1812: The Rivers of War

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Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 2006 - Fiction - 534 pages
2 Reviews
Eric Flint’s acclaimed 1634: The Galileo Affair was a national bestseller from one of the most talked-about voices in his field. Now, in this extraordinary new alternate history, Flint begins a dramatic saga of the North American continent at a dire turning point, forging its identity and its future in the face of revolt from within, and attack from without.

In the War of 1812, U.S. troops are battling the British on the Canadian border, even as a fierce fight is being waged against the Creek followers of the Indian leader Tecumseh and his brother, known as The Prophet. In Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte’s war has become a losing proposition, and the British are only months away from unleashing a frightening assault on Washington itself. Fateful choices are being made in the corridors of power and on the American frontier. As Andrew Jackson, backed by Cherokee warriors, leads a fierce attack on the Creek tribes, his young republic will soon need every citizen soldier it can find.

What if–at this critical moment–bonds were forged between men of different races and tribes? What if the Cherokee clans were able to muster an integrated front, and the U.S. government faced a united Indian nation bolstered by escaping slaves, freed men of color, and even influential white allies?

Through the remarkable adventures of men who were really there–men of mixed race, mixed emotions, and a singular purpose–The Rivers of War carries us in this new direction, brilliantly transforming an extraordinary chapter of American history.

With a cast of unforgettable characters–from James Monroe and James Madison to Sam Houston, Francis Scott Key, and Cherokee chiefs John Ross and Major Ridge–The Rivers of War travels from the battle of Horseshoe Bend to the battle of New Orleans, and brings every explosive moment to life. With exquisite attention to detail, an extraordinary grasp of history, and a storyteller’s gift for the dramatic, Flint delivers a bold, thought-provoking epic of enemies and allies, traitors and revolutionaries, and illuminates who we are as a nation, how we got here, and how history itself is made–and remade.

From the Hardcover edition.

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I will start off by saying I am generally a fan of all of Flints works, he writes the happiest war stories you will find. His writing tends to be fairly up-beat, he loves over the top characters, and he enjoys not only showing the action and drama beats of his stories but also exploring the larger political and cultural landscapes of the worlds he creates. This last trait of Flint’s is both a blessing and a curse.
Because he writes so much alternate history there are a lot of interesting points to examine however he also tends to get a bit “wander” in his writing. Long tangents, dead end story treads, and convoluted setups that don’t really apply to the main story of the book can happen.
That being said while this book is very typically Flint the flow and pacing is much better then in some of his other series, the Ring of Fire jumps instantly to mind. A big factor in this reigning in can be attributed to the smaller cast in this book with only a dozen characters to track rather than the thirty to forty characters in some of his other titles. And the characters you do get are more likely to be integral to the plot limiting the unimportant tangents that can happen. The plot itself is also less convoluted and straighter forward, which is both good and bad. The story is easy to follow but he has some trouble pulling off subtlety.
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The Rivers of War is een boek dat boeit vanaf de eerste tot de laatste pagina. Het gaat over de strijd die wordt gevoerd tussen de Verenigde Amerikaanse staten en Engeland. Hierbij zijn ook indiaanse stammen betrokken, met name de Creeks en de Cherokees. De veldslagen spelen zich af bij belangrijke rivieren zoals de Chippewa en de Mississipi maar ook in Washington waar de Engelsen de regeringsgebouwen in brand steken (de brandplekken werden later wit geschilderd en zo is het Witte Huis aan z'n naam gekomen).
Interessant is de connectie tussen deze oorlog en de oorlogen die in Europa gevoerd worden tussen de Fransen onder Napoleon en de Engelsen onder Wellington. Deze oorlog op het Amerikaanse grondgebied wordt beŽindigd door de Treaty of Ghent op 24 december 1814. Het duurt echter nog weken voordat dit feit bekend wordt bij de strijdende partijen. Berichten als deze moesten n.l. per zeilschip over de Oceaan gestuurd worden en dat nam de nodige tijd.

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About the author (2006)

ERIC FLINT graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with a degree in African history. His first novel, Mother of Demons, was picked by Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His alternate history novels, 1634: The Galileo Affair, and 1632, received lavish critical praise. He has collaborated with David Drake on five novels in the acclaimed Belisarius series, the next of which will be The Dance of Time. A longtime labor union activist, he currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife, Lucille.

From the Hardcover edition.

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