John Ringo: Emerald Sea

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John Ringo Emerald Sea
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    Emerald Sea
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    Фантастика и фэнтези / Боевая фантастика / Фэнтези / на английском языке
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Emerald Sea: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

Предлагаем к чтению аннотацию, описание, краткое содержание или предисловие (зависит от того, что написал сам автор книги «Emerald Sea»). Если вы не нашли необходимую информацию о книге — напишите в комментариях, мы постараемся отыскать её.

In the future the world was a paradise — and then, in a moment, it ended. The council that controlled the Net fell out and went to war, while people who had never known a moment of want or pain were left wondering how to survive. Duke Edmund Talbot has been assigned a simple mission: Go to the Southern Isles and make contact with the scattered mer-folk-those who, before the worldwide collapse of technology, had altered their bodies in the shape of mythical sea-dwelling creatures. He must convince them to side with the Freedom Coalition in the battles against the fascist dictators of New Destiny: Just a simple diplomatic mission. That requires the service of a dragon-carrier and Lieutenant Herzer Herrick, the most blooded of the Blood Lords-because New Destiny has plans of its own. The fast-paced sequel to There Will be Dragons is a rollicking adventure above and below the high seas with dragons, orcas, beautiful mermaids — and the irrepressible Bast the Wood Elf, a cross between Legolas and Mae West.

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Emerald Sea — читать онлайн бесплатно полную книгу (весь текст) целиком

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In the year before the Fall, less than ten percent of the population had produced children. Using straight-line projections, in an estimated five hundred to a thousand years, the last human would have closed the door on an extinct species.

Scientific progress had gone the same way. While there continued to be individuals who liked to “tinker” with the borders of science, the last major breakthrough, teleportation, had occurred nearly five hundred years ago.

Looking at both of these trends, the most senior council member, Paul Bowman, decided that Something Must Be Done. He had decided that humans needed to learn to work again. That humans needed to learn to be “strong” again. That implementing a work ethic, by limiting power to only those who “produced” for the community, would bring back the science, and art and literature and birthrates, which had languished over the past millennia.

Over the years he had gathered members of the Council who, for their own reasons, looked to him for leadership. And in the end, when the rest of the Council refused his demands, they had struck, attacking the others at a Council meeting with insects that carried a deadly binary neurotoxin.

Sheida was one of the Council who opposed him, arguably the leader of the opposition. And she, a student of history as most of them were not, had feared that his fanaticism would lead to violence. She had consulted with a friend who was even more steeped in the history of violence and had prepared as well as she could. Very little that was dangerous could be brought into the Council chamber. The toxic wasps had only worked because individually they were not poisonous; it was only with the sting from two different types that the neurotoxin activated.

She had been stung, twice, by one type. Others of her faction had died.

But at the same time, they had struck back, killing members of Paul’s faction. The late Javlatanugs Cantor, a werebear, had killed one, falling himself in the battle. Ungphakorn, a Changed quetzacoatl, had killed another, and seized that one’s key.

However, in the end, Sheida and her surviving cohorts had retreated. And the war had begun. And the Fall started.

The Council now waged war amongst itself with the energy that had once powered the society. The lava outside her home was the side effect of the massive energy beam being directed upon the shields of her fastness by Paul’s side, which had taken the name “New Destiny.” Just as other energy beams attacked the power stations under the control of her faction, which had taken the name “The Freedom Coalition.” The Coalition had attacked in turn and now virtually all of the energy that had supported human society had been used in attacks and defense by the Council.

This had left the rest of the world in a truly apocalyptic state. Food had been teleported or replicated for centuries. Homes were often in places impossible to live without ongoing power. Failure of personal energy shields had doomed humans from the bottom of the ocean to the photosphere of the sun. Failure of food delivery, or being left on a mountaintop, or far out at sea, had doomed others more slowly.

Thus had begun the Fall, and the Dying Time that followed it, when more than ten percent of the population of the world, some one hundred million human beings in their various forms, had died. Some, mercifully, before they knew what was happening. Others to falls or drowning or slow deaths from starvation and exposure.

And the lives of those left after the Dying Time were anything but easy. The world had descended to a preindustrial environment with farmers scratching a toe-hold in the land, and armies fighting a thousand small battles with bandit gangs to hold the line and maintain some semblance of civilization.

The most important single group who saved the remnant population of earth was made up of small groups of “reenactors,” people who had wrapped their lives around earlier times. There were small communities where people lived the lives of their forefathers, using hand tools and domestic animals to replicate the lives of the ancients.

Many of these people had been living their hobby for decades, or even centuries, and knew techniques that no single person from any period in history would know. They had used every trick, every technique, to save the lives of the refugees, an old word that had been forgotten prior to the Fall, who arrived at their doorstep.

In the area that had fallen to Sheida’s purview, the areas of the former North American Union, the reenactor societies had gathered the refugees, taught them how to survive, and in extraordinary cases even thrive, and slowly rebuilt society and government. Not so slowly, even. In no more than a year there was a core government, a constitution and a burgeoning ground and naval force.

The latter two were vital because in Ropasa Paul had been doing the same thing. But he was taking a different tack, establishing himself as dictator and using the power in the bodies of people to Change them into a form “more suitable for the current conditions.” His Changed legions, growing in size every time they took another section of Ropasa, had quickly overrun the entire area and established an iron-fisted rule. And then he had begun his plan to invade the Norau heartland of his enemy.

Sheida often wondered if she had been right to oppose Paul. On the face his plan was not nearly as horrible as what had actually occurred. And he was getting most of what he wanted from the war, anyway. Populations were booming since the release of energy and most protocols had caused women to become fertile again. People were certainly learning how to work.

But all she had to do was look at what had happened in Ropasa. Over the centuries the strictures against using Mother as a universal eye, a universal tool of coercion, had grown strong. Mother knowing your innermost secrets was one thing; a person could handle that if they were sure no human was watching. But everyone had secrets they didn’t want the world to know. Everyone had the occasional minor moral slip. Under the protocols pre-Fall, Mother could not be used for criminal surveillance, period. For the small, volunteer and chronically overworked police to track a criminal, to prevent a crime, to read a person’s mind, meant using other methods, other systems, rather than the All-Seeing Mother.

If Paul had taken full control of the system, Mother would change from a distant, uncaring, deity to one that was poking into everyone’s lives constantly. The way that Paul was going, She would be used for the most extremes of coercion. To Change a person, now, required direct, personal, intervention. If Paul had control of Mother, he could turn the whole human race into a series of separate, specialized, insects.

It was a just war, she thought, turning off the view-screen and going back to the myriad duties of the chairwoman for the Freedom Coalition, and the newly crowned “queen” of the United Free States. It has just cause, it has a chance of winning and the group against which it is fighting is clearly and unmitigatedly evil, for all that the evil, on Paul’s part at least, stemmed from “good” intentions.

Now, if they could only win it.


The horseman reined in at a side road and looked at the fields stretching to the east.

The rider was massively built, but he sat the war-horse lightly despite his armor. He was wearing a gray cloak fastened with a bronze brooch worked in the figure of an eagle, loricated plate — segmented armor that was overlapped like the plates on a centipede’s back — steel greaves and bracers and a kilt made of straps of leather with iron plates riveted on the outside. Tied to the right side of his saddle was a large helmet with a narrow T slit in the front while on the left was a large wooden shield with iron rim and a boss worked in the figure of a stooping eagle. The armor, the bracers, the helmet and the shield were nicked and battered but well polished and maintained.

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