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Publisher's Summary

In the parallel world first introduced in S. M. Stirling's The Sky People, aliens terraformed Mars (and Venus) 200 million years ago, seeding them with life-forms from Earth. Humans didn't suspect this until the 20th 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 were 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 ran down. Without coal, oil, or uranium, their technology was forced onto different paths, and the genetic wizardry of the Crimson Dynasty united a world for more than 20,000 years.

Now, in a new stand-alone adventure set in this world's AD 2000, 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.

©2008 S. M. Stirling (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about In the Courts of the Crimson Kings

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Barry
  • 03-05-08

Story Without an End

After buying more than 300 books from Audible, this was my first listen to science fiction. Though the story was a bit choppy at times, I found my interest growing as it closed in on what I hoped would be a good ending. It proved to be a waste of time because there was no ending. In fact part 2 ended so abruptly and left so many questions unanswered, that I was certain I had forgotten to download Part 3. There is no Part 3! I suggest you not waste or money and certainly not a credit.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • carol and chris
  • 08-01-20

Great book ends suddenly

The series is good it just ends no resolution. The next book was set up and had potential. Don’t know why it was never written!!!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-04-08

Martian political thriller

Taking place in the same alternate history setting as the novel The Sky People, but 12 years latter and on Mars, I found the story to be very entertaining.

While the theme of the series (research into the Lords of Creation) was carried over from the first book, there was also an emphasis on the Marian political system and the "Game of Thrones" intrigues.

A prior review mentioned that they found the narration irritating. I personally did not have any problem with the narrators voice, or the characterizations. I had little difficulty telling which character said which line.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zachary Kaplan
  • 12-04-21

If you thought Venus was weird...

This book serves as an excellent follow-up to the previous story. As opposed to the tropical jungles of Venus filled with tribal natives and dinosaurs, now we have Mars as a largely desert planet with people who are remnants of a far more advanced society and have creatures that serve as their technology (ala the Flintstones). Once more, researchers from an Earth base are seeking to uncover the planet's origins, only to get caught up in political infighting when one of them falls in love with their guide, who is secretly an illegitimate princess. Everything comes to a head when an old threat from Venus reveals itself. The language the Martians use can be a little difficult to understand, but I think you can catch on quickly. Also, some people claim the book has no ending. That's not exactly fair or true; there IS an ending, its just an open-ended one that leaves open the possibility for a sequel that never came. Personally, while I would've liked a sequel, the ending's perfectly fine.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roy Banuelos
  • 15-04-18

One of my favorites

I got this book because I wanted to see how a story centered around mars would be like. What I got was a story that had: Finding a lost city, evading bounty hunters and the throne of an entire world (Mars) in the balance. My main complaint is that the story ends on a cliff hanger but the author has not made a part three to the series. Regardless of the lack luster ending the audible edition represents the third time I have purchased this book. I own it in playaway and hard cover book. Yes I like it that much that I purposely look for the hard cover edition.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • George Balfour
  • 14-02-09

I love this novel

I think this story is just brillant. I am on my third listening of this story. You should listen to the Sky People first, but this one is even better. Give it six stars on the five star scale.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pie
  • 30-12-08

Comic book time

It's like a comic book without the drawings. It also wants to be a hot romance. Ugh. Very thin in details, very glossy-ish.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • 19-05-08

Great homage

This book makes wonderful references to many previous Martian novels, from Barsoom to Heinlein. I found the veiled references to these other classics fun and clever. A good continuation of the previous books playing on Carson of Venus and other Venutian novels. I also enjoyed decifering the Martian language. When a pirate says, "The knowledge of the dead is lost to entropy." I laughed out loud, and got some strange looks. I also got a kick out of the opening of the sci-fi authors talking about how they were totally out of a job. I hope that there will be more, because as others have mentioned there is definately more to be said in this series.

1 person found this helpful