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The Sunrise Lands is an alternate history, post-apocalyptic novel by S. M. Stirling and the fourth installment of the Emberverse series.

Plot Introduction[]

The Sunrise Lands is the fourth book of the Emberverse Series. It begins on October 30, 2020 as Ingolf Vogeler rides down from the Cascade Range into the Willamette Valley of Oregon on a journey that began on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. The books ends on July 22, 2021 in Idaho.

Plot Summary[]

The States


Ingolf Vogeler arrives in Sutterdown, thinking he has eluded agents of the Church Universal and Triumphant. After passing scrutiny by the city guard he is admitted. A member of the guard, Saba Brannigan, escorts him to the the Sheaf and Sickle Inn, operated by her father, Tom Brannigan. Ingolf has supper in the inn's common room. While he is eating, Saba explains the local power structure to him and identifies people in the room. These include Father Ignatius and a party that arrives consisting of Rudi Mackenzie, Odard Liu, Mathilda Arminger, Mary Havel and Ritva Havel. Ingolf goes to his room after eating and is soon joined by Saba. Several hours later, while Ingolf is again dreaming of the blinding light and the sword, he and Saba are awakened when three assassins of the Church Universal and Triumphant break into his room and attempt to kill him. Saba shouts a warning to others in the inn and breaks an arm of one of the assailants while Ingolf counterattacks another. Rudi is awakened by Saba's shout. He grabs his sword and buckler and enters the dark corridor, joined by his sisters, Odard, and Mathilda. They join the battle; in the end all of the assassins and Saba lie dead.[1]

Nigel Loring and Juniper Mackenzie, husband and wife, are visiting Sutterdown when the arrival of an emissary from the King of England is announced. The emissary is revealed to be Anthony Knolles, a former comrade-in-arms of Nigel who once tried to kill him to keep him from leaving England. Juniper formally receives Knolles, who brings an unusual gift: A living passenger pigeon, a bird that had been extinct since the early twentieth century. Later, as Nigel and Juniper are preparing for bed, a messenger tells them about the fight at the Sheaf and Sickle Inn. Juniper goes to the inn, where Rudi briefs her about the attack. They dismiss as improbable Sandra Arminger of the Portland Protective Association having sent the assassins. In the common room of the Sheaf and Sickle Inn, Father Ignatius writes a coded message to his superior at Mount Angel Abbey that relates the events of the fight and other general subjects.

Almost three weeks later, Ingolf finally becomes aware enough of his surroundings at Dun Juniper to ask questions and learns that Saba Brannigan did not survive the night of the attack. Rudi was called to meet with his mother and Ingolf. After telling Juniper and Rudi that he had come to the west coast because of a voice in a dream, he tells them about his background.

To Ingolf's relief, when he finishes his tale, Juniper describes to him the sword that he saw. Judy Barstow interrupts and demands that Ingolf be put back into bed. Rudi asks the meaning of Ingolf's vision, and Juniper tells him that he knows; his blood father was Lord Bear and at his consecration in the nemed, he was named the "Lady's Sword." Rudi tells his mother that, although he does not want to go to the east coast, he knows he must go.

At Mount Angel Abbey, Abbot-Bishop Dmwoski meets with Father Ignatius They agree that Rudi will go to Nantucket Island and that Mathilda Arminger will contrive to accompany him. Dmwoski orders Ignatius to participate. Later, Rudi tells Mathilda about Ingolf Vogeler's Journey. When Rudi is finished, Mathilda comments that his party will have to fight its way through the cutters. They agree on the members of the expedition: Rudi; Ingolf; Rudi's sisters, Mary and Ritva Havel; and Edain Aylward.


Sethaz emerges from an audience with his insane stepfather, Theodore Kaczynski, who is the prophet of the Church Universal and Triumphant. Kaczynski has made a proclamation about the use of technology with which Sethaz is fortunately able to live. Sethaz meets with Joseph Kuttner and provisionally re-admits him to his position as a Seeker in spite of Kuttner having allowed Ingolf Vogeler to escape; Kuttner's re-admission is based in part on his having lost an eye to Ingolf when the easterner escaped.


Mary and Ritva Havel cross the Cascades to Bend to acquire the heavy supplies the Quest will need; they also take Epona and two of her get. Mathilda Arminger and Odard Liu slip out of Portland Protective Association lands and head south toward the Bend area. They are overtaken by Father Ignatius, who quickly tells them about their mission which they had thought was still a secret. All three meet with Alex Vinton, Odard's vassal, who had left earlier with Mathilda's and Odard's equipment. Rudi Mackenzie, Edain Aylward and Ingolf Vogeler also cross the Cascades on their way to meet Rudi's sisters at Seffridge Ranch, home of John Brown. Mary and Ritva are at the ranch, but Rudi is surprised to also find Mathilda, Odard, Ignatius and Vinton waiting as well. The Quest is formed.

Rudi agrees to accompany John Brown's son Bob on a trip to sell horses to the Republic of New Deseret for mutual protection. As the combined group approaches the Deseret forces they find it under attack by Rovers who they later find have been equipped by the Church Universal and Triumphant. The Quest and Brown's cowboys mount an attack to relieve the Mormons; they decimate the Rover force.


Mathilda Arminger and Odard Liu are betrayed by Alex Vinton and taken captive by the Sword of the Prophet. Ingolf Vogeler is trapped and re-captured by Joseph Kuttner. Ritva and Mary Havel kill the Cutters following them and manage to meet up with Ignatius and Edain Aylward, who have Frederick Thurston with them. The party seeks out the commander and crew of the Curtis LeMay and convince them to help. Together, they find and rescue Rudi Mackenzie from the jaws of a Cutter attack. Rudi is staggered by an overwhelming feeling of dread, but he does not know its cause.

In Twin Falls, Sethaz feels a pain so severe that his eyes bleed. When he recovers, he announces to the generals the the Prophet has died and that the Ascended Masters made him the new Prophet. Sethaz announces to captured Mormons of the Republic of New Deseret that he is the "Scourge of God."


  1. Chapter 1