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Buffalo Soldier

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, finds himself caught between warring religious and political factions, all vying for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari.

Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and they flee. But a dogged enemy agent remains ever o
ebook, 145 pages
Published 2017 by
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3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  394 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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K.J. Charles
Fantastic opening and fascinating characters, with a great set up, but didn't entirely work for me in the end. It felt like a section of a full length book: lots crammed in (alt history, semi mystical story themes, several plotlines and mystery) but I didn't feel it all had the space it needed to breathe and develop, and for the plot to work itself out. This may be in part because alt history is a challenge when you are ignorant of the actual history, as I am, so it took me forever to work out w ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

“We call them engineers. It's from the Navajo meaning...engineers.”

If you have ever read a short story and thought 'damn I wish this was just a bit longer.' Or if you have ever read a novel and thought 'there is a good story here but the page count seems padded.' Or perhaps you are a person who has been waiting for a steampunk alternative America with a Jamaican protagonist. If any of these statements apply to you then proceed to pick up Buffalo Soldier immediately.

This is th
Feb 27, 2017 added it
A fast-paced and well-written gateway to an America that could have been. In this book, Broaddus walks between traditional storytelling traditions and pulp, parenthood and pugilism—and creates a world and characters I want to watch grow over time.
Monica **can't read fast enough**
I enjoyed this novella, but I felt as though I had been dropped down into the middle of a story instead of starting from the beginning. This may be due to the fact that it's a novella and things needed to get moving quickly without the time and space for detailed background and lead up to the main part of the story. My fingers are crossed that this will be developed into more stories. It would truly make for a good series with full length stories. Full review to come.

You can find me at:
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the story of Jamaican agent Desmond Coke and a young boy, Lij Tafari on the run. Coke wants Lij to have a normal life, but because of who he is, that seems improbable, as there are many seeking his capture for reasons that are dribbled out over the short course of the book. The book suffers from trying to do too many things in too short a number of pages (146): the unUnited States are a bunch of warring territories with differing politics, steampunk devices and technology abound, a Pinke ...more
Peter Tieryas
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Swords don't have stun settings."
"You seriously brought a sword to a gun fight?"
Really enjoying the fascinating mix of alternate history, steam punk, and witty dialogue.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I really ought to have loved this speculative short novel but I didn't, and it bums me out!

Set in an alternative now, where the US is broken into smaller countries -- Five Civilized Tribes, which is a conglomeration of US Indian/Native American tribes (I believe), the industrialized Tejas and puppet state of Albion, among others -- the story follows a Jamaican secret agent, Desmond Coke, who has smuggled a young boy from Jamaica in hopes of keeping him safe from a variety of nefarious forces.

Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh dear, this didn’t really work for me. I like the basic ingredients but the execution just leaves me cold and frustrated.

It’s a shame, because the world-building is fascinating. This is a really intriguing alternate history, where the British Empire hung on to her American colonies but lost control of Jamaica in the Maroon Wars; where Texas has remained belligerently independent; and where the indigenous tribes withdrew from the eastern states to fortify the West against the white man. It make
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buffalo Soldier is an engrossing tale that takes place in an very interesting alternate America. Maurice weaves a tale that contains stories within a story and cleverly names each chapter after a roots reggae song. An alternate history story with a reggae vibe? Perfect. The story ends with much left to be told, which I hope Mr. Broaddus will get the opportunity to do.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great steampunk story set in an alternative America.
Vinay Badri
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017-read
Never really got into this book at all despite it being a novella :(. Found it hard to follow and there was a distinct lack of flow
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This felt like a short story that was too long to include in The Voices of Martyrs. Unfortunately, I wanted it to be a lot more fleshed out than it was. The setting was a slice of speculative fiction...what if United States was still controlled by England, Texas was an independent nation, and the native Americans were able to unify and prevent the westward expansion of the Europeans? Although, the world wasn't an exact was "Tejas" and England was "Albion", with a steampunk veneer ...more
Rene Sears
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. Desmond Coke is a Jamaican agent on the run, protecting a boy, Lij, whom everyone seems to want. Over the course of the novella, *why* everyone wants him starts to become clear, and how his young life has been affected by it. The stories people tell themselves and each other also feature over the course of the novella, which I enjoyed. (Lij loves stories, and people seem to enjoy telling them to him.)

Desmond and Lij have fled to Tejas (Texas) and go to seek refuge with the
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I think my enjoyment of this book would be greatly enhanced if I knew my US history a bit better. As it is, it’s an alternate history, and yet I can’t judge the cleverness of it and what it’s trying to show. I feel like I might’ve got into it more at novel length, even without more history knowledge; events might have come upon me a little less abruptly, then.

It’s definitely readable and pacy; that’s not the issue at all. There’s some great lines, including some bitterly funny ones (“We call the
Ok, so this awesome. It's an alternate history that is jarring and yet cleverly familiar enough to allow us to stay grounded, all centered around a wonderful MC with a wonderful voice. The world also features impressively detailed steampunk technology, particularly given how short the novella is. It actually reminds me a bit of Nisi Shawl's remarkable Everfair -- while Shawl's work is novel more developed and digs deeper, both works display a great confidence in their words and settings, and bot ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good writing, but edited oddly.

This book needed to be about 53% longer. While there are some interesting ideas in the world building of this story l, they are only sketched out if that. I felt like I had started reading somewhere around chapter 10. Additionally, the sense of time from chapter to chapter expanded and contracted in a disorienting way.

The prose was good throughout, and the use of steam punk tropes were used to good effect. The main characters were interesting enough that I felt dis
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
I was a bit confused in the beginning since the audience is tossed right in with not much explanation about the world or current political climate (which definitely matters), but this book was worth it. Well written, a fascinating subject.. and I definitely want to see more by this author in the future.
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ereader
Buffalo Soldier is a Steampunk novel with a Jamaican protagonist which (I believe) is completely unique. Reading words like "raassclaat" after a wild-west style shootout in a saloon or the main character Desmond craving Ackee & Saltfish after he took a ride on a mechanical horse made this book unlike anything I have ever read before!

Desmond is tasked with protecting a very special little boy called Lij Tafari and the story is about how they try to make thier journey to safety.

I really admire
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is an alternative universe story and a steam punk one at that. It's perhaps a novella--slender. But it's quite good (if you like this sort of thing.) I do, at least from time to time.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book from Maurice Broaddus. I fell in love with the characters, the worldbuilding, and especially the story in a story structure. If you're a fan of steampunk or alternate history, definitely pick this up.
Alexia Chantel
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
An impressive short with complicated characters and even more complicated world. The steampunk aspects were a fun touch and I thoroughly enjoyed Desmond and Cayt. At the end I wished it were longer, which is the mark of a good short is it not?
Buffalo Soldier is difficult to describe. It's sort of an Alternate History with steampunk elements? At first, I had a hard time placing the time-setting -- pistols and sword canes, industrialists and a Western-style town had me thinking it was set in the past, and it wasn't until I caught references to Regent Clinton's dalliances and James Joyce that I realised it's actually set a lot closer to our time period.

It's also a little difficult to rate. It's short, a 176-page novella, but the premis
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read

I read this as part of a Read Harder challenge, and I haven't read a lot of steampunk before, so I'm glad I found this one. The world building here: an alternative steampunk America with a Jamaican protagonist. I thought the story, and the resolution, wasn't as strong as the world-building, but since the world unfolds as our protagonist travels, I was along for the ride.
Becky Spratford
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Words That Describe This Book: Steampunk, Story About Stories, Engaging

This is another alternative history, dark fantasy Western. It is Steampunk but with an Afro-Caribbean foundation.

But what is unique here is the relationship between Desmond and the child. They are on the run, but there is time for the reader to learn about them and be lured in by their relationship in between the action. Broaddus' writing style engages us, draws us in to participate.

There are plenty of eccentric charact
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am interested in stories, the stories we tell each other and the stories we tell ourselves. Buffalo Soldier is about a lot of things, but mostly it is about the power of stories and the power of story-telling. On the surface we have a steam punk, alternate history, tale of escape on the road and protection of the golden child, but it is the stories within the story that make Buffalo Soldier sing.

“We do not create out of nothing but rather from what has been here before us. You work from a half
Text Addict
You know that thing where you have to look up from a book and stare into space for a while so your whole self can settle into being slightly different from what it was before? Yeah, that.
Jaymee Goh
Having read Steppin' Razor before this, I had wondered where the sequel would go, and I was pleased to see it follow the protagonist of Razor and his new ward. As an adventure story exploring an alternate steampunk North America, it was good to see a complicated Jamaica that has its own problems with sovereignty separate from white colonialism, which had been explored in Steppin' Razor and haunts the protagonist in Buffalo Silder. A vision of indigenous nations and how they deal with white colon ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
My number one complaint for this book is that it is too damn short. It drops you into the action, does an excellent job catching you up without boring you to tears, then ends as soon as a major plot point is over. Hello, I need a full 75,000 word novel of this. I feel that if I am going to whine about a book that is too long (there is nothing wrong with cutting your novella off at a novella length and not falsely attempting to fluff into something bigger - please remember that authors), I should ...more
Okay, can I first draw your attention to the cover art? Sa-woon! So pretty! There was a lot to love about this novella, framed by an imagining of what our world would look like with some very different boundaries and political structures: Jamaica as a power in the region, Native American nations of technological marvels, no such things as the USA – only the colonies under rule by regents of Albion. So many interesting new realities to explore! Unfortunately, I also got confused by the story, not ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating story about an alternate steampunk world where America is known as Albion and many of the states have become areas known with different names.

This is the story of Desmond and his charge Lij who both hail from Jamaica and are on the run to keep powerful factions from trying to capture Lij who is equal parts a young boy and also powerful and possibly turn him into a powerful weapon. When Desmond is shot while on the run and his wound become infected, he finds himself and Lij
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