Island in the Sea of Time - S.M. Stirling

The whole island of Nantucket and the Eagle, a U.S. Coast Guard ship, were transported back in time to roughly 1250 B.C. by some mysterious happening they called “the event.”  Nantucket’s chief of police, Jared Cofflin, quickly works to restore order and peace to the island as they try and figure out what happened to them.  He starts organizing the people with the help of people like Doreen Rosenthal, an astrologer; Ian Arnstein, a historian; and Marian Alston and her crew aboard the Eagle.  The people appoint Jared as the head of an Emergency council and Commander Alston as an emissary to the forefathers of England.  Along the way the people of the Nantucket learn to start adapting to life without electricity, running water, automobiles, and several other modern advances. 


At first I tried to like this book.  A majority of the book I listen to on audio (I know that is a bit of cheating) and trudged through the rest as an e-book.


When I first started listening to the book on my iPod, the beginning was a bit enthralling.  It is interesting to listen to how people adapt and cope with not having modern advances to help them.  How people go from having running water and electricity to surviving off of whale oil and limiting their water usage.  How people chip in as a community to raise food by harvesting the crops by hand.  Finally, how people start trading and interacting with characters that have a different moral compass than the ones we were brought up with.


All of that was at first.  Stirling seemed to try and get as much of the survival out of the way as possible.  Then he introduced his social ideals into the mix.  Frankly I could care less if one of the characters is a black lesbian but he constantly pointed out.  That character becomes involved with a local woman out of what would be England later on.  Again, I want to emphasize that I don’t care that she is a lesbian but the way in which Stirling detailed their love making and how often he did it, made me seem like he was trying to push this book into porno land.  In any other book there may have been one love scene between the two but he seemed to put it in every chapter.  He goes into more detail and, again, does so more often than any other relationship in the book.  It was distracting and took away from the rest of the content.  Hell, I bet the book could’ve been a hundred pages shorter if he had just cut out a few of the love scenes.


Another issue that the Stirling has is he seems to transition around his characters at random.  In one moment he’ll be describing what is going on around Cofflin and describing Cofflin’s thoughts and feelings on a subject and the next paragraph he’ll be starting on what is going on with Swindapa in England.  And to boot, he plays hell with a time line.


Stirling also does a poor job breaking up his chapters.  Where other authors will have some sort of standard start and stop to a chapter, Stirling let his go on and on.  There did seem to be somewhat of a rhythm to them but I found myself wondering when a chapter was going to end most time.  These would go on pages and pages at a time.  In fact I bet I could say that he is the antithesis of James Patterson when it comes to chapters.


Overall, I do not recommend this book.  I found parts to be interesting and fun to read but they were so few and far in between that drudging through the boring stuff just isn’t worth it.