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''The Peshawar Lancers'' is a 2002 AlternateHistory novel by Creator/SMStirling (author of the ''Literature/TheDraka'', ''Literature/IslandInTheSeaOfTime'' and the ''Literature/{{Emberverse}}'') which takes place in a world where [[ColonyDrop a series of comet strikes]] destroyed much of Western Europe and North America in 1878, the resulting long winter finishing off most of civilization in those areas. Most of the survivors that didn't become [[ImAHumanitarian cannibal savages]] fled to their overseas colonies, in particular the French remnants relocated to their North African possessions and the British to India, South Africa and Australia. By the early 21st Century, the latter (at least in India) have gone native to the point of referring themselves as the Angrezi Raj.

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!!The novel contains examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: in the style of Rudyard Kipling.
** The latter parts of the story concern the threat of a second impact (not [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion that one]]).
* AlternateHistory: When "God Save the King" is replaced with "God Save the Padishah" ([[{{Dune}} no, not that one]]), take a wild guess.
* AlternateUniverse: The Sisters are mentioned to not only see the future, but ''different'' futures as well. [[spoiler: Including a snapshot of ''our'' 21st Century.]]
* ArtisticLicenseChemistry:
** One character despises guncotton because of its tendency to sweat nitroglycerin. That's dynamite, which is nitroglycerin absorbed into kiselguhr. Guncotton is pure nitrocellulose, which does not contain nitroglycerin.
** The hydrogen in the Empire's airships is spiked with "sulfur-rich methane" to make leaks detectable. Methane contains no sulfur and is completely odorless (natural gas, a mixture of mostly methane and ethane, needs to have odorants added for this very reason).
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: Richard Allenby claims to be a dignified Political Service agent living in a mansion with a harem of beautiful Indian girls, until we find out he took part in Satanic cannibal rituals and had killed a girl some time before while raping her. Cue the NightmareFuel when one wonders where did the girls sacrificed by Ignatieff in his cellar come from and how many of them were...
* BigBad: Count Ignatieff.
* TheBritishEmpire: Known in the book either as the Angrezi Raj or the New Empire, based in Delhi. Australia-New Zealand and South Africa are Viceroyalties (each having their own colonies).
** The old British accent vanished long before. Since the "Imperial English" used (at least in India and the elite) is mentioned as a pidgin language with heavy Hindi borrowings. Australia and the Cape use more "conservative" versions closer to the Victorians.
* ChivalrousPervert: Athelstane is an unrepentant womanizer, but also an OfficerAndAGentleman.
* ColonyDrop: The Fall
* [[spoiler: DeusSexMachina: Yasmini's ''only'' means to preserve her sanity involves some quality time with Athelstane.]]
** Which triggered an in-universe FridgeLogic moment for our good Captain, who asked himself something along the lines of [[IronicEcho "how does something that happens down there influence something which happen in the brain"]]..
* DancesAndBalls: On special occasions the Angrezi would revive old pre-Fall traditions, such as the waltz. The Royal Palace in Delhi actually has a Victorian-style ballroom specifically built for this purpose, with the men dressing in "classical" attire; out of convenience, however, women still prefer the sari - Indian climate leaves few choices of heavy 19th century European clothing.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Count Ignatieff is stabbed by Athelstane and thrown from a zeppelin, and is described as splattering when he hits the ground.]]
* EldritchAbomination: the cult of Malik Nous in the remains of Russia worships one and believes [[spoiler: bringing about the destruction of humanity will please him]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards:
** It is said explicitly the Czar, despite running an empire of cannibals, had the same wishes as an ordinary ruler, to conquer lands, peoples and resources - while a faction of fanatic worshipers of the Black God [[MoralEventHorizon seek to end humanity itself]].
** Count Ignatieff at some point muses he could be executed by the Okhrana for failure - but the Priests of the Fallen Black God ''could deal out worse things''.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: A reader could be forgiven for thinking the book is an RPG transcript; Athelstane and co. have to deal with attacks from devil-worshipers, Afghans, ninjas, Thugee, bandits, white supremacists and air pirates!
** [[spoiler: And practically all of them were bribed/manipulated/set up by Count Ignatieff.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Athelstane, chatting with Sita, when he remarks that every adventure story needs a beautiful princess.
* {{Expy}}: The Kapenaar (Anglo-Afrikaner South Africans) are essentially [[Literature/TheDraka Draka]] if the British managed to restrain them. With the added touch of them being the only ones left wearing Pith helmets. They're even called the "Bad boys" of the Empire by Stirling himself.
* FeudalFuture: It's more of a Victorian TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
** The French are described as more or less pristine-European with some Islamic tinge (they've kept Marseilles the whole time though).
** China and Japan are united under one throne, but very much autonomous and distinct from one another.
** Brazil-dominated South America is filled with caudillos-of-the-month.
** As for North America, it's the Wild West mixed with neo-barbarians. Outside from Angrezi and Dai-Nippon outposts, civilization still exists in the form of Mormon enclaves and Californian city-states.
** ** In India, the Europeans have folded themselves quite neatly into the existing caste system (the train of logic being "the ''kshatriya'' varna are soldiers and administrators, the English are soldiers and administrators, hence the English are of the ''kshatriya'' varna"), and there is no social stigma attached to having Indian ancestors, though most Angrezi have, at most, thin Indian blood. Athelstane mentions that one of his great-grandmothers was a Rajput noblewoman, and there's an Afghan princess in Manfred Warburton's family tree. Otherwise they're both of pure European descent.
* FiveManBand: Using the group that operates together for much of the book yields the following -
** TheHero: Athelstane
** TheLancer: Narayan Singh (with elements of TheBigGuy)
** TheSmartGuy: David bar-Elias and Sir Manfred Warburton
** TheBigGuy: Ibrahim Khan (despite not being all that big)
** TheChick: Yasmini
* GenerationXerox: Athelstane King and Narayan Singh, and their respective fathers, Eric and Ranjit.
* {{GirlsLove}}/{{LesYay}}: It's mentioned briefly that Cassandra once gave this a go, but was disappointed by the result. In the actual novel, [[RebelliousPrincess Sita]] goes out of her way to make it look like she and Cassandra (her tutor) are having an affair. (This is quite possibly the smallest amount of LesYay in any S.M. Stirling book.)
* GoingNative: The British to the point of calling themselves the ''Angrezi Raj''. It's implied that this is only applicable to India as Australia and the Cape are described as decidedly more culturally "conservative" by Angrezi standards, dressing and speaking much more like their European ancestors, though Cape English is substantially inflected with Afrikaans and Bantu.
** This is oddly mirrored politically. The Angrezi parliament is dominated by the Whigs (The Rexin Kings are Whigs going back to the Old Empire) and the Conservatives (Tories). Australia always votes 2[=/=]3 Whig, the Cape 2[=/=]3 Tory, and India as the swing vote.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Oh so very much. The ''Kunwar'' is bound by his ''rajadharma'' for the good of the ''Angrezi Raj''.
** With the Russian, it turns into AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Stirling can't make up his mind whether to write the Russian phonetically or as a straight transliteration. The result is a garbled mixture between the two.
* HeroicSacrifice: Sita's bodyguard and [[spoiler: King-Emperor John]].
* HollywoodTactics: The Pathans, despite their claims to be [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy exceptionally skilled warriors]], fall into this a few times, from fighting to board a crippled airship instead of leaving it to slowly fall to the ground and reap the spoils, to Ibrahim Khan's comments which describe them betraying and robbing each other, taking prisoners for ransom to goad even worse reprisals over themselves, raiding the Angrezi lands although they know punitive expeditions will come after this and so on.
** the airships using hydrogen as the lifting gas have a nasty tendency to burn when they crash, which leaves little to loot.
** all of which are well-attested. The Pathans/Pushtun were historically a formidable bunch, but also natural anarchists, feudists, and inveterate raiders, traditions which flourish into the present.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Yasmini only comes up to Athelstane's chest.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Yasmini's precognition tells her the precise direction to point her gun and the exact moment to squeeze the trigger. She's got her eyes closed as she does.
* IncestIsRelative: The Dreamers are deliberately and forcibly inbred by their masters to ensure their talent is passed on. This includes both BrotherSisterIncest and ParentalIncest. {{Squick}}.
* InSpiteOfANail: Australians, Afghans, Jews and Brazilians are implied to be more or less recognizable.
** A number of real life figures still show up, such as Robert E. Howard (as an American tribal in the prequel) and Prince Charles.
* [[KingIncognito Prince Incognito]]: [[spoiler: Henri de Vascogne turns out not to be just a random French aristocrat, but the heir to the throne. And Afghan adventurer Ibrahim Khan ''said'' his father was a ruler ... he just didn't mention Dad controls not one but twelve villages ''and'' "a strong hill-fort with a town at its feet."]]
** [[spoiler: Lampshaded in that from almost his second appearance, and increasingly more as we get to know him, it is strongly suggested not only by the author that he is, in fact, the Crown Prince of France, but that other people have noticed this as well and are keeping quiet about it. In fact, in the ultimate reveal of this, Sita berates him, not for hiding this fact from her, but for thinking that she actually didn't know less than a week after she met him!]]
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: The favorite insult towards traitors is ''killer of men in the same uniform as you!'' No big deal for a RealLife 21st century man, who saw plenty of callous cruelty. A mortal insult in a world where [[ValuesDissonance "the different ones" were usually cannibal savages]].
* MysteriousWaif: Yasmini.
* MysticalWhiteHair: Yasmini is a borderline example, having very pale blonde hair and a healthy dose of precognition
* NatureAbhorsAVirgin: Read the rest of this page and take a wild guess as to who this trope applies to.
* OfCorsetsSexy: Somewhat averted, with Angrezi/British women having abandoned them for the sari. Frenchwomen, on the other hand, are another matter...
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Dr Ghose is a thinly-veiled Satyendra Nath Bose.
* PsychicPowers: Yasmini and her fellow Dreamers
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: The King-Emperor falls into this category.
* RebelliousPrincess: Sita exemplifies this trope.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Every royal character of any significance.
** Also consider the fact that while the Angrezi (at least) are nominally a constitutional monarchy, the current royals wield ''much more'' power than Victoria ever did.
*** This got an explanation [[WordOfGod from the author himself]]: the Raj grew in an environment of constant wars, punitive actions, harsh reprisals to impose a semblance of order, daring actions to retake cannibal-held lands, and this needed a militaristic and hands-on approach to government (with added flavor of reliance on technology and technical learning, since this was the only thing that gave "civilized" people the upper hand over barbarian cannibals), which has been held even after the pacification of the world. Rather [[{{Irony}} ironically]], the RealLife 20th century political system that grew in roughly similar conditions had been the Soviet Union.
* ShoutOut: Many, given the book's status as a homage to old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure fiction. Referenced works include {{Flashman}} and BeauGeste.
** The main character is named for Talbot Mundy's ''King of the Khyber Rifles'', and his friend Narayan Singh for a character from Mundy's ''Jimgrim'' series.
** Dai-Nippon is ruled by TheMikado.
* SteamPunk: Aside from the obligatory airships (see below), the book features giant mechanical Babbage-style primitive computers.
** The more old-fashioned among the Angrezi (along with some Indians) still tend to wear top hats and frock coats. French fashions meanwhile have hardly changed since the 19th Century (complete with corsets), though with a ''very'' slight desert/Islamic tinge.
** Also SchizoTech: none of the surviving empires developed modern small arms, almost 150 years after the cataclysm they are stuck with Lee-Metford and Berdan rifles. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in universe, as weapon development beyond the bolt-action rifle had been the child of the arms race between France, Imperial Germany and Britain, and there was no longer any German Army to oppose [[CoolGuns Mauser 98s]] to the Angrezi Metfords. The most likely opponents were either cannibal savages or primitive tribes, many of whom wield flintlock Jezails, much as many of the real world afghans did up until the 1970s.
*** Less justified is the fact that the Angrezi military still uses the Metford barrel system in its rifles, which was obsoleted in the mid 1890s with the British advent of smokeless powder. Somehow, in over a century of frontier wars, they have managed not to invent Cordite.
* TakeThat: If AlternateHistoryDotCom is to be believed, the Fall feels like an excuse for Stirling to dance on the remains of Europe and America. And you thought ''Literature/TheYearsOfRiceAndSalt'' was hard enough...
** Said forum is also working on alternative (and more realistic) scenarios, including bits like a surviving USA and a German Holy Roman Empire in Eastern Europe.
** scarcely more realistic, given the initial premise. The basic rule of thumb is that anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere where it snows in the winter has three to five years with killing frosts -every month of the year-, followed by a decade of lousy weather. You have to get south to where oranges grow before there aren't catastrophic crop failures for -years on end-.
* {{Twincest}}: Athelstane and Cassandra have a "close" relationship.
* VirginPower: Yasmini. But she loses it the only way possible.
* WaifFu: Yasmini doesn't actually beat up men much larger than her with her bare hands, but she is more than capable in combat despite being, well, waifishly small (she poses as a 12-year-old at one point). Partly because her psychic powers let her know, without looking, exactly where to point a gun and when to pull the trigger.
* [[spoiler: WeddingsForEveryone: Athelstane and Yasmini, Charles and Cassandra, Henri and Sita]]
* TheWisePrince: Charles (who's implied to be the ''OTL'' Prince Charles).
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: Powered by ''Stirling''-cycle engines.
** Which [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine are a real thing]], by the way.
** AcceptableBreaksFromReality: the Imperial airship ''Garuda'' is said to raise a payload of 60 tons and hold 1 million cubic feet of hydrogen. The RealLife ''{{Hindenburg}}'' needed more than 7 million cubic feet to accomplish the same.
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