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And the Civil War continues

Vindication Book Cover Vindication
#3 Clockwerk Thriller
Thomas Webb
Alternate history, fantasy, American Civil War
Cobble Publishing LLC (4 Mar. 2019)
2019-03

Colonel Julius Montclair, crushed by the weight of his own actions, has abandoned his post and fled into hiding. Can his friends find him in time to answer President Grant’s call for help?Broken and a shell of the man he once was, Union airship Commander Julius Montclair has fled his home and his friends. The pain of old wounds, both physical and mental, wrack his body and mind. A dire new threat looms on the horizon, and his service to his country is once again required, but Montclair is no longer certain he is the soldier he was… can he rediscover the elite warrior within himself in time to answer the President’s call for help? Scarred by the loss of her mentor, fiery-haired Department of Strategic Intelligence assassin Cecelia ‘Scarlet’ Alayne thinks only of bloody revenge. Her emotions have made her reckless, but she’s about to embark on one of the most critical and dangerous missions of her career. Can she set her rage and hatred aside long enough to complete her mission and attain the justice she seeks?Political mastermind and former Confederate President James Smythe has fled south, where he’s recruited new allies and a new army. Emboldened by his growing forces, Smythe schemes to launch a military campaign that could threaten not only the Union, but ultimately the entire continent. With his plans of conquest renewed and the strength of foreign legions behind him, can anyone stop his march to Richmond to reclaim the Presidency of a Confederacy still reeling from his ouster?

American Civil War in an alternate universe with clockwork/clockwerk and unusual aether as energy source – light ok but dark so very much not.

In this novel we now have the Civil War being fought by 3 factions. The north, the South and the Confederate President – Smythe – who was forced out, who has now partnered himself up with Mexico. And some Texas Rangers – but not the good guys. Now in reality Mexico went to war with America over Texas annexation 1846-8 rather than being in partnership with some of the South, but again it was all about Texas. And the related border lands. Who held what and who ruled what. Mexico being somewhat annoyed about Texas being annexed of course.

Smythe is not a real character in our version of the War of Independence, at least on the Confederate side. There was a Percy Smythe fighting but he was a British Lord..

So with this alternate history in mind we have 3 factions. And 2 of these want Smythe gone for good – so Lee and Grant form a pact and peace in order to fight together against Smythe and Mexico. And so the political manoeuvring continues..

Scarlet plays a large part in this novel with a rather special gun and her ability to assassinate easily.

I found this novel not as interesting as the previous two, still a 4 star but I am losing interest in the Civil War and all the fighting. Would appeal to young gamers no doubt.

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Who really won the war?

Stalemate: Book Cover Stalemate:
Clockwerk thriller #1
SteamPunk, Adventure and Action,
Cobble Publishing LLC
(7 May 2018)

Clockwerk soldiers, airships, and aether bombs have ground the war between the States to a stalemate. Can Colonel Julius Montclair find a way to end the bitter conflict? Colonel Julius Montclair, elite soldier and the youngest airship commander in the Union fleet, has been humbled by war. He’s venerated for his bravery at the Battle of the Potomac, but he will carry the scars of that victory for the rest of his life. The loss of good men and women under his command continues to haunt him. Now, Montclair wants nothing more than to simply do his job and is more than ready to lay down the mantle of “hero”. That is, until President Grant himself summons Montclair to Washington. Montclair is tasked with a deadly mission: He must lead his troops on a clandestine insertion behind enemy lines to uncover a plot that may destroy the Union. But Montclair won’t be able to do it alone; he’ll need the help of the most dangerous and least trusted weapons in the Union’s formidable arsenal - the spymasters of Strategic Intelligence. Scarlet, a gorgeous young Strategic Intelligence agent and trained assassin, has the lethal skills and gritty determination required to protect her country. But can she gain the trust of Colonel Montclair and his men? Only by working together can they uncover the Confederacy’s plot and stop a dark aether-fueled weapon of mass destruction from erasing the Union from history.

This was an interesting take on what could have happened in the American war between the States. Now being British I don’t know a lot about this war apart from that it was between the Union – The North (mostly) and the Confederacy – The South  (mostly. And that there was a freeing of all the slaves – mostly held in the South that was involved. So iI was not concerned about the ‘real’ war and what really happened at particular battles etc.

You just have to remember that this an alternate universe which closely parallels ours but where there is aether to power machines, and that clockwerk – note the spelling – creates a large number of artificial items, mechanical men. horses , to artificial limbs. there are gears and cogs and everything you might expect in clockwork items, but often also aether power as well. These items are programmed by Babbage cards – yes punch cards as per weaving machines/early computers, or if we assume that Babbage’s and Lovelace’s work was completed and experimented with.

I liked the writing and found the characters believable within their frame of reference. and one especially good point about this universe is that women are powerful, skilled, and take part in everything that men do, including becoming front line soldiers and holding command.

I also love the ‘what if’ concept of this universe and that you are taken for a ride by the author’s imagination.

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