I may have been a bit premature on the whole 'barnburner' forecast. 'Ambush' was good but not 'Fall Of The Shell' good. The book mainly focused on familial relationships. Seems all is not well in the world of Stel and Ahroe and they are working through some marital strife. Stel has his life Ahroe has her own. The real trouble is that Ahroe's life includes another guy named Desdaan and also an attempt to bring all the peoples of Heart River together under a single banner, while Stel's life is all about the rediscovery of the steam engine. They end up going their separate ways (not in terms of a separation mind you just in distance).
Most of the real action takes place around Stel and Ahroe gets bogged down in politics. Ahroe reminds me a little of Johnny 'Goodboy' Tyler from Battlefield Earth. The part in the last quarter where they are attempting a galactic alliance.
So Stel sees all the action. He takes his newly reinvented steam boat (paddle wheel driven?) up the Heart River to a new Pelbar settlement. The Tantal don't take too kindly to this action and being a bunch of filthy friggin' swamp donkeys attack the Pelbar. The Pelbar seem to have gotten the upper hand because Stel also reinvents the IED. Or so it seems. The pig snouts kidnap his daughter and IT'S ON! Stel kicks names and takes ass.
Most of the action takes place as Stel takes on the Tantal. There's even a bit of action on the high seas. I looked around a bit and I think just maybe I've found the Tantal's god. They describe him as recumbent with a hand out. Also that he's made of bronze. Best match I could find is this guy. I think this is the Tantal god Blan. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Jussayin.
Also as of now I am about seven chapters into 'The Song Of the Axe' the events of this book follow Tristal and Tor on their journey to the north. This tale takes place at the same time as the events of 'The Fall Of The Shell'. Right after the events of 'The Dome in The Forest' in other words. This will be an account of a very long journey. I have only just started but I have looked at the map at the front of the book. Tristal and Tor travel up the Mississippi to the Canadian border and then head west from there. If the map holds true (and they all have so far) then the journey will take them all the way to the west coast of what used to be Canada and then south through the Pacific Northwest. My part of the county. Super Sweet! Hope there's some description my stompin' grounds a millennium hence.
More updates as events warrant.