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Fifth Millennium Books In Order

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Publication Order of Fifth Millenium Books

By: Shirley Meier, S.M. Stirling, Karen Wehrstein

Fifth Millennium is a set of post-apocalyptic fantasy books by Canadian-American bestselling author S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier, and Karen Wehrstein . Psionics and magic exist but are not very powerful, and technology is similar to nearly what existed in the middle ages.

Sm. Stirling began the publication of Fifth Millennium series in 1985 when the first novel in the series, Snowbrother was published.

The second installment The Sharpest Edge was released a year later in 1986, which Stirling co-wrote with Shirley Meier. The same two authors also wrote The Cage.

The next novel in the series, Shadow’s Sun was written by both of them and also Karen Wehrstein. Shirley Meier wrote the 5th book in the series, with Karen Wehrstein writing Lion’s Heart and Lion’s Soul. As a note, Sabre & Shadow is a revised version of The Sharpest Edge.

In the debut novel, a nineteen-year-old kid must enslave a city or face death. She does what she must do to live, but however, the village is resistant. In the third novel in the series, The Cage, we meet Habiku Smoothtongue who has corrupted everything in Megan Thanesdoom. However, Megan returns with Shkai’ra’s sword determined to claim what is rightfully hers. In the fifth novel, Saber and Shadow, wizards, priests, merchants, lords, and thieves will do whatever it takes to gain power in lllizbuah, but two vagrants join forces to change the face of the city of lllizbuah.


In this first post-apocalyptic novel, we are introduced to Shkai’ra a warrior trained right from her childhood with only one specific goal in mind- to be the best in the arts of war. Now at 19years, she is assigned to a mission by the tribal elders to enslave the Mintzan city or otherwise die in disgrace.

The first book is an entertaining read, with fascinating characters and an ideal setting as well. It narrates the tale of a small but peaceful village living up in the mountain. This village is attacked by barbarians who then take it down and occupy the place. Much of the books narrates how the villagers deal with the occupation of their village and how the finally mount a resistance that will ensure that they get what is rightfully theirs. The novel is about the strong versus the weak; it is also themed on caring for people whom you should not, it is also about a tough and a rough barbarian who is foolish enough to fall in love.

Shkai’ra is the main character in this novel; she is a warrior trained to fight since she was a child. However, despite this, she is beautiful charming and manages to fall in love with the tough and rough barbarian. There are scenes where you will meet her and her lover playing twisty flute songs. Additionally, the novel also features sex and violence but though not graphic.

The author did a great job for writing this beautiful first novel that makes a good start for a great series. The characters are well crafted such that you will love how they interact with each other, and even relate some to your real life friends. The plot and the subplots are well detailed as well; you will love how the author makes vivid descriptions of places such that you can form a picture of how exactly this post-apocalyptic setting look like. The dialogue inserted in the novel as well are interesting, they also form a basis for which the readers get to know the characters feelings, thought and also justify the actions of some characters. The characters also mature through time, for instance, we get to see the 19-year-old warrior gradually fall in love, something that no one ever anticipated.

The Cage

In The Cage, we meet Megan Whitlock, a trade who has been through hell and a lot more. She was once betrayed by a subordinate who drugged her, went ahead and raped her and as if that not enough to the poor soul handed her to someone to kill her. However, fortunately, the person never died Megan but instead sold her as a slave and made more money by selling her. Now she is on her way back home, and she has got the company of her lover, Shkai’ra a barbarian who is native to the other side of the Lannic Ocean.

The last bit of the novel gives you a hint about the setting of this story. It is three thousand years after a nuclear war that is only remembered in traditional terms as the “earned fires.”

Megan is a lady with a harrowing past that continually haunts her. She was abused as a child and then betrayed by the people she trusted most. Then there is the barbarian girl by the name Shkai’ra who has been exiled by her primitive tribe in what used to be North America. She is comfortable in her skin, even though her background provides some strange twists to her attitudes.

Then there is Habiku Smoothtongue, a corrupt man who is deeply obsessed with Megan, but also once betrayed her and still wants her back. However, his own abused past gives the reader’s insights to the readers that justify why his attitudes are twisted as well.

The cast in this book is well crafted. For instance, Shkai’ra and Megan are both warriors; they are also smart and intelligent. Furthermore, the supporting cast is impressive, and the author gives them a back-story that helps the readers understand who they are and why they all came to crew Megan house as she heads home to revenge on the man that she ever loved most and the man who is responsible for her to be sold into slavery.

What makes The Cage a unique fantasy novel is the fact that it features two lesbian lead characters. The bond that exists between these two women is powerful such that Shkai’ra is willing to accompany her lover to go and get revenge on the man who sold her into slavery. The novel is dense and full of description that not only helps you understand the characters better but also helps you the reader get a glimpse of the post-apocalyptic world.

Lion’s Heart and Lion’s Soul

Karen Wehrstein’s two Fifth Millennium books can be summarized as one since they form one continuous story: the tale of Fourth Chevenga Shae-Arano-e, the child-prodigy warrior-general who is destined to serve as head of state of the mountainous and very democratic nation of Yeola-e, but also to die inordinately young—leading him to strive to cram as much into his few years as he can.

Destiny, of course, has other ideas, leading him into enslavement as a gladiator in the tyrant-ruled Empire of Arko at the same time the Empire invades Yeola-e, intending to enslave the whole nation. The Arkans make just one mistake, but it’s a big one: they let Chevenga win free. Those who have read Shadow’s Son will know what ensues, as plots interlock: in a quest to find Megan’s kidnapped son, she and Shkai’ra join the army Chevenga raises to fight Arko.

This story has the typical Fifth Millennium strengths of intricate worldbuilding, solid characterization and interesting relationships—Chevenga’s paramours include his fiery fellow-gladiator and eventual wife Niku Wahunai, who is from a culture that has secretly retained flight technology, and Arko’s greatest champion Kallijas Itrean, after fighting a crucial duel causes the two of them to fall treasonously in love.

But this story also adds innovations of style and scope: it’s written in first person from Chevenga’s point of view, and as such is dotted here and there with commentary on military and political imperatives, dangers and moral dilemmas, as well as broader human-affecting topics. The persistent Fifth Millennium themes of survival and power/helplessness are explored on an international scale.

Wehrstein wrote and posted a longer online version of Chevenga’s story from 2009 to 2013, and is now revising it again for e-book publication. Some reader comments:

“A meticulous, engaging, immersive tale that balances the epic with the slice-of-life with uncanny skill.” (Michael Thedford)

“A splendid fantasy story about leadership, war, loyalty … and the meaning of life.” (Ysabetwordsmith)

“Nothing I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot) matches this novel for depth or intensity.” (Daphane)

“Many times this story moves one to tears, laughter and deep mourning for the life he suffers. More often than once, we have had to remind each other that this is only a story…” (TLOU)

If you love post-apocalyptic novels that feature some graphic sexual affairs and violence, then Fifth Millennium series should be your next addition to your bookshelves.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Fifth Millennium

One Response to “Fifth Millennium”

  1. Shirley Meier: 1 year ago

    I have just begun publishing Eclipse Court, the story of Minis Aan, Heir to the Arkan Throne.

    Currently there are six books in the series and two more finished to bring Minis’s main story to a conclusion. Megan and Shkai’ra show up in Book Nine (currently being edited). Available on Amazon.


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