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The Kingdom of Ohio

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2.97 of 5 stars 2.97  ·  rating details  ·  928 ratings  ·  263 reviews
An elderly man living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the history he has spent years trying to deny-the tale of a young frontiersman who comes to New York City in 1901 and quickly finds a job digging the first subway tunnels. He meets a beautiful mathematical prodigy who speaks of the vanished Kingdom of Ohio. Against the electric, mazelike streets and tunn ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published December 31st 2009 by Berkley Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,182)
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Kathy
Although, as some of the other reviewers have said, the main characters are a bit underdeveloped, this is just a great story. I even googled it to see how much of it was historically accurate. I could barely put it down.

The idea is a unique one, and this is a great first novel. Even though Tesla, Edison, and Morgan are secondary characters I believe that they were developed much better. Tesla, in particular caught my attention.

Perhaps we are all missing who the primary characters are... I also l
...more
Neil
First time author Flaming does a good job of creating a nice atmosphere for a ripping speculative historical tale. He's got the ambience of period New York City, some spooky early subway tunnels under construction, and interesting historical secondary characters in Nikolai Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J. P. Morgan. He's got a nice tall tale about a kingdom within the early United States, centering around Toledo of all places. He actually had me looking to see if there was any truth in his story abo ...more
K. Bird
**I read an ARC of this book**

I'm from Ohio, so I had to read this book. And I did a report on the Toledo War in high school.

So the whole thing about the french aristocrat who came to Ohio and started his own kingdom made a vague kind of sense to me in the way that good alternate history can.

And that's what this book is: alternate history. Oh, the blurb is all like:

"After discovering an old photograph, an elderly antiques dealer living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the histo
...more
A. S.
There isn't an option to give half stars, but if there was, Matthew Flaming's (lol, what a name: Flaming, Matt) novel The Kingdom of Ohio would receive 2.5 stars. I guess I'm feeling particularly generous today and have rounded up instead of down.

Like the actual last King of Ohio in the book, Louis Toledo, Flaming has grand ideas and tries to do a lot of things in his novel. However that is the ultimate failing of the book: it tries to be too much: part philosophy, part sci-fi, part faked resear
...more
Kt.
This book was SO disappointing! I actually couldn't wait to read this book and bought it in hardcover. The premise was ambitious to say the least and the author was just not up to the task. If you read this, be prepared to read things like, "She shrugged mentally" a lot. Sentence fragments abound in this book. The characters are dull, two dimensional, and irritating. Mostly the book is just plain boring. For example, there is a scene where the main characters are in the subway tunnels under NYC ...more
Cornelia
This fabulous, creative and heartwarming time travel is an intriguing, mysterious, and intimate read. Realistic fantasy, with deep, fleshed out characters. Beautiful. It may not be some people's idea of Steampunk but to me it is the very essence of the genre. Love it. I highly recommend The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming, one of my favorite books.
Laura
Sometimes a book comes along that seemingly has all the elements of an instant favorite, in the case of The Kingdom of Ohio the elements are: time-travel, Victorian-era New York City, a very sweet romance and - at least for me - footnotes. (I am strangely in love with fiction books that use footnotes. Terry Pratchett is my hero).

Nevertheless, despite the presence of some very fine footnotes and the author's ability to describe turn of the century NYC in an enjoyably tangible way, this book faile
...more
Rebecca
The Kingdom of Ohio is part historical fiction, part pseudo-historical fiction, part romance, and part good old-fashioned time travel tale. At various points in the text I was reminded of the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, the works of Jonathan Safran Foer, and the 1982 television show Voyagers!. Although it may sound as though this book suffers from a serious identity crisis, Flaming manages to bring these disparate elements together, forming an original, thought-provoking narrative.

While others
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switterbug (Betsey)
This is an unusual genre-buster of a book. At the outset, it is historical fiction-- the story of a subway worker, Peter Force, who is hired to help dig the first transit tunnels in Manhattan, circa 1900. Interspersed with Peter's story is a fable about a pioneer family from France that ruled their own "Free Estate" in Ohio during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The Latoledan family *kingdom* was separate from the rest of the United States and the boundaries drawn by the Treaty of Par ...more
Kerry
(Read full review: http://entomologyofabookworm.blogspot...)

Another work of historical fiction I would not hesitate to suggest. With vague suggestions of the magical realism and New York focus found in Mark Helprin’s A Winter’s Tale, Matthew Flaming has crafted a novel of time-travel within the facts of history, a story of urban and mechanic power within the struggle for order, and a tale of love, passion and identity within the tangled mess of past, present and future. If you don’t mind a bit
...more
Emily Park
http://em-and-emm.blogspot.com/2011/0...

This is a difficult book to summarize or categorize. The main setting is 1901 New York City, though it may or may not be the same 1901 NYC from our timeline. The story is also set in Los Angeles, probably in the 1990s, where the narrator lives. Peter Force is a young man who has moved from the wilds of northern Idaho (Kellogg, ID, if you must know) to NYC to be a construction worker on the new underground railroad system. One evening Peter encounters a dis
...more
Stephen
I fully admit to only picking up this book based on the title, and even that was a whim. Being from Ohio, I figured this would be some meta-ironic thing and I would get bored and put it down. Thankfully, I was wrong.

What Flaming does here is so amazingly original, it's hard to exactly put down what genre this is. Historical Fiction? Sci-Fi? Steam Punk? It may sound confusing, but I assure you it's not. Flaming takes all of these concepts, throws them in a blender and pours out a delicious liter
...more
Liviu
This is a very hard novel to evaluate; in style it's an A+ being written absolutely superbly, a page turner with a great atmosphere in both threads of the novel, as well as in the snippets of the further past.

The execution is also well done though the main twist is obvious immediately, and the ending is great - some called it a cliffhanger, but I disagree - the story could end here and I would be happy, though of course a sequel would be great.

The main problem is the storyline itself, which is a
...more
Laurie
‘The Kingdom of Ohio’ is a time travel book, an alternate history book, but most of all, a love story. Set in 1901 New York City, I thought at first it would be a steampunk novel, since the young protagonist is working on the construction of the new subway tunnels, learning how to repair the machinery. Knowing from the book jacket that Edison and Tesla were part of the story, I thought that there would be marvelous inventions and electricity flying. This was not to be, either.

The story is very,
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 30, 2011 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Bill H
I was pretty entertained by the faux historical fiction this turned out to be. Enough of it is true... enough, but a lot of it has sent me running off to fact check, only to be chided for believing it to begin with. Tesla and Edison were real people, at least. :)

Part of the novel has a steampunk-friendly tinkerer-hearted side, and then it will have sudden emotional gutpunches like this, which I took the time to type up before finishing, just so I wouldn't lose it:

"Walking alone through the city
...more
Steve
I wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars. I really liked aspects of it, but it never really came together as a whole in a satisfying way. I think the idea was great as was much of the execution. Flaming's writing is especially compelling in setting up his protagonist in turn-of-the-century New York City. His descriptions of the work on subway lines, and the lives of the men building them, was the highlight for me.

Unfortunately, when he introduces the sci-fi elements of the time travel, his story-
...more
Elizabeth
I wanted to like this book. I really did. And there were parts I did like a lot—any book that sends me to the computer to dig around for historical accuracy/detail is onto something, I think. The fact that Flaming relied on references to actual books (I first realized he was using actual books when Walter Havighurst's book showed up in the footnotes, and as a Miami grad, I know exactly who Havighurst is) was a very clever tool in setting up the "what if" possibility of a lost kingdom of Toledo's ...more
Angie Fehl
I was surprised to find so many low ratings for this book! It's been one of my favorite reads so far this year! I saw in a number of reviews that many were annoyed at the length of the footnotes in the story but I actually found the backstory history pretty interesting. Perhaps it would have made for easier reading overall if these footnotes were instead made into sidebar-like pages that didn't interrupt the flow of the story, but I've come across worse problems to have with a book. I found the ...more
Christy Stewart
The premise of the book seems to be of interest to most of the other reviewers, but not I. I was hoping that because of (or perhaps despite of) that the writing and characters would make the book appeal to me; it did not.

Not that the book was horrible, but it seemed to be trying way to hard and had little depth. As if Flaming read The Da Vinci Code and The Time Travelers Wife and said to himself "I can do that" with complete disregard to the fact that those two books shouldn't have been written
...more
KyneWynn
Not what I expected; and I still want to look up some of the history to find out was is historically true, and what was fiction. Intriguing plot and time frame, and as I like time-space travel type books, I did like the subject matter and the history.

However, the writing itself was a little disjointed, and in places felt forced, to move the story along, and if felt like I was reading out of a history book instead of the elements of history being woven into the plot of the story. It took me quit
...more
Colleen
I'm sorry to say I really didn't like this novel very much.Matthew Flaming uses footnotes way too much for a novel.It was very distracting .I have no idea what the point of the novel was ,it really wasn't about time travel or a love story.It was a very boring novel.Won this novel from goodreads
Sarah
Mostly, I found this book to be dull. We have time travel, Tesla, Edison, secret kingdoms, the mystery of Roanoake . . . and I could barely convince myself to finish it. What happens when a philosophy major attempts to write scifi, I guess.
Robert
This is unfortunately an average read at best. The plot is not really unique, even if there are famous inventors to make the book more appealing.
The concept of time travel has a quite negative effect on characters, especially on the main character. While the author makes an effort to show us glimpses of their past, the characters are not really convincing.
The ending is abrupt, which is great if you like to meditate on a story after it finishes, however there is absolutely no resolution that woul
...more
Amy
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

This is a difficult book to describe. Part time travel tale, part alternative reality science fiction, part historical novel and part romance. A little bit of everything packed into a small book. The book is narrated by an elderly antiques dealer. Upon finding an old photograph in a delivery of antique goods, the narrator is moved to tell the story of a young star-crossed couple in the year 1900. Peter Force, a young engineer working on
...more
James
The concept of the book is incredibly intriguing. But I never really got into the book. It was slow, the mystery was easily figured out, and there never really seemed to be any real crisis in the book. Which is a shame, because with the background that Flaming laid out, and the characters he involved, this really could have been something special.

There's a scene with J.P. Morgan, where he explains the "potential" of time traveling, and the dangers. It's a deeply disturbing thing. And then we nev
...more
Caitlin
Peter Force relocates to New York City at the turn of the century and takes a job helping to drill the first subway tunnels. A poor newcomer to the city, Peter finds a room in a flophouse and befriends his fellow workers, but the city only really seems to come alive for him when a chance encounter introduces him to Cheri-Anne Toledo, a woman who believes she has traveled seven years into the future. Cheri-Anne is the last of the House of Toledo, a small independent kingdom that few know has exis ...more
Rebecca
I'm about halfway through this book, and don't know if I'll finish it. I would add a summary, but part of the problem is that the book doesn't really know what it is. It's vaguely set in turn-of-the-century New York, where a subway worker encounters a homeless but well-dressed young woman who insists she's a time traveler from eight years in the past, and she lived in the 'Kingdom of Ohio,' a part of Ohio bought in colonial times by a French lord. Then Tesla, Edison, and J.P. Morgan get involved ...more
Felice
The Kingdom of Ohio is a historical, time travel love story. On the reality side it's 1901 Peter Force has come to NYC and is working on the subway tunnels. Some of the powerful of the day Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan and Nicola Tesla make special guest star appearances in the book. The world seems to be on the cusp of all things are possible with technology. On the once upon a time side long lost Princess and math genius Cheri-Ann Toledo has just arrived in Peter's NYC from seven years ago in Ohi ...more
Cassandra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah Lucci
This book had all of the elements of a winner: time/dimension travel, Nikola Tesla, and alternative universe United States in which Ohio had a small French kingdom inside it that was overthrown.

It's told by an old man living in LA whom you swiftly realize is probably the protagonist in the story (set around 1900), though the math doesn't work out for his age. (The "reveal" that the author is the protagonist is waaaay to late and not surprising whatsoever).

You spend most of your time wondering
...more
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I grew up in Los Angeles and studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. I currently live in Portland, Oregon.
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“Such sentences always end in silence, no matter how they may begin--indeed, this is the very essence of fate: that which we never quite manage to say.” 0 likes
“They tell me we're living in an information age, but none of it seems to be the information I need or brings me closer to what I want to know. In fact (I'm becoming more and more convinced) all this electronic wizardry only adds to our confusion, delivering inside scoops and verdicts about events that have hardly begun: a torrent of chatter moving at the speed of light, making it nearly impossible for any of the important things to be heard” 0 likes
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