SF Reviews background image SF Reviews logo image
Contact SF Reviews   |   Get the Newsletter 

Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Winter Of The World

Copyright 1976 by Poul Anderson

In Association with Amazon.com In Association with Amazon.co.uk
SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Awful (1/5)

I most recently read this on the 11th December 2002.

Thousands of years in our future, the second Ice Age has come and swept away civilisation. Eventually from out of the ruins humanity rises again, following a similar path from barbarism as it did so many years before, empires rising and falling.

The Rahidi empire, the latest to arise, seeks to impose its own "modern" culture upon all the people of the world. Its army is marching. It has taken the ancient city of Arvanneth and now approaches the wild Northern prairies of the Rogaviki. No empire before has managed to conquer these lands. The Rogaviki have a desperate commitment to their lands. Each clan, each homestead, fights to the death when their land is threatened. Victors depend upon at least a tacit acceptance by the conquered, but the Rogaviki can never accept defeat. Thus all previous invasions have failed.

This time, however, the invasion may well succeed. The armies are larger than ever before, they are highly trained and this time they will go, under their leader Sidir, to lengths undreamed of by the Rogaviki.

Donya of Hervar will lead the Rogaviki against the Sidir's invasion. Josserek Derrain from the far-off land of Killimaraich will dedicate himself to Donya and her cause, He's surprised that he feels so strongly for Donna, a primitive in his eyes. As he learns more about her and her culture he discovers that the Rogaviki are far from uncivilized and indeed quite uniquely different from all other people.

This is one of the hundreds of novels set in in some post-apocalypse medieval world, full of unrecognizable countries, strange names, odd customs, and military conflict. It's swords and sorcery (but without the sorcery) fantasy for the most part.

I've largely given up reading Poul Anderson's books - they are either this style of military medieval fantasy or, if they are harder SF, they're a little lightweight - perfectly good escapism for a teenager, but not something one would treasure as an adult. However, he rather surprised me in this novel. There is some depth to it, there's an intriguing mystery about the Rogaviki people and in the end I came round to thinking that it was quite a worthwhile read. Certainly Poul put a lot of thought into this novel and he's achieved something worthwhile and exhilarating in his creation of the Rogaviki people.

Loaded on the 27th December 2002.
Cover of The Winter Of The World