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Beneath Gray Skies

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  37 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Beneath Gray Skies tells the story of David Slater, a young conscript in the Army of the Confederacy in the 1920s, as he learns power politics from the inside in the West's last slave-owning nation. He makes friends with a British agent, and strikes up an unlikely acquaintance with Hermann Goering, eventually finding himself rubbing shoulders with President Jefferson Davis ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 2nd 2009 by (first published 2009)
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Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
My primary feeling I had after reading this book was while I liked the premise I was never convinced that this wasn't an amateur novel. The writing is reasonable, in that at times there were many good parts-indeed nearly well done parts, but in certain and indeed most scenes especially in the opener where the Nazis and Confederates arrest the German politicos I thought very poorly done. Likewise characterization was exceptionally weak, most were two-dimensional little building was ever done and ...more
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
The characters are two-dimensional and some of the dialog is a little unbelievable, but that's not the point. These are comic book heroes pursuing goodness in justice against the most despicable enemies - Nazis and racists. Despite the "gray" in its title, there are few gray areas here - it's pretty black and white, and in that sense it is satisfying. The premise - what would have happened if the US Civil War had not been fought, and the United States of America and Confederate States of Americ ...more
Sep 27, 2010 rated it liked it
A friend and I are going to an author signing and reading for his next book, this month.

The premise is very interesting- the American Civil War never happens, the USA was split and in the late 30s, the Confederates try to join forces with the Nazi forces emerging out of war-torn Germany. However the characters were flat and I was often left wondering about motivation.
May 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Unreadable. The premise grabbed me, but the dialogue was so absurd as to be unendurable. The Brits, just as an example, speak some patois along the lines of, "Tally-ho, cheerio and all that rot. Pip Pip!"
Mar 13, 2010 marked it as to-read
This is my friend Hugh's book. Every time I talk to him he asks me if I've read his book yet and for some reason other stuff keeps getting put ahead of it on my reading list. So I've added it to my "official" reading list to make sure I read it next!
Emily (Heinlen) Davis
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love alternate history books and this one was no exception. Well-written with a brilliant story, Ashton weaves real historical characters with a past that never happened, making a brilliant and captivating story that is hard to put down. A great read!
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once you get over the rather trivial nature of the split in history that inspires this novel (Lincoln was sick, so we couldn't have the War Between the States), it quickly becomes an engrossing and exciting adventure tale involving an industrially stunted Confederate States of America, a politically stunted United States of America, a dynamic British Empire where spying (the alternative to war) is still conducted by gentlemen, and a fledgling Nazi Germany. Actually, I probably should not charact ...more
Calvin Hecht
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it
The story's “what-if” premise of the the Southern States peacefully seceding from the Union in the 1860s and forming a separate nation called the Confederate States of America (CSA) and then some decades later forming an alliance with Nazi Germany is an interesting twist on history. However, the reader will have to take a leap from “what-if” to a suspension of disbelief if you are to enjoy “Beneath Gray Skies” by author Hugh Ashton. For example, you will have to believe that a nominally-educated ...more
Linda Rae
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A compelling rewrite of history. Suppose Lincoln had not lived to emancipate the slaves; imagine slavery continuing in a seceded American South for which generations of Jefferson Davis's led a nation with no industry but a geographically gas-rich nation without a market. Then add the Nazis, anxiously looking for a fire-retardant fuel for their currently hydrogen-powered air ships. A great story. The character of Christopher Pole was interesting, but not terribly authentic as he was very well-spo ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a historical fiction book based on the premise that there was no Civil War because Lincoln was ill and his underlings decided not to re-provision Fort Sumter and thus provoke a shooting incident. So the story moves quickly to 1923, with the Confederate States of American still existing.

The Confederate States of America has not developed technologically like the North, and their country seems to be under the control of religious extremists. Germany and the CSA are having discussions abou
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
The concept was intriguing but the story felt too simplistic, as if the author ran out of ideas after the initial good one. The characters were flat and cliched.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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Mary Stewart
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Lester Muirhead
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Jul 29, 2017
Hugh Ashton
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: wrote-this-one
Jeff Pruett
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Jul 10, 2014
Megan Eagleson
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Matthew Jones
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Hugh Ashton was born in the UK in 1956. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, he worked in a variety of jobs, including security guard, publisher's assistant, and running an independent record label, before coming to rest in the field of information technology, where he assisted perplexed users of computers and wrote explanations to guide them through the problems they encountered.

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