[[quoteright:347:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ice_iron_and_gold_cover_7093.jpg]]
--> ''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, a completed tetrology, and four short stories ("Something for Yew", "Ancient Ways," "A Murder In Eddsford" and "Hot Night at the Hopping Toad"). 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 Dúnedain 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)- [[spoiler: The war against the CUT concludes and Rudi consolidates his rule over Montival, with the kingdom's territory expanding into California as a new generation comes of age. Rudi's final fate is shown when he intervenes in a conflict between Haida raiders and a party from Japan--long thought to have completely collapsed after the Change. Seen as a routine if unusual skirmish at first, the enemy of humankind makes one more appearance...]]

A new quadrilogy, taking place a generation afterwards, will feature:
* ''The Golden Princess''
* ''The Desert and the Shore''
* ''Prince John''
* ''The Sea Peoples''

There will be a shared-world anthology set in the Emberverse, titled ''The Change'', to be published in 2015.

S.M. Stirling will be contributing a story, and other authors will include Harry Turtledove, Diana Paxson, John Barnes, Alyx Dellamonica, Jane Lindskold, Emily Mah, John Birmingham, and Walter John Williams.

Now has a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/Emberverse Character page]] in need of much love
----
!!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: Mathilda has a vision of [[spoiler: her father, Norman Arminger,]] in Purgatory--having learned [[spoiler: his]] lesson but still serving [[spoiler: his]] penance. The Blessed Virgin Mary even drops by with the penitent's lunch!
* 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, at least until he's old enough to disprove NobodyOverFiftyIsGay, at which point he settles down.
* 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 [[MillenniumBug [=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''.
** [[spoiler: Sandra and Rudi]] in ''The Given Sacrifice''.
* TheApocalypseBringsOutTheBestInPeople: It also brings out the worst, more often than not.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 2, Planetary/Societal Collapse. About 95% of Earth's population dies off in the first few years after the Change. Most of the world's existing civilizations are destroyed during "the dying times," and are replaced by entirely different ones.
* ApocalypticLogistics: Without industrialized farming or an efficient way to transport food from farms to population centers, a lot of people get very hungry very quickly during the dying times.
* ArmorIsUseless: Averted 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.
* ArtisticLicensePhysics - 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.]]
* 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!
* 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!"
* BadassFamily: The Havel-Larsson clan, full stop. That includes Mike, Signe, Pam, Eric, Luanne, and all of their adult descendants that we meet by the end of the tetrology. Of the whole family, only Ken doesn't qualify -- and he's in his sixties at the time of ''Dies the Fire'', so give the guy a break.
* 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''.
* BeAllMySinsRemembered: Lawrence Thurston suspended elections in Boise pending the resolution of the emergency situation. Unfortunately the emergency situation never resolved itself. By the time he was ready to start having elections again an entire generation with no firsthand experience with democracy had come into prominence, [[spoiler: his own son, who expected to inherit his father's position, among them.]] Thurston did realize in the end that perhaps he had waited far too long to have a vote.
* 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.
* BiggerBad: the "Ascended Masters."
* 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."
* BloodBrothers: Eilir and Astrid. Proving that the trope isn't exclusive with romance, Rudi and Mathilda also get this.
* 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.
* BrickJoke: When Delia bears her third child, her partner Tiphaine says, quite firmly, that she thinks three children are enough. Though she loves babies, Delia meekly acquiesces to this. A book later, we find out she's pregnant again -- and it cannot possibly be by accident, as Delia and her [[TheBeard husband]] never have sex; all of their children are engendered via turkey-baster. Hey, Tiphaine, we know you're the one who [[{{Tomboy}} wears the pants]] in the outside world, but who is it who wears them in your relationship?
* 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 ''Literature/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.
* CannibalLarder: ''Dies the Fire'' has several of these. Most of the cannibal bands that arose after the end of the world keep live prisoners in them as well (best way to keep the meat fresh).
* 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.
** The CUT itself definitely qualifies.
** The Benedictine Monks of Mt. Angel.
* 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.)]]
* ComingStraightStory: [[spoiler: When Heuradys, Delia's daughter by Rigobert (with plastic kitchenware assist) is an adult, she has to tell her mother to stop finding nice girls to set her up with , because she 'really likes boys better'. Delia, who is a Changeling more or less (having been a small child when the Change happened) and largely unfamiliar with pre-Change culture, asks her anxiously if this might be "just a phase". Rigobert and Tiphaine (who are older and remember the world before the Change) have a big laugh at the irony of the situation--but Delia stops setting her up with other girls. Heuradys, who was born twenty years after the Change, is unfamiliar with the idiom too. But she's a bit annoyed with her mother wanting her to be gay, since she's a knight of the PPA, where female knights are rare and many people just assume she's gay because she's following a typically male profession for her culture, and because both her mothers and her father are. Rigobert and Tiphaine don't care.]]
* 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 Universal aNd Triumphant. Note that the CUT [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Universal_and_Triumphant actually exists]] in RealLife (albeit in a very different form than depicted in the novels) so if anyone is intentionally GettingCrapPastTheRadar, it's the real-life church leadership..
* DamselOutOfDistress:
** Kidnap Mathilda (or try to), and you have an excellent chance of finding yourself facing the sharp pointy end of her sword.
** Signe does a good job of keeping her potential rapist pinned while the rescues is being made in the first book.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Norman Arminger. He's a professor of the feudal early Middle Ages. This suddenly becomes quite relevant 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 himself.
** 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 Dúnedain 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.
* 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 a caste system (established farm families vs. descendants of refugees from the cities) is taking root. And Mike Havel's original plan for the Bearkillers was to form a democracy, but this was subverted by Signe after his death.
** Norrheim, like the Vikings they draw their inspiration from, has an Althing.
* 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.
* DyingAsYourself: With the Sword of the Lady, Rudi can make this possible for those possessed by the CUT. [[spoiler: He does this for Martin Thurston.]]
* EldritchAbomination: whoever or whatever is controlling Sethaz and the rest of the CUT High Seekers definitely qualifies.
* EldritchLocation: The 1250 BC Nantucket that's been switched for the modern version has become... extremely temporally unstable.
* 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 lovelorn lass from their respective beds. 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.
* EvilDebtCollector: By ''The Given Sacrifice'', the First National Bank of Corvallis has become notorious for these. The Dúnedain Rangers (customers of said bank) use them to collect their commissions when necessary.
* 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''.
-->[[spoiler: Sandra Arminger's final words: "Norman, we need to talk..."]]
* 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.
* FutureImperfect: Starting to crop up with the Changelings as they come of age. Although all of the main characters are well-educated, their understanding of the pre-Change world is at best theoretical and at worst, horribly flawed.
* {{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.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: Rigobert claims to have worked for one pre-Change, a fact that made him ''very'' valuable to Norman Arminger (and subsequently allowed him to survive at least as a closeted homosexual in a deeply homophobic realm; Rigobert's sexual orientation is of less concern to Arminger than what he knows, and Arminger in the early Change years controlled the Catholic Church in Portland).
* 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.
** [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings 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.
** As of ''The Given Sacrifice'' [[spoiler: Japanese, and in particular a specific regional dialect]] gets in on the fun.
* 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, and her elder daughter Heuradys, who d'Ath also adopts for inheritance reasons.
* 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.
** Indeed, this trope applies to many of the people Rudi and Co. encounter in their journeys. Abbott Dortje, the new Iowa civil government (and Ingolf's brother), the Senegalese pirates, Captain Wellman, the Last Eagle and his successors, and even Justin Gruber are just a few of the people who could become (or are already) heroes to their own people.
* 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. In ''The Given Sacrifice'', we see that Orlaith and Heuradys are headed this way, if they aren't there already.
* 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.
** Rudi deliberately picks Father Ignatius for the role because he's 1) smart enough to show Rudi where he's wrong and 2) tough enough to make it stick. Politically, as a Catholic priest from an order that was specifically set up to counter Portland's abuses he 'balances the ticket' with Rudi's paganism and makes Montival an easier sell to communities who had earlier resisted the PPA's encroachment.
* 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.]]
* HurtingHero: The Last Eagle Scout, leader of the Morrowlander community [[spoiler: in ''The Given Sacrifice''. Already badly burned and left with one eye as a result of the plane crash that left him and his Boy Scout troop stranded in the wilderness, he struggles for the next 28 years to keep his tiny community together in the face of the CUT and other threats, taking even more injuries in the process. By the time Rudi and company meet him, he's a near-complete cripple despite being at most in his mid-forties, and grateful that someone has come to take the load.]] Easily the series winner for IronWoobie status.
* 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 ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' as literal history and see themselves as revived Dúnedain. ''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.
* 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?"
* 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, Pamela Larsson
* 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. Subverts 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, even being used by armies going into battle.
* 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!
** The skeletal remains of a "computer magnate" (implied to be Bill Gates) were discovered in his mansion in Washington state during a PPA salvage expedition.
* NobodyOver50IsGay: Dr. Aaron Rothman begs to differ -- [[DeadpanSnarker and thinks you look quite fetchingly butch with that little scar on your chin.]]
** Rigobert as of ''The Given Sacrifice'' has reached that milestone as well...not that age has slowed him down in the tiniest.
* 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.
* NonHumanSidekick: Epona to Rudi; Garbh to Edain.
* 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.
** Averted by Mount Angel, as Catholic priests and monks have dressed the same way for hundreds of years and probably weren't likely to alter their basic attire any time soon anyway, Change or not.
* 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.
* OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap: Inverted. In the years following the Change, many people will go on and on about all the fantastic processed foods that are no onger available when everyone is reduced to eating natural, home-grown food.
* OpenSecret: The Portland Protective Association is in practice (and originally, in law) a Roman Catholic kingdom, practicing a fairly conservative version of that faith. The Baroness (later Grand Constable [[spoiler: later Marshall]]) Tiphaine d'Ath is gay and in a monogamous relationship with Delia de Stafford, [[TheBeard wife]] of the equally-gay Rigobert. Everybody except their confessors is quite aware of the true nature of Tiphaine and Delia's, and Delia and Rigobert's, relationships, but the attitudes of the kingdom prohibit any public acknowledgement.
* OurFounder: After the Change several notable individuals or groups are recognised for successfully rebuilding society, the early books mainly focus on three. Mike Haval of The Bear Killers, Juniper Mackenzie of The Clan Mackenzie, and Norman Arminger of the PPA. Of these three it should be noted that only Arminger actually set out to build a kingdom to rule over, Mike and Juniper were just good,charismatic people who fell into the job and were more than a little uncomfortable with the hero worship that followed.
* PaperThinDisguise: [[spoiler: Attempted by ''an entire battalion'' during the siege and fall of Boise by pretending to be a loyal reinforcing unit; averted when a member of the gate guard recognizes personally the commander of the unit (which had previously defected to Montival and was known to have done so) and sounds the alarm.]]
* {{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.
* PragmaticVillainy: A specialty of Sandra Arminger's, especially in the first trilogy. For example, when the PPA are holding nine-year-old Rudi captive, she keeps her husband Norman from killing him not because she has any problems with cold-blooded murder (she's ordered a number of assassinations herself), but because she thinks that suborning Rudi would be a more effective means of bringing the Mackenzies under control.
* [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent President Action]]: 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's sense of humor is very well-developed but more subtle and most definitely does ''not'' make people take him any less seriously. Estella Maldonado (who makes her final appearance in ''Lord of Mountains'') was not developed as well as the series' other gay characters; most (but not all) of the time when she was shown it was in a purely professional context. The one time Estella did demonstrate a sense of humor was in delivering a [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech verbal smackdown]] to a CUT follower in her party, making her more of a SnarkKnight than CampGay.
* 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 [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings 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 {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that want to reduce the universe to nothing.
* RetiredBadass: [[spoiler: Tiphaine d'Ath has reached her mid-forties in ''The Given Sacrifice'' and while still very effective as a combatant, her reflexes are beginning to slow down just as old social and political grudges are starting to manifest themselves in the form of personal challenges. Mathilda and Rudi [[KickedUpstairs name her Marshal of Montival's armies]], essentially a desk job consisting of staff planning duties for a skeleton force. The appointment places her under their direct protection, much to her consternation.]]
* RootingForTheEmpire: InUniverse. The PPA base their society around ''[[Literature/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.
** Although Lawrence Thurston would vehemently object to being called a 'royal' he did have near-absolute control over most of the state of Idaho from just after the Change until [[spoiler: his son Martin assassinated him.]] An Army officer pre-Change, he reorganized the state government (but kept the legislature intact, although he suspended elections) and built Boise's military practically from scratch into one of the most feared fighting forces on the continent. He also sponsored research into the cause and effects of the Change, helped reorganize the civilian economy to adapt to the Change, and like many other leaders who arose during the Change kept civilization alive through sheer force of will.
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: Ritva and Mary are followed by an uncannily competent scout [[spoiler: and Scout!]] in ''The Sunrise Lands''; they later describe him as having trailed them across the type of terrain over which it would be difficult to find traces of a full team pulling a cart. [[spoiler: Along with his people, the Morrowlander Pack, he becomes an ally against the CUT in ''The Given Sacrifice''.]]
* 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.
* SentientCosmicForce: [[spoiler: The Change was caused by what's best described as the Universal Mind having an argument with itself and reaching the least bad compromise. Mind you this least bad option resulted in the worldwide collapse of civilization and the deaths of billions.]]
* SingleMindedTwins: Ritva and Mary Havel begin very much like this, though they develop/display more distinct personalities in the course of the second trilogy.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Iron Rod, a minor villain (seriously, he's only around a few chapters) in ''Dies the Fire'' that's essentially a glorified gang leader that thinks he's hot stuff just because he's running roughshod over a number of farmers before the Bearkillers show up. Once they ''do'' show up he doesn't last very long.
* 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. It also acts as a UniversalTranslator for ''any'' language, including invented languages such as the Elvish used by the Rangers (it even fills in gaps in grammar and syntax which neither Tolkien nor the Dúnedain addressed) and languages presumed ''extinct'', [[spoiler: like Japanese, encountered by Rudi and company at the end of ''The Given Sacrifice'']]
* TeenageWasteland: Averted by the Morrowlanders, surviving members of a Boy Scout troop left stranded after a plane crash in Yellowstone National Park after the Change. They managed with minimal adult assistance to form a well-organized, functioning society and are able to keep the CUT out of their territory (albeit with a few [[DealWithTheDevil nasty deals]] they try their hardest to avoid). Lack of manpower, along with knowing the CUT for what they are, makes joining Montival a ''very'' attractive proposition to them.
** Played straight to varying degrees by the various Eater bands and other bands of marauders who survived, particularly in the larger cities.
* TheyCallHimSword: The first title Rudi ever receives is "Sword of the Lady," which is given to him by the Powers at his Wiccanning. Once he retrieves the actual weapon of that name, however, the title is usually used for it, rather than him.
----> '''Ingolf:''' Let me get this straight -- you're the Sword, and the ''sword'' is the Sword?
* ThisIsReality: A lot of the early conversations between Mike and Astrid are variations on this theme.
* TokenEvilTeammate: Sandra Arminger, amongst the founders of the High Kingdom of Montival. None of the other leaders trust her any farther than they could throw John Hordle -- wise of them, as even though she is sincere in her desire to make the High Kingdom a viable entity (helps that her own daughter will be High Queen and her grandchildren will form the subsequent dynasty), she is ''never'' above seeking the PPA's advantage. Her political acumen and her extensive information network make her a very effective ally all the same, as does the fact that she ''will'' make sure the dirty work, such as blackmail or assassination, is taken care of.
* 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.]]
** Also Astrid in the first book, who thinks that ''provoking a bear'' is a smart thing to do. After the bear is dealt with Mike rightly chews her out.
* TrilogyCreep: The seven books of the second generation of the series were originally meant to be just three.
* 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.]]
* WorthlessYellowRocks: In ''Dies the Fire,'' street gang members take advantage of the collapse in law enforcement to loot electronics and jewelry stores. Norman Arminger, a history professor, organizes other manpower and secures food and water supplies. Norman becomes a DarkLord styled king in all but name. The gang members wind up working for him - or else.
* WriterOnBoard / AuthorFilibuster : To varying degrees, though relatively low. That's S. M. Stirling for ya...
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