!\\
We are the bolts that Hecate cast!
* BadassDamsel: Kidnap Mathilda (or try to), and you have an excellent chance of finding yourself facing the sharp pointy end of her sword.
** Also Signe does a good job of keeping her potential rapist pined while the rescues being made in the first book.
* BadassGay: Tiphaine d'Ath, Rigobert de Stafford.
* BadassLongRobe / BadassPreacher: Abbot-Bishop Dmwoski of Mount Angel, who leads his WarriorMonk troops both spiritually and in battle. Also Father Ignatius, though he generally does not wear his robe into combat.
* BadassPrincess: Mathilda is among the most effective warriors of her kingdom, and plays important roles in some key battles.
* BattleCouple: Mike and Signe. Rudi and Mathilda. Aoife and Liath.
* BattleCry: Many, including the PPA's "Haro Portland!" and "Holy Mary for Portland!", the Bearkillers' "Hakkaa paalle!" (based on the real-life battle cry "Hakkaa päälle!" of troops serving under 17th-century Swedish ruler Gustav II Adolf), Mount Angel's "Jesu-Maria!", Rudi Mackenzie's "Morrigu!", Odard Liu's "Face Gervais, face death!", Virginia Kane's "Sweetwater forever!", and the United States of Boise's "U-S-A! U-S-A!" And of course the Church Universal and Triumphant's uncanny scream of "CUT! CUT! CUT!"
* TheBeard: In the homophobic PPA, Lady Delia de Stafford (lover of Lady Tiphaine d'Ath) and her gay husband Rigobert play this role for each other. They even refer to one other as "my beard" in ''Tears of the Sun''.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Right after the Change, Mike Havel discovers that his gun is not working. Signe says, wistfully, wouldn't it be wonderful if ''all'' guns had stopped working? Well, about that, Signe....
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: Having been chosen by ThePowersThatBe, Rudi has very little choice but to lead the fight against the CUT, and unify a group of diverse peoples.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Ian Kovalevsky is one of the nicest people in the series (when he's not in a fight, that is).
* BigBad:
** Norman Arminger in the original trilogy.
** The Prophet (head of the CUT) in the later books.
* BigBadWannabe: several of the petty thugs and warlords Mike Havel disposes of at the beginning of the series qualify, including the white supremacist survivalists (the first people to attack his party) and Iron Rod (who was quite effective terrorizing a convent--against the Bearkillers, not so much).
** Mary Liu, who tries to outwit the Lady Regent. Uh, yeah, good ''luck'' with that....
* BigGuyLittleGuy: Mack and his friend and boss Eddie Liu. Arguably applies to John Hordle and Alleyne Loring as well, though Alleyne is not small compared to anyone but John (or Mack).
* BiTheWay: Before taking up with her girlfriend Liath, Aoife Barstow was in love with a boy. Estella Maldonado, occasional lover of Delia the miller's daughter (before Delia became Tiphaine d'Ath's lover), admits to having a girl in "half a dozen or so" villages, and "boys in one or two."
* [[BlackVikings Black Viking]]: arguably, Frederick Thurston becomes one when he starts worshipping Odin.
* BloodBrothers: Eilir and Astrid. Proving that the trope isn't exclusive with romance, Rudi and Mathilda also get this.
* BobHaircut: Tiphaine d'Ath wears her hair this way. She'd prefer it shorter, but in the PPA it's barely acceptable at the length it is. Since said haircut is also known as a ''pageboy'', it's not surprising that this style is also worn by her pages.
* BoisterousBruiser: John Hordle fits it to a T.
* BrainsAndBrawn: Eddie Liu (brains) and his friend/[[TheDragon dragon]] Mack (brawn).
* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: In the first book, Juniper's friend Chuck Barstow gets the idea to raid the Eugene history museum's Living History exhibit and steal a wagon and horses during the chaos. Juniper's other friend Dennis' brother is an amateur blacksmith (who lives on Nantucket and gets flung back in time along with it), and during the escape from Corvallis, Dennis arms Juniper and himself with swords and axes his brother made for him.
** In areas where they have survived, the Amish are now highly-valued technical experts.
* TheBritishEmpire: Not only did the Royal Family, SAS and other remnants of British society manage to survive the initial chaos. they managed to eventually rebuild "Greater Britain" as a hybrid Medieval-Victorian-Postmodern state. Though not before "Mad King Charlie" tried to turn it into a Renaissance Fair.
** It's also mentioned that they're back to setting up colonies such as Prince Edward Island as well as building outposts across former Western Europe.
* BrownNote: '''''I...see...you'''''
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Astrid believes that the ''LordOfTheRings'' stories are actual histories. But she's a kick-ass fighter and wilderness scout and also has both the charisma and organizational ability to turn her delusion into an actual organization and quasi-religion.
** Norman Arminger is a former SCA dork, ''uses Sauron's Mordor banner as his flag,'' and is probably more than a bit crazy himself. With how he is numerically the most effective leader immediately post-Change and willing & able to kill almost anyone hand-to-hand, no one under him really has much to say about it...
** In-universe, Lawrence Thurston is regarded as one for his insistence upon restoring the United States (an idea seen as completely impractical by just about every other leader on the continent). However, he does manage to preserve at least the state of Idaho as a coherent political entity (in part by keeping the pre-Change state legislature intact), build a post-Change army (along the lines of the Roman legions) from the remnants of the US military in the area, and overall is one of the more effective and humane leaders in the series. [[spoiler: Of course [[DoomedMoralVictor he had to die]]...]]
* ButchLesbian: Tiphaine D'Ath
* CampGay: Aaron Rothman. Mike Havel suspects that Aaron is deliberately camp in reaction to the puritanical attitudes of many post-Change societies.
* CelibateHero: Father Ignatius.
* TheChessmaster: Sandra Arminger. Oh dear Lord, Sandra Arminger. Signe Havel also shows some aptitude for this. [[BigBadWannabe Mary Liu attempts it, but isn't quite smart enough]], especially not for going against Sandra.
* TheChosenOne: Rudi Mackenzie. Duh.
* ChurchMilitant: an apt description of the Mormon church in New Deseret. Given they have the CUT for neighbors, it's understandable.
* ClockPunk: Especially in the third trilogy. Bicycle-powered trains anyone?
* ColdBloodedTorture: Norman Arminger is seen practicing this. [[IncrediblyLamePun (Though he doesn't need much practice, as he appears to have a considerable natural talent.)]]
* ColonelBadAss: Colonel Sir Nigel Loring, sometime of the Blues and Royals. He helps to save the Queen and the Royal Family, trains troops in the new fighting methods, protects the families of his soldiers, escapes royal custody, fights heroically in a battle at sea (where he's instrumental in saving the Crown Prince), and outwits the Lord Protector -- all before he links up with the main plotline!
* CorruptChurch: The Roman Catholic Church in Portland, in the days of Lord Protector Norman Arminger, has its own "pope," burns heretics and dissenters, and supports the PPA's brutal tyranny. Its opposition includes Mount Angel and its WarriorMonk order, who believe the Catholic Church should uphold what Abbot Dmwoski calls "the ''best'' of our long tradition."
** Note that Arminger so very much wanted his own tame Pope to go along with his Norman-England fetish. Thus Pope Leo was given his own inquisition and was mainly in existence to increase the BigBad's powerbase.
** The Church Universal and Triumphant evolves from a fringe (but relatively harmless) New Age religious sect into an all-conquering ReligionOfEvil with nothing but enmity toward its neighbors.
* CountryMatters:- the Church United aNd Triumphant. GettingCrapPastTheRadar? Or simply descriptive of the CU(N)T mentality?
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Norman Arminger. He's a professor of the feudal early Middle Ages. This suddenly becomes a quite relevant skill when everyone is living it; when Mike asks him how he figured out and built up the PPA so rapidly, he almost gleefully responds that "I was a man who realized what the Change meant." It's heavily implied that his over-the-top DarkLord behavior in Dies the Fire is solely in furtherance of this, particularly as it comes to impressing and subordinating street gang leaders who are a lot more dangerous than he actually is.
** He's so genre-savvy that he includes the Evil Overlord list in the manuals he makes for each of his initial followers. Because he's that badass.
** Briefly turns into WrongGenreSavvy at the end of the first book when the Bearkillers and friends hammer Norman's troops with a mix of technologies - horse archery, a trebuchet and [[spoiler: observation balloons and hang-gliders]] - that troops & fortifications modeled on the 11th century have no answer for.
* DarkActionGirl: Tiphaine d'Ath and Katrina Georges.
* DaysOfFuturePast: Several societies fulfill this trope although it also has a foot in FantasyCounterpartCulture as [[spoiler: supernatural elements creep in during the second trilogy.]] The Clan Mackenzie is based on a New Age interpretation (much against the liking of its founder) of a Celtic clan, while the Portland Protective Association was deliberately created by an SCA member as a copy of a medieval feudal society with trappings of Mordor. The oddest example are the Dunedain Rangers, founded by a mildly insane Tolkien fangirl who has a quasi-religious reverence for his books. There are also several "Indian" tribes many of whose members have, at best, only nominal amounts of First Nations ancestry and Norrheim and Kalksthorpe, Viking-style nations founded by Asatru. Additionally, the remnants of the American military in Idaho have formed into a hybrid Roman Legion. Meanwhile, over in England, "Mad King Charlie" tries to turn what remains of his nation into something of a vast Rennaisance Faire, although his subjects draw the line at Morris dancing.
** in A MEETING AT CORVALLIS, a graffiti in the city of that name reads: "Help! I've fallen into the [=RenFaire=] and I can't get out!"
** Corvallis itself seems to be run by the 'council of wise men' Plato recommended. Although Corvallis has retained much of the pre-Change world's customs, it's channelling Classical Greece as much as the other nations are looking toward their ancient inspirations.
** Averted, at least at first, by Lawrence Thurston's efforts in Boise--he adopted Roman military organization out of practicality, not out of any great desire to emulate the ancient past; his main focus to the end was to restore the pre-Change United States. His son Martin turned the Romanisms UpToEleven [[spoiler: when he sold out to the CUT.]]
-->Frederick Thurston (to an officer defecting from Martin): My father adopted these things because they were ''useful'', not because he had some man-crush on Julius Caesar!
* DeadGuyJunior: Several. Rudi is named for Juniper's [[spoiler: first]] husband, who died on the day of the Change. Nigel's late-in-life daughter Maude is named for his [[spoiler: first]] wife. Ritva and Mary Havel are named for their paternal and maternal grandmothers, respectively.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: [[spoiler: Martin Thurston, after he is slain with the Sword of the Lady and the influence of the Power behind the CUT is lifted.]]
* DemocracyIsBad: The single democracy amongst the surviving Willamette communities, Corvallis, is easily manipulated by Portland during the Protector's War, and it's notably inefficient at the best of times. Averted (so far as we know) by the Dominion of Drumheller, seen in the second trilogy. It's worth mentioning that this is an {{Aesop}} completely opposite to that expressed in the related series ''IslandInTheSeaOfTime''.
** the Mackenzies are also technically a democracy. The chief is chosen by the great assembly, albeit they've only chosen one person so far. They also choose the tannist, the successor, and vote on major issues. Each dun has its own assembly to deal with local matters.
* {{Determinator}}: She is Tiphaine d'Ath, and you ''are in her way''. (And delightfully, in ''Lord of Mountains'' she even ''says'' so!)
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Rudi (and, on at least one occasion, Ignatius) versus any given High Seeker. [[spoiler:Especially after Rudi retrieves the Sword.]]
* DisasterDemocracy: Though other types of government are more common in the post-Change world, Corvallis and at least one of the Dominions (in what was formerly known as Canada) form their governments along these lines.
** Iowa managed to maintain not only democracy but ''its pre-Change system of government'' up until the third trilogy, although there are very big signs that the government is becoming functionally corrupt. And Mike Havel's original plan for the Bearkillers was to form a democracy, but this was subverted by Signe after his death.
* DistressedDamsel: Signe, early in the first book. It's this experience which prompts her to TakeALevelInBadass.
** Mathilda is also taken hostage at least three times during the series. Justified in that as the Protector's daughter she has high political value to her potential captors. She also becomes quite capable of rescuing herself when necessary as she gets older.
* DistressedDude: Ingolf gets captured with alarming frequency.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: "Son of the Bear Who Rules"... "Sword of the Lady"... [[KingArthur Where have we heard those before...]]
* TheDragon: For Norman Arminger, Conrad Renfrew; for his wife Sandra, Tiphaine D'Ath.
* DungAges: massively and deliberately averted. Although the overall tech level of the Emberverse is pre-industrial if not completely medieval, modern medicine and sanitation (and the relationship between sanitation and public health) are still well-known and widely practiced.
* EldritchAbomination: whoever or whatever is controlling Sethaz and the rest of the CUT High Seekers definitely qualifies.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Boy, is it!
** [[{{Lampshading}} Lampshaded]] in ''A Meeting at Corvallis'', where some young fighters actually sing the song of the same name.
* EnemyMine: Rudi invokes this when he decides to warn President-General Thurston of the Cutter ambush, and again when urging Thurston to ally with Deseret against the Cutters. (Thurston had previously refused to do so on the grounds that he was opposed to theocracies.)
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Played straight when the evil is of purely human origin: Norman and Sandra Arminger are HappilyMarried and love their daughter, Tiphaine d'Ath loves Delia and fights to protect her when she is threatened; Martin Thurston [[spoiler: initially]] is seen to love his wife and son. Averted with those who are possessed by the evil force backing the CUT [[spoiler: notably, post-possession Mary Liu and Martin Thurston]].
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Tiphaine d'Ath is by all accounts a decent suzerain to those who swear fealty to her; hates the CUT as badly as anyone else; and ''will not tolerate'' the abuse and exploitation of refugees by other nobles in the PPA during the war against the CUT.
** Several characters observe that, as bad as they are, the Cutters are ''still'' an improvement over Eaters.
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: Mary and Ritva Havel have each had to bounce many a LipstickLesbian from their respective beds. [[spoiler: At least once Ingolf is looking on laughing.]]
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: If he is to be believed, Rigobert was apparently such a hot guy in his high school days that even ''straight'' guys were willing to sleep with him.
* EvilParentsWantGoodKids: Though admittedly, even shamelessly, evil herself, Sandra Arminger gives Mathilda a religious and moral upbringing, and says the young woman is one of the few good things she has ever done.
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: This is the major point of contention between the factions of [[spoiler: the Universal Mind]].
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Norman Arminger's Castle Todenangst is deliberately designed to be ominous, imposing, and intimidating.
** And yet it has a ''food court'' and the elevator (powered by a serf in the basement) plays Muzak.
* ExpectingSomeoneTaller: An average-sized man with a giant reputation, Sam Aylward gets this reaction a lot.
* FeudalOverlord: Norman Arminger, to the PPA. Very, very deliberately.
* FlatEarthAtheist: Ultimately averted. Though Sandra Arminger and Tiphaine d'Ath are presented as atheists for much of the series, both eventually realize that it's an insupportable position in a world where there is objective evidence for the existence, and influence, of deities. In ''Tears of the Sun'', Sandra actually rejects this trope ''by name''.
* FlawExploitation: In ''A Meeting at Corvallis'', Mike Havel identifies Arminger's central flaw, and uses it in a heroic bid to end the War of the Eye with a minimum of bloodshed.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Dies the Fire,'' Mike is extremely concerned about the injuries or mutual death that almost always result from trying to knife-fight anyone who isn't completely incompetent. [[spoiler: Two books later, he challenges MasterSwordsman & BigBad Norman Arminger to single combat. Both of them die.]]
** [[spoiler: Epona]] meets her final fate in the [[spoiler: [[IncrediblyLamePun Horse Heaven Hills]]]], with her impending demise set up over several pages in ''Lord of Mountains''.
* FourStarBadass: President-General Lawrence Thurston puts together an army and a country largely through the strength of his will. Oh yeah, and if there are any other assassins in his guard detail, he dares them to ''take your best shot'' (said while unarmed and unarmored).
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Norman Arminger started as an undistinguished history professor and [=SCA=]dian, and became one of the most successful (and brutal) despots in the post-Change world.
* {{Gaydar}}: When two male Corvallan guards are made to look as if they were overcome by alcohol whilst making out, Aaron Rothman smells a set-up, as he is quite certain the guards in question are straight. When Mike Havel questions his certainty, Aaron answers archly, "''Radar'' may not work any more, but my ''gaydar'', I assure you, is fully functional."
* GenreShift: The series begins as an apocalyptic disaster thriller with brutally realistic consequences of the loss of much of the US' infrastructure. In short order it evolves into medieval structures. [[spoiler: The actual destination is the closest kin to a fantasy world one can do with AlienSpaceBats.]]
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Hallgerda of Greater Britain manipulates her mad husband and places her royal stepsons in harm's way in an effort to ensure her own children will inherit the throne. She eventually kills King Charles when he refuses to disinherit his older sons in favor of her children. Interestingly, the trope does ''not'' apply to [[MagnificentBastard Lady Regent Sandra]] of Portland. Ruthless as she can be, she is constrained by the need to avoid alienating her subjects thanks to an open-borders policy. She also sincerely loves her spouse and is devoted to her daughter.
* TheGoodChancellor: Father Ignatius is this to Rudi/Artos, although he is something of a BeleagueredBureaucrat due to the lack of qualified individuals to fill out the new kingdom's civil service. When Sandra Arminger offers the services of the Protectorate's administrative professionals, the good Father [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy refuses]], knowing that it's just an invitation for her to subvert Montival to her own ends before the kingdom is even fully established.
* GoryDiscretionShot: During the Dying Time, Oregon and Idaho deal with mass starvation (some of it quite deliberate), imposition of slavery by strong-arm rule, outbreaks of the Black Death, rampant RapePillageAndBurn including massacres of children, and an infestation of cannibal bands. After all that, no one ''believes'' - or recounts to the reader - the stories they are hearing from bicycle refugees from California and St.Louis.
** Whatever happened inside the Catholic Church in Bend [[spoiler: just before the CUT were forced to abandon the city]] was enough to make Father Ignatius and Eric Larsson order the building burned to the ground, although the rest of their party--and the readers--are spared a look inside.
* GranolaGirl: Signe, before the Change. She's a vegetarian and thinks the prospect of a world without guns is wonderful. Then she ''lives'' in that world....
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Where do we begin...
** Finnish and Icelandic are pretty commonly used and abused.
** Irish, too. It gets to the point where it starts feeling like the entire series is written in Irish sentences followed by their English translations.
** [[LordOfTheRings Elvish]] gets used a lot by the crazed Tolkien fangirl Astrid, who takes the story's suggestion that it is based on actual history a little too literally. It's subject to TranslationConvention, but Stirling still gets more mileage out of it than he needs.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] at least twice in ''The Scourge of God.'' Rudi says that Astrid's endless Elvish is insufferable, and Tiphaine d'Ath calls her a "pseudo-elf" later on.
* HandicappedBadass: Eilir, who doesn't let her deafness interfere with -- well, anything. She's a kickass fighter and wilderness scout, who thanks to her mother's early training is ''very'' good at stealthy approaches.
** Eric Larsson doesn't let the loss of a hand stop him from doing much (including riding into battle).
* HappilyAdopted: Chuck and Judy Barstow's children Sanjay, Aoife, and Oak, whom Chuck and Judy adopted from the group of children Chuck found abandoned on a school bus, just after the Change. Juniper speculates that before the Change "those three didn't really ''have'' parents, only people who paid the bills."
* HappilyMarried: Applies to many of the married couples in the series, notably including BigBad Norman Arminger and his wife Sandra.
* HasTwoMommies: All of Delia's children to some degree, but especially her second son Diomede, whom Tiphaine d'Ath adopts as her legal heir.
* HeelFaceTurn: Tiphaine d'Ath undergoes a gradual one as the later books move on, although she frequently reminds us that GoodIsNotNice.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Rudi Mackenzie and King Bjarni of Norrheim regard each other as this. They're allies against the CUT, but otherwise each is content to leave the other to his own realm. [[spoiler: This may become subverted later on, as Eric Larsson is interested in establishing a closer relationship involving trade and information exchange with Norrheim, possibly as a means of bolstering his position (and that of the Bearkillers) within Montival in the future.]]
** Although the PPA is an antagonist in the first part of the series, the citizens of Walla Walla regard them as heroes, as it was an expedition from Portland that rescued the city from convicts who had taken over after escaping the nearby state prison in the aftermath of the Change.
* HeroesWantRedHeads / RedHeadedHero: The Mackenzies, mother and son. Redheaded Juniper, a charismatic and courageous leader, attracts a couple of heroes. Later her redheaded son [[TheChosenOne Rudi]] is seen to be even more charismatic, and a warrior born. He draws not only the interest of the heroic Mathilda, but also the attention of a number of other females.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Mike Havel]]
** Only the first of many. The heroic body count has since increased to include [[spoiler:Odard Liu and Astrid Larsson]] in later volumes.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Astrid Larsson and Eilir Mackenzie.
** Arguably Edain and Rudi, or Little John Hordle and Alleyne.
* HonestAdvisor: [[TheDragon Conrad Renfrew]] and Sandra Arminger are the only advisors with the nerve (and the license) to tell Norman Arminger when he's wrong.
* TheHorde: The Bekwa tribes, descendants of the survivors in Quebec, have become a large, barely-united band of marauders who continually menace the outposts of civilization in northern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. [[spoiler: The only reason they show any unity at all is because the CUT has gained influence over them.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: And how. "This is the City that Works." The Bearkillers, proto-Clan Mackenzie and other towns encountered also turn away people they can't feed in the Dying Time.
** It is actually WordOfGod that the biggest reason Oregon is almost uniquely inhabitable is that the PPA directly and indirectly eliminated the disorganized surplus population. In other words, what Norman does is the ''better'' outcome...
* ImAHumanitarian: Right after the Change, groups of cannibals, called "Eaters", are one of the most common bands of survivors, particularly in larger cities. They take the place of the post-apocalyptic zombie horde in parts of the first book, but through a combination of disease and madness have largely removed themselves from events by the second book.
* ImpracticallyFancyOutfit: Sandra wears a full-length ermine cape to the first Meeting in Corvallis. Juniper notes that it would be too heavy to carry/wear for any length of time, but Sandra's carriage pulls up as close to the exit as possible so that she won't have to walk far.
** In ''The Sunrise Lands,'' Mathilda tells the Thurston daughters that she doesn't wear her formal gowns while traveling because she wouldn't be able to ride or fight well in them.
* IncrediblyLamePun: The scout the Cutters have tracking Rudi's band is, in fact [[spoiler: a ''Boy Scout'' -- or at least, a member of a settlement based on the Boy Scouts]]. Oh, it's justifiable; a member of such a group would be likely to have the right skill set. It is, however, still a groaner.
** Also a case of NotSoDifferent in that the two members of the band the scout encounters [[spoiler: are the two who are infamous for taking the ''LordOfTheRings'' as literal history and see themselves as revived Dunedain. ''They'' regard the scout, who almost certainly ''was'' a Boy Scout before or during the Change, as some deluded lunatic with a lot of badges. The fact that he was nearly their equal at fighting and tracking and only lost the fight because he was outnumbered seems to just barely register with them.]]
** In-universe, Delia uses a series of dreadful puns to get the attention of Tiphaine d'Ath.
* LadyOfWar: Signe Larsson and Tiphaine D'Ath
** Astrid Larsson as well -- perhaps even more so, given the emphasis she places on style.
* TheLancer: Sam Aylward, for one.
** His son, Edain to Rudi as well.
* LipstickLesbian: Delia, Tiphaine's lover.
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Several are seen. Played straight in that ''all'' myths and religious traditions are equally valid (and have real, demonstrable power) in the Emberverse. Subverted in that the surviving Native Americans use as much pre-Change technology as possible...down to a group of Sioux having a portable medical laboratory with their encampment and their chief (a pre-Change university graduate) being just as aware of the implications of the situation as any other successful leader in this setting.
* TheMagicComesBack: [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Hinted at in the first trilogy]], full blown in later works.
* MagicKnight: Father Ignatius. Rudi even more so.
* ManlyGay: Rigobert, Delia's [[TheBeard husband]] and father (via turkey baster) of her four children.
* [[MasterSwordsman Masters of the Sword]]: Rudi Mackenzie, Tiphaine d'Ath, Norman Arminger
* MeaningfulName: For some reason, [[KingArthur ''Artos'']] leaps to mind....
** There's also Kaur and Singh of Vogeler's Villians.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: In ''High King of Montival'', Rudi's party is exploring the long-abandoned CN Tower in Toronto when they discover the skeletons of a woman (apparently a suicide) and her cat. Though they live in a world in which ''billions'' died at the time of the Change, they are powerfully moved by the evidence of these particular deaths. Rudi is quite aware of the nature of their response, and of this trope.
* TheMole: [[spoiler: Kuttner]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Alex, Odard Liu's manservant who sells out Rudi's party to the CUT as part of Mary Liu's failed power grab.]]
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Professor Tom Turner of the Corvallis Economics Faculty will take the best deal for himself even if it means throwing his city under the wagon. He is also using refugees as sweatshop labor and engaging in war profiteering. This all [[LaserGuidedKarma bites him in the ass]] during negotiations to set up the Kingdom of Montival in ''Lord of Mountains'' and to decide whether[[spoiler: to continue to pursue the CUT into Montana after the enemy's field army was destroyed]]. When Turner asserts that Corvallis is a democracy and cannot accept a monarch, Sandra Arminger [[spoiler: produces a document signed by Turner stating his willingness to subjugate Corvallis to the PPA during the Protector's War, thus destroying Turner's credibility at the negotiating table generally and with the rest of the Corvallis delegation specifically]].
* NemeanSkinning: Michael Havel, Lord Bear of the Bearkillers, wears the head of the bear that earned him and the outfit their names on his helmet. Subvertes the trope by making Havel nearly get killed by the bear, and tanning is done by specialists off-page.
** Further subverted by Havel being totally against the idea in the first place (thinks it's too hokey), until he realizes it will serve the purpose of something for his people to rally behind.
* NoBikesInTheApocalypse: Averted. Bicycles become a popular mode of transportation after the Change.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: horribly averted, as most celebrities ''were'' harmed (and probably killed and eaten, too). Of the ones we actually hear about in the story, the British royal family has been put through the ringer with Queen Elizabeth II dying, Prince Charles taking the throne at the point of insanity, and Prince William being sent on a one-way trip in a leaky museum piece.
** The leader of the CUT immediately after the Change is heavily implied to be [[spoiler: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unabomber the Unabomber]]]] (or at least a ''very'' thinly-veiled {{Expy}} of him).
** We are told that Pope John Paul II elected to remain in the Vatican to confront an angry mob rather than be evacuated by the Swiss Guards with the College of Cardinals. He did not live long. His successor (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI as in RealLife) lives to the beginning of the second trilogy, which would make him about 95 years old at the time. BadassGrandpa indeed!
* NobodyOver50IsGay: Dr. Aaron Rothman begs to differ -- [[DeadpanSnarker and thinks you look quite fetchingly butch with that little scar on your chin.]]
* NonActionGuy: At over 60, he's not much use at hand-to-hand combat, but Ken Larsson is the husband of one ActionGirl (Pam), the father of two more (Signe and Astrid) ''plus'' a young BadAss (Eric), and the father-in-law of [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority Lord Bear]] himself. He's also the Bearkillers' premier engineer and one of Lord Bear's most trusted advisers.
* NoNewFashionsInTheFuture: Inverted in many places, as many societies (Clan Mackenzie, PPA, Norrheim, Indian tribes, ranches) went back to ''old'' fashions. Played straight with Corvallis, Boise, and the surviving urban centers of the Midwest.
* Greater Britain meanwhile is mishmash of Medieval, Victorian and Modern-ish attire.
* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: Less-equipped and less-principled groups in the wake of the Change survive by killing and eating stragglers. And once they've started, it's not likely the proper societies will welcome them with open arms. On occasion these "Eater" societies reform on their own and remain outcasts, but more likely than not, they end up slaughtered by the more civilized groups or eating one another to extinction.
* NotSoDifferent: Averted in ''The Scourge of God''. Rudi Mackenzie is describing Chuck Barstow's actions at the time of the Change, including survival-motivated fighting, deception, and theft (see BreakOutTheMuseumPiece, above). Odard Liu, thinking of his own brutal sire's actions at that time, is about to invoke this trope, with a side of [[IDidWhatIHadToDo Our Parents Only Did What They Had To Do]]. Rudi shuts him down by pointing out one more thing Chuck Barstow felt he "had to do": rescue and take in a group of stranded schoolchildren (including his son Oak, whom Odard knows personally), something that Eddie Liu would certainly never have considered.
** Many of the new nations that arise after the Change are inspired by [[ThemeParkVersion old movies and books]], and the residents of each one seem to think of all the others as acting upon some strange fantasy. Even nations like Boise, Corvallis, and Iowa, which have retained more of the pre-Change world's forms and systems than the others.
---> Renfrew: ''(to his much-younger aide)'' If you have to ask why it's funny to say the Mackenzies look weird, you're too young to ever understand.
* NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering: Corvallis's contentious Faculty Senate is sometimes shown this way. The Protectorate manipulates their politics in an effort to keep Corvallis from entering the War of the Eye. [[spoiler: Nice try.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: In his first encounter with Norman Arminger, Mike Havel takes advantage of the fact that Arminger thinks of him as a stupid jarhead.
* {{Patronymic}}: A common form of identifier in some cultures Rudi's band encounters in their trek across the continent, including the Southsiders (e.g., "Jake sunna Jake"), Canadian neo-savages the London Bunch (Dik Tomskid), and the Norrheimers (Bjarni Erickson). The Norrheimers seem to be the only ones who also use this naming convention for women, whose surnames end with "dottir" rather than the masculine "son" (Asgerd Karlsdottir).
* PetTheDog: Tiphaine d'Ath with regard to her page (and later squire) Lioncel--when appropriate, of course.
* PowersThatBe: [[spoiler:The Change turns out to have been caused by what's best described as the Universal Mind having an argument with itself and coming up with the least awful option. Mind you this least awful option resulted in the worldwide collapse of civilization and the deaths of billions.]]
* PresidentAction: President-General Lawrence Thurston of Boise (see FourStarBadass, above).
* QueerPeopleAreFunny: [[IncrediblyLamePun Played straight]] by Aaron Rothman, the closest any character comes in the series to being comedy relief (although he may be doing it deliberately, as noted elsewhere). Averted by Tiphaine and Delia, who are better developed as characters and whose relationship (and the implications it has for them socially and politically) is explored more seriously. Rigobert de Stafford and Estella Maldonado (as of ''Lord of Mountains'') haven't been developed as well as the series' other gay characters; most (but not all) of the time when they are shown it's in a purely professional context.
* TheQuest: A lot of characters, especially the aforementioned Tolkien fangirl comment on the auspiciousness of the fact that Rudi's journey will [[KingArthur take him across the land to find a mythical sword]] and that he will have [[LordOfTheRings nine members in his group.]]
* RainOfArrows: combat strategy of the Mackenzie archers.
* ReligionIsMagic
* ReligionOfEvil: The Church Universal and Triumphant edges on PathOfInspiration, but the fact that they're pretty openly out for world conquest and the way they keep followers in line by freaking them out with aural AlienGeometries plunks them in this category. Not to mention that they turn out to be a front for EldritchAbominations that want to reduce the universe to nothing.
* RootingForTheEmpire: InUniverse. The PPA base their soceity around ''[[TheLordOfTheRings Mordor and Sauron]]'', of all things.
** Boise makes the shift from trying to establish itself as a successor to the United States to replicating the Roman Empire outright after [[spoiler: President-General Thurston is assassinated.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Many. Norman Arminger, Mike Havel, and Astrid Larsson are war leaders; the multitalented Juniper Mackenzie is a bard, a high priestess, an expert weaver, and a pretty decent archer. Mathilda Arminger and Rudi Mackenzie, the heirs apparent, undertake the quest for the sword in the second trilogy, and fight in combat repeatedly.
** 'Mad' King Charles of Greater Britain, despite having been groomed to be a figurehead his entire life, proves invaluable in organizing the survivors on the Isle of Wight. His expertise in organic farming (Prince Charles in RealLife is an expert on the topic) in particular helps to ensure Greater Britain's survival. Unfortunately [[IDidWhatIHadToDo some of the decisions he had to make]] left him a broken man, easily manipulated by Hallgerda and her retinue.
* ScaryBlackMan: PlayedWith. Will Hutton; Lawrence, Martin, and Frederick Thurston; and the 'Moorish' (actually Senegalese) corsairs. They're all black and all very imposing individuals, but to survive and succeed in the Emberverse one ''has'' to be a pretty scary individual when it counts. Racism seems to have died in the Change, with race seldom if ever discussed by the main characters after the first trilogy (although it does figure prominently there, with Will being rescued by Mike Havel from white supremacists who were torturing him to death in the first volume). The Thurstons aren't even ''described'' as black until met in person in the second trilogy.
* SchizoTech: the survivors post-Change implement useable technology from all eras, from the Stone Age to the 19th and 20th centuries (among other things, knowledge of modern medicine and sanitation proves ''very'' helpful).
* SecretPolice: employed by several of the post-Change nations:
** The Iowa State Police has evolved into such an agency. [[spoiler: This is a rare case where the secret police are on the side of the good guys, as they're the ones who verify Rudi's claims about the CUT even as the cult is trying to subvert Iowa's leadership. Probably a minor case of NoCelebritiesWereHarmed, as making the ''actual'' Iowa State Police look evil when the rest of the state government survived more or less intact probably wasn't the author's goal.]]
** Boise has the Natpols (National Police; originally an FBI-equivalent but later on becomes a secret police organ after the elder Thurston's death).
** The Inquisition run by Pope Leo served this role for Norman Arminger. Arguably, Tiphaine d'Ath in her role as Grand Constable fulfills the trope, as she is frequently called upon by Sandra to make certain individuals 'disappear'. The PPA also maintains a secret prison facility (location generally unknown) for high-value prisoners (this is where Mary Liu ends up after her failed power play against Sandra Arminger).
** The CUT High Seekers fill the role for areas under the cult's control.
* ShoutOut: In ''A Meeting at Corvallis'', Arminger's Grand Constable, Conrad Renfrew, recalls a time five years ago (and five years post-Change) when PPA forces "were smoking a lunatic archer in green out of the ruins of Seattle." Guess what West Coast city [[TheDCU DC Comics]] bowman GreenArrow has been known to operate out of.
** In ''The Sunrise Lands'', Rudi and his party return from a tiger hunt singing an old song, "a bouncy hunting tune." Appropriately enough, it's [[RockyIII "Eye of the Tiger."]]
** Rudi and his fellow Changelings don't understand why older people laugh at the suggestion that superb fighter Tiphaine d'Ath (a lesbian in a homophobic society) has an "I won't tell, and I'll kill you if you ask" policy.
** Ritva and Mary Havel buy supplies for Rudi's journey at "A.E. Isherman's Fine Arms and Armor." ScienceFiction author A.E. Van Vogt authored a famous story called, "The Weapons Shop of Isher." Stirling's shop and Van Vogt's even have the same slogan: "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free."
** The original members of Juniper's coven debate whether letting newcomers choose their sept by dreaming is appropriate. Juniper jokes that perhaps instead the coven should [[HarryPotter enchant a hat]], place it on the head of each new candidate, and let the hat shout the name of the candidate's sept.
** The Protectorate's secret code book is a copy of "Bored of the Rings" by The Harvard Lampoon.
** When he, Astrid, Eilir and Alleyne spring a surprise attack, John Hordle calmly informs their target, "Nobody expects the Elvish [[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus Inquisition]]."
** While learning martial arts in ''The Scourge of God'', some of the heroes unknowingly quote a couple of lines from TheFrantics' audio-skit 'Ti Kwan Leep'.
** In ''Dies the Fire'', Juniper and several others of her group make a journey to discover the situation in the lands around them. On her return, she discovers that many in the group have adopted kilts and are halfway to becoming a full-fledged neo-Celtic clan. Her friend Dennis skips up to her with a cry of "'Tis Herself herself!" , and a sly [[Franchise/{{Highlander}} "There can be only one."]]
** At one point while the CUT is [[spoiler: attempting to assassinate the main characters in the Republic of Iowa ]] lines are almost directly lifted from the [[ConanTheBarbarian Conan]] story "The Hour of the Dragon" where Xaltotun convinces a man that his belt is a snake.
** ''ConanTheBarbarian'' gets another one in ''Tears of the Sun'' when a group of traveling performers is overheard delivering the opening narration ("Know, o prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities...")
** Several major characters have names taken directly from TheWhiteCompany. And the similarities [[{{Expy}} don't end with]] [[PublicDomainCharacter the names]]...
** Hence, Conan Doyle is consistently referred to as Donan Coyle to avoid the CelebrityParadox.
** And Donan Coyle's books have titles such as "The Free Companions" and "Sir Guilliame".
** Let's not forget the mere existance of the Dunedain rangers and the fact that they have a quasi religious reverence for Tolkien's work.
** ''The High King of Montival'' introduces several units of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are referred to colloquially as "the Force." When they join his troops, Rudi observes, gladly, "[[StarWars The Force is with us]]!" Being a Changeling, he has no idea why his older companions are snickering....
** In ''Tears of the Sun,'' Lady Sandra indulges in a bit of Yoda-speak, even though her younger companion has no idea what her odd phraseology signifies.
** The owner of Ford's Kyentse Cowboy Bar & Grill (''The Scourge of God'') resembles Creator/HarrisonFord. The eaterie is located in Wyoming, where Ford has a ranch, and it's rumored that the owner built the place with his own hands. Creator/HarrisonFord has worked as a professional carpenter. (Also, we get a fair amount of information on the character, for all that [[LawOfConservationOfDetail he appears in only one scene]].)
** Given that Harrison Ford would be well into his eighties by the time that scene takes place, his mere survival in this setting would qualify him for BadassGrandpa status far above and beyond the characters he's played.
** In ''The Sword of the Lady'' some of the Bjornings listen to an ancestral tale. It's the first paragraph from ''Literature/TheLongShips'' by Frans G Bengtsson (originally written in Swedish and arguable one of the best Viking yarns to be found). Guess the Bjornings took that to heart a bit more than Tolkien.
** The quote is actually from "The Broken Sword" by Poul Anderson, though "The Long Ships" is also excellent and they probably like that one, too.
** In ''The Protector's War'', one young Mackenzie is telling another a tale that ends with, "This is the most powerful war bow in the clan, and even I can't hold the draw forever. [[Film/DirtyHarry So tell me, punk, do you feel lucky?"]]"
** In ''The Scourge of God'', Juniper sees in her vision something very like the witch hunt in ''Literature/KingSolomonsMines'' where Umbopa (a NobleSavage and associate of the heroes) is singled out by the chief witchfinder, Gagool, for political reasons.
** In ''Tears of the Sun'', Lady Sandra notes the goateed Baron de Mosier's resemblance to [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries "Evil Spock from the Mirror Universe."]]
** Tiphaine and Delia's children are all named after characters in a book series that however remains unnamed so it's something of a stealth shoutout.
** Ingolf Vogeler and crew set sail for Nantucket from a cannibal-haunted ruined New England town named... [[Creator/HPLovecraft Innsmouth]].
** WordOfGod has it that Mary and Ritva were inspired by the old Zulu practice of using identical twins as scouts...so this is a ShoutOut to RealLife.
** The organizational structure of Corvallis--the entire city is run by the university's Faculty Senate--looks like a callback to {{Plato}}'s ''[[Literature/TheRepublic Republic]]''
** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur, right down to his conception by a powerful king (Uther/Havel) and queen (Igraine/Juniper)--although that encounter was a consensual one-night stand rather than magic-assisted rape.
* SingleMindedTwins: Ritva and Mary Havel begin very much like this, though they develop/display more distinct personalities in the course of the second trilogy.
* SmugSnake: Norman Arminger, Duke Iron Rod, Piotr Stavarov, Eddie Liu
* SocietyForCreativeAnachronism: Many of the founding members of the PPA were originally members of this.
* TheSouthpaw: Rudi Mackenzie, after his right arm is wounded to the point he can't use it as well as he used to.
* StormingTheCastle: Happens a few times, although both sides dread the thought of having to do so.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens: Suspected at first of being responsible for the Change. [[spoiler: It turns out that the responsible party is several levels beyond that...]]
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: The Sword of the Lady reveals all truths, brings the [[spoiler: influence of the good parts of the Mind]] into the world, and also can chop clean through anything from a gnarled tree trunk to an airborne hair.
* ThisIsReality: A lot of the early conversations between Mike and Astrid are variations on this theme.
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Tiphaine d'Ath and Delia de Stafford. Tiphaine is the [[ButchLesbian toughest woman]] -- arguably the toughest ''person'' -- in the Protectorate, dresses in male garb (usually a big no-no in that realm), wears her hair in a pageboy and would wear it shorter if she could, and doesn't like children. Her lover Delia is [[LipstickLesbian a complete creampuff]], an expert weaver and needlewoman who never dresses in anything less than the height of feminine fashion, wears her hair long and lush, and loves babies. Naturally, they're inseparable.
* TooDumbToLive: Jon Wooton in "A Murder in Eddsford". [[spoiler: He tried to build a nuclear powered steam engine ''without'' wearing protective material, thus dying of radiation poisoning.]]
* UnholyMatrimony: Probably best exampled by a quote:
--> Signe Larsson-Havel: My husband was a good man.
--> Sandra Arminger: Mine was a monster. But don't think for a second that I loved mine any less than you loved yours.
* VillainousValour: Whether outnumbered and pursued by the Mackenzies, surrounded by Astrid and friends, or betrayed by a member of her own band, DarkActionGirl Tiphaine d'Ath earns her victories with remarkable skill, ingenuity, and courage. She's not a particularly likable person, and her objectives are often other than admirable, but her wit and her grit are outstanding.
* TheVirus: And if you think the CUT is chilling on general principle, you should see what happens when its influence is suddenly removed...
* WarriorMonk: The local monastery becomes an order of these after the change. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] frequently, in that they draw comparisons with the Shaolin and other martial orders and lament that they cannot spend more time simply studying and praying.
** Don't forget the Buddhist Monks in the Valley of the Sun where the party winters to [[spoiler: heal Rudi's shoulder after he sustained a nasty evil arrow wound.]] The monks also train the party so as they all TakeALevelInBadass.
* WarriorPrince: Rudi Mackenzie. Also the brothers Thurston, though their father might dispute that description! ''Also'' Prince William of Greater Britain, whom Nigel encounters during a battle early in the series.
* WeddingsForEveryone: The first trilogy ends with a massive handfasting ceremony whose participants include a number of the central characters.
* WomanInBlack: Tiphaine d'Ath.
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen: the Change has forced a return to the Age of Sail, seen as early as the first trilogy (where we meet Prince William in command of the ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutty_Sark Cutty Sark]]''--impressed into the Royal Navy despite being a decrepit museum piece--on what appears to be a suicide mission arranged by Hallgerda).
* TheWorldIsNotReady: NOTE: The following spoiler explains the origin behind The Change. '''Do not read further if you want this to remain a mystery until the end of the sixth book.'''[[spoiler: The Change was caused by the PowersThatBe (see above) because humanity was showing more and more irresponsibility with its current technology levels. The god(s) decided the best course of action was a "do-over" in order for humanity to mature more as a species before inheriting their tech. This is why we were bombed back into medieval times, rather than having history wiped clean. The idea was to learn from the first time through, so we were better prepared for the next time.]]
** [[spoiler: [[InferredHolocaust It's kind of a shame that the next time is going to have to wait until the Earth's supplies of readily accessible metals, coal, oil and other traditionally non-renewable resources refresh themselves, really.]]]]
** [[spoiler: the theory behind solar power is still on the books, which the surviving universities are maintaining. Likewise wind power (they're already using windmills) and other renewable sources. Alcohol is available as an internal combustion fuel, and there's still more than enough coal left to jumpstart an industrial revolution once the normal laws of nature apply again. Even nuclear power is still an option--the point is that humanity will have learned to take nature more seriously the next time around (which will take place once the PowersThatBe decide humanity has learned its lesson sufficiently.) It won't be easy, but neither was gearing down to medieval technology. In both cases, though, the hardest work has already been done.]]
* WriterOnBoard / AuthorFilibuster : To varying degrees, though relatively low. That's S. M. Stirling for ya...
* LesYay: In-universe. For a time, [[HeterosexualLifePartners close friends]] Astrid and Eilir are rumored to be lovers. They find the rumor "inexpressibly funny."
** Eddie Liu asks "Have you found the Ring of Power in her Crack of Doom yet?"
* YouFailPhysicsForever - It's an [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief acceptable]] breach, given that it's a fantasy work, but if the laws of physics were broken the way this novel broke them, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Universe would probably end up breaking]] and become less an apocalyptic wasteland, and more an EldritchLocation. However, there is a mention in the original trilogy that the Change appears to be limited to Earth and its immediate surroundings - the rest of the cosmos are unaffected.
** If you like that idea, try Steven R. Boyett's "Ariel" series, Stirling's inspiration for the Change.
** [[spoiler: The laws of the universe, or even Earth as a whole, haven't changed. The Mind is powerful and precise enough to constantly monitor the entire world, watch for people trying to use technology, and selectively suppress things just at the places and times where it's needed.]]
----
[[redirect:Literature/{{Emberverse}}]]
21st Nov '12 5:40:01 PM msq
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Added DiffLines:

** It's also mentioned that they're back to setting up colonies such as Prince Edward Island as well as building outposts across former Western Europe.


Added DiffLines:

* Greater Britain meanwhile is mishmash of Medieval, Victorian and Modern-ish attire.
15th Nov '12 8:36:58 PM DomaDoma
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** Mary Lui, who tries to outwit the Lady Regent. Uh, yeah, good ''luck'' with that....

to:

** Mary Lui, Liu, who tries to outwit the Lady Regent. Uh, yeah, good ''luck'' with that....



* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Played straight when the evil is of purely human origin: Norman and Sandra Arminger are HappilyMarried and love their daughter, Tiphaine d'Ath loves Delia and fights to protect her when she is threatened; Martin Thurston [[spoiler: initially]] is seen to love his wife and son. Averted with those who are possessed by the evil force backing the CUT [[spoiler: notably, post-possession Mary Lui and Martin Thurston]].

to:

* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Played straight when the evil is of purely human origin: Norman and Sandra Arminger are HappilyMarried and love their daughter, Tiphaine d'Ath loves Delia and fights to protect her when she is threatened; Martin Thurston [[spoiler: initially]] is seen to love his wife and son. Averted with those who are possessed by the evil force backing the CUT [[spoiler: notably, post-possession Mary Lui Liu and Martin Thurston]].
24th Oct '12 4:15:25 PM sathena99
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* YouFailPhysicsForever - It's an [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief acceptable]] breach, given that it's a fantasy work, but if the laws of physics were broken the way this novel broke them, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Universe would probably end up breaking]] and become less an apocalyptic wasteland, and more an EldritchLocation.

to:

* YouFailPhysicsForever - It's an [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief acceptable]] breach, given that it's a fantasy work, but if the laws of physics were broken the way this novel broke them, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Universe would probably end up breaking]] and become less an apocalyptic wasteland, and more an EldritchLocation. However, there is a mention in the original trilogy that the Change appears to be limited to Earth and its immediate surroundings - the rest of the cosmos are unaffected.
23rd Oct '12 12:01:37 AM Snarf
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* TheGoodChancellor: Father Ignatius is this to Rudi/Artos, although he is something of a BeleagueredBureaucrat due to the lack of qualified individuals to fill out the new kingdom's civil service.

to:

* TheGoodChancellor: Father Ignatius is this to Rudi/Artos, although he is something of a BeleagueredBureaucrat due to the lack of qualified individuals to fill out the new kingdom's civil service. When Sandra Arminger offers the services of the Protectorate's administrative professionals, the good Father [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy refuses]], knowing that it's just an invitation for her to subvert Montival to her own ends before the kingdom is even fully established.
22nd Oct '12 11:51:19 PM Snarf
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Added DiffLines:

* TheGoodChancellor: Father Ignatius is this to Rudi/Artos, although he is something of a BeleagueredBureaucrat due to the lack of qualified individuals to fill out the new kingdom's civil service.
22nd Oct '12 11:30:27 AM Snarf
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** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur, right down to his conception by a powerful warlord (Uther/Havel) and the queen of a city (Igraine/Juniper)--although that encounter was more of a one-night stand than magic-assisted rape.

to:

** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur, right down to his conception by a powerful warlord king (Uther/Havel) and the and queen of a city (Igraine/Juniper)--although that encounter was more of a consensual one-night stand rather than magic-assisted rape.
22nd Oct '12 11:22:58 AM Snarf
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** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur.

to:

** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur.Arthur, right down to his conception by a powerful warlord (Uther/Havel) and the queen of a city (Igraine/Juniper)--although that encounter was more of a one-night stand than magic-assisted rape.
19th Oct '12 4:31:48 PM SStirling
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* HasTwoMommies: All of Delia's children to some degree, but especially her second son Diomedes, whom Tiphaine d'Ath adopts as her legal heir.

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* HasTwoMommies: All of Delia's children to some degree, but especially her second son Diomedes, Diomede, whom Tiphaine d'Ath adopts as her legal heir.
18th Oct '12 11:49:31 AM Snarf
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** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains'']]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur.

to:

** [[KingArthur The Arthurian legend]] gets almost as many callbacks as Tolkien; they get more numerous and obvious as the series moves on, with Rudi/Artos [[spoiler: driving the Sword of the Lady into a stone at the edge of a lake in ''Lord of Mountains'']].Mountains''--after assembling the assorted nobles and other high officials of Montival at a round table to discuss business]]. Rudi himself is almost a direct {{Expy}} of King Arthur.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.Emberverse