Island in the Sea of Time

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Island in the Sea of Time
Island in the Sea of Time.tif
AuthorS. M. Stirling
CountryUnited States
SeriesNantucket series
GenreAlternate history, Science fiction novel
Publication date
February 1, 1998 (U.S. and Canada)
March 1, 1998 (United Kingdom)
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Followed byAgainst the Tide of Years 

Island in the Sea of Time (ISOT) is the first of the three alternate history novels of the Nantucket series by S. M. Stirling. It was released in the United States and Canada on February 1, 1998 and in the United Kingdom a month later on March 1.

Plot summary[edit]

At 9:15 pm EST on March 17, 1998, the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts and the United States Coast Guard cutter Eagle, are transported by an unknown phenomenon (called "The Event") back in time to the Bronze Age circa 1250s B.C. (corresponding to the late Heroic Age of the Trojan War).

As the truth of what has happened sinks in, panic grips the island. Chief of Police Jared Cofflin is given emergency powers and begins organizing the people to help produce food for the island so they can feed themselves. Meanwhile, Captain Marian Alston takes the Eagle to Britain, with Ian Arnstein and Doreen Rosenthal as interpreters, where they trade Nantucket made goods with the Iraiina, which translates as "Noble ones", a tribe that has been steadily invading the island, for grain. The Iraiina are just one of the many Sun People Tribes. As a gift the Iraiina chief gives Marian a slave, Swindapa, a captured female "Earth People" warrior. Swindapa is freed and decides to stay with Marian. The Eagle leaves for Nantucket but takes with them Isketerol, a Tartessian merchant who hopes to learn from the Americans.

While the people of Nantucket work for their survival, the ambitious and ruthless Lieutenant William Walker [1] of the USCGC Eagle, decides that with modern technology he could become a king in this time. With the help of Isketerol and others, Walker convinces some naive environmentalists to steal a ship and kidnap Cofflin's wife so they can give the benefits of modern culture to Native Americans. Meanwhile, Walker and Isketerol steal another ship and return to Britain to recruit soldiers for their eventual takeover of Greece. Marian decides to rescue Cofflin's wife first and saves her after defeating an Olmec army. The bloodthirsty Olmecs proceed to gruesomely kill the modern Americans who sought to help them.

Time passes as Walker solidifies his control over the Sun People and Nantucket creates a new government and prepares to take down Walker. Marian returns to Britain with a small army and uses Swindapa, who has become her lover, to convince the Earth People to fight with them to defeat Walker. Both sides meet at the Battle of the Downs and though Nantucket and its allies are victorious, Walker manages to escape with his followers to Greece.

Characters in Island in the Sea of Time[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Dies the Fire – the "Event" that sends Nantucket back in time also changes the law of physics in the Emberverse series.


  1. ^ Walker shares the name – and some of the attributes – of the 19th Century adventurer William Walker, who for a time took over Nicaragua.

External links[edit]

  • Steven H Silver (1998). "SF Site Featured Review: Island In the Sea of Time". Book Review. SF Site. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  • Sample Chapters
  • Island in the Sea of Time title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database