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Extended Audio Sample In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, by S. M. Stirling Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (562 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: S. M. Stirling Narrator: Todd McLaren Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Lords of Creation Series Release Date:
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In the parallel world first introduced in S. M. Stirling’s The Sky People, aliens terraformed Mars (and Venus) two hundred million years ago, seeding them with life-forms from Earth. Humans didn’t suspect this until the twentieth century, but when the first probes landed on our sister worlds, and found life—intelligent life, at that—things changed with a vengeance. By the year 2000, America, Russia, and the other great powers of Earth are all contending for influence and power amid the newly-discovered inhabitants of our sister planets. 

Venus is a primitive world. But on Mars, early hominids evolved civilization earlier than their earthly cousins, driven by the needs of a harsh world growing still harsher as the initial terraforming runs down. Without coal, oil, or uranium, their technology was forced into different paths, and the genetic wizardry of the Crimson Dynasty united a world for more than twenty thousand years. 

Now, in a new stand-alone adventure set in this world’s 2000 AD, Jeremy Wainman is an archaeologist who has achieved a lifelong dream; to travel to Mars and explore the dead cities of the Deep Beyond, searching for the secrets of the Kings Beneath the Mountain and the fallen empire they ruled. 

Teyud Zha-Zhalt is the Martian mercenary the Terrans hire as guide and captain of the landship Intrepid Traveller. A secret links her to the deadly intrigues of Dvor il-Adazar, the City That Is A Mountain, where the last aging descendant of the Tollamune Emperors clings to the remnants of his power…and secrets that may trace their origin to the enigmatic Ancients, the Lords of Creation who reshaped the Solar System in the time of the dinosaurs. 

When these three meet, the foundations of reality will be shaken—from the lost city of Rema-Dza to the courts of the Crimson Kings.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The splendid alternate universe Stirling invented in The Sky People has—quite justifiably—metamorphosed into a series…Stirling has hit an unexpectedly rich lode of creative ore.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Todd McLaren adopts the tone of an objective but interested reporter, deftly presenting long passages of explication without lagging.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bill | 2/5/2014

    " Great storytelling! Took an old-school Sci-Fi concept and gave it a modern feel. Lots of fun to read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mike Ratner | 2/1/2014

    " An absolutely brilliant rollicking SF adventure tale full of humor and non-stop action. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Travis | 1/27/2014

    " Like a for TV movie, but worse, uses convoluted words to express five-or-less-letter-word meaning. For example, lifted doesn't need to be translated to raised in elevation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Graham Crawford | 1/23/2014

    " A good fun read. This one seemed a bit more complex than the first one in the series. I suspect the author took some of the feminist critisim of book one to heart, turning the leading man into the passive love interest in this one. I appreciated the gesture, but it's still playing off tired old gender stereotypes (albeit inverted ones). I did enjoy the liguistic transliterations which provided a certain comic relief. The descritptions of the biotech were superficially interesting, but left me craving more information. A nice homage to John Carter, but really just one step up from an airport novel. "

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About the Author

S. M. Stirling was born in France but is Canadian by origin and American by naturalization. Stirling is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy novels, including the popular Nantucket series that began with Island in the Sea of Time and, more recently, Dies the Fire and The Protector’s War. A former lawyer and an amateur historian, he lives in the Southwest with his wife, Jan.