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Alternate History Books   >   Books   >   The Stone Dogs

   
 

The Stone Dogs


Synopsis:
Themes:
Eras:
Prequels & Sequels:

This book is one of a series of books that share a common alternate history background. There are links between each of the books in the main series, but each is a separate story.
  1. Marching Through Georgia
  2. Under the Yoke
  3. The Stone Dogs
  4. Drakon

Related Books:

Review of The Stone Dogs:

The Stone Dogs is the third novel in S. M. Stirling's Draka series (see reviews of Marching Through Georgia and Under the Yoke for the previous two volumes). Like the earlier books, it presents itself quite seriously with faux quotes at the beginning of chapters, and historical notes about Draka society in the appendix. This book however is far more ambitious in scope than the earlier two novels (and most other alternate history or science fiction books), with a story that stretches over 40 years.

The novel starts in the 1960s. The Domination of Draka, and the Alliance for Democracy (which is basically all the remaining countries not yet conquered by the Draka, and led by the United States) are engaged in their version of the Cold War. Like our Cold War, this involves diplomacy, espionage, some military confrontations, and a space race. All these aspects of the confrontation are pursued much more vigorously than in our timeline, especially space travel, based around a version of Project Orion.

In my reviews of Marching Through Georgia and Under the Yoke, I've written about some plausibility issues of the Draka timeline, and the same general issues apply to this book's background. These same issues apply to this novel, but with the added addition of hyper-fast technological growth; let me put it this way - Project Orion and space colonization is in my view one of the most plausible new technologies introduced in the book (it could possibly have happened if we had poured virtually unlimited amounts of money in the same program).

There are also a few things in the book which frankly I found incongruous given the background. For example, in a head-to-head confrontation between two diametrically and irrevocably opposed powers/alliances, would whether a particular country might be legally sovereign in international law make any difference to either sides' behavior? Shouldn't any region which borders the opposition's territory be armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons - so much so as to be unconquerable except as a radioactive wasteland (especially since we nuclear technology is mass produced in this world)? And, I don't want to blow the ending, but I didn't believe it - it seemed like it was transparently put in to allow for a sequel.

Like all the Draka books, there is in fact plenty to criticize, but there's also much to love. They're an ambitious series, and this is the most ambitious book in the series by far - and you can't fault Stirling for that. Yes there's a lot of plausible questions, and arguably excessive brutality too - but Stirling has drawn a rich and detailed background, and manage to set engaging stories within it (many authors struggle to combine both elements). It is for this reason, that I recommend everybody with an interest in alternate history read the first three novels in the series (Marching Through Georgia, Under the Yoke, and this book). While I don't honestly claim the Draka books should classed together with George Orwell's 1984, they do share one thing in common - readers get to see a grim but fascinating dystopic society, and will find themselves struggling with questions like "Could it really haved happened?" and "Could it be stopped?"


   

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From Amazon.com

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Stone Dogs (Draka #3)

By S.M. Stirling

Baen
Mass Market Paperback (522 pages)

Stone Dogs (Draka #3)
List Price: $5.99*
Lowest New Price: $105.57*
Lowest Used Price: $2.99*
*(As of 10:43 Pacific 21 Sep 2017 More Info)


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Product Description:
The Stone Dogs is the third of four books of S.M. Stirling's alternate history series, The Domination. During the cold war between the Alliance and the Domination, Frederic and Marya work for the OSS as spies and assassins. During the Draka conquest of India, Marya Lefarge is taken prisoner. She becomes a serf to Yolande Ingolfsson, who after torturing her repeatedly with a neural weapon, forces her to become a "brooder" (i.e. a surrogate mother) for her offspring, Gwendolyn. Yolande also swears vengeance on Fred Lefarge after he kills her lover, Myfanwy Venders, during the Indian Incident. As both superpowers expand into space, they prepare different doomsday weapons. The Alliance's weapon is a computer virus ("comp plague") secretly planted in Draka military computers by spies; the Draka's is a biological virus called the Stone Dogs that causes infected personnel to go insane. Yolande discovers Marya, who has contacted the OSS, planting the comp-plague and allows her to escape with knowledge of the Stone Dogs. This forces her uncle, Archon Eric von Shrakenberg, to use the weapon prematurely. The Draka win the resulting conflict; however, their incomplete victory leads to Eric negotiating an arrangement whereupon the Alliance is allowed to launch its generation ship "The New America" and the remaining Alliance survivors in space are granted limited Draka citizenship.




   

 
 
 
 

 
 
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