Benjamin Thomas's Reviews > Stars and Stripes in Peril

Stars and Stripes in Peril by Harry Harrison
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's review
Feb 04, 11

liked it
bookshelves: alternate-history, science-fiction
Read in July, 2010 , read count: 1

I've enjoyed quite a few alternate history novels, including some by Harry Turtledove as well as S.M. Stirling. But many times I've been disappointed as well, because, no matter how interesting the hook is, no matter what tiny thing may happen to change history and launch a cool plot, it still comes down to good writing. A good novel still has to be a good story with well developed characters, etc.

This novel, Stars & Stripes in Peril is the second in the "Stars and Stripes" trilogy by Harry Harrison. This is an alternate history novel set in the Civil War era, with all the major US and Confederate historical figures interacting. In the first book, the "hook" was that Queen Victoria's husband did not live long enough to convince her not to enter the American Civil War on the Southern the British did indeed enter the conflict. However, they attacked the wrong target, hitting Biloxi instead of New Orleans to stop Grant, and so the South teamed up with the North to fight a common foe. Now in this second book, the war with Britain is over but Queen Victoria isn't finished. The US forces take the war to Great Britain, fighting for the freedom of Ireland this time.

I enjoyed reading this one, mostly because it was fairly simple and straight forward. The plot was interesting and the author has thrown in lots of historical tidbits. I like seeing people like Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman, working alongside Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and others in cooperation. That part was cool but, the overall characterization was lacking. I found them to be pretty flat, and one dimensional. The major historical characters always seemed to think the same and even used the same phrases. The non-historical characters came off a little better. But that was OK. I did appreciate the American's use of technology here, particularly the next generation of ironclads as well as an improved version of the Gatling gun. I have one more to read in this trilogy and I will definitely do so.

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