by Stoney Compton
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781439134177
Date: 22 February 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In world where the South stayed independent and Seward’s Folly never happened, the people of Alaska are fighting the Russians for their freedom. This is the sequel to Russian Amerika, and starts where the last tale ended. With the help of their allies, the Dena Republic is on the verge of winning their freedom, but a few challenges remain. To truly be free, they need to band with the other natives of Alaska.
Lt. Gerald Yamato of California was shot down taking out a Russian armored column, and now must make his way back to an allied airfield so he can get back into the war. He had a quick battle with Sergeant Rudi Cermanivich and now must try to get them both out of the wilderness. He is fortunate to cross paths with Pelagian, Bodecia, and Magda. Together they are going to Delta to get help for Rudi and Pelagian. Along the way they will fight Russians and the mercenaries led by Majeur Timothy Riordan.
Majeur Riordan has his own agenda in Alaska. He has been hired to help sow chaos, so that his hidden master can step in and take over. Riordan's ability to escape danger is uncanny and will cause headaches for those who chase him. General Grisha Grigorovich and his wife, Wing, travel to the Tlingit nation to offer an alliance. They hope to convince the Tlingits to join the new republik. The kwan leaders will not willingly surrender the power that they have held for a millennia.
This is the tail end of a battle for freedom. There is one major battle and large number of skirmishes. As the war draws to a close, people will have to choose their allegiances. For some the choice is simple join the Alaska Republik, others have a tougher choice to make.
The story is good and the alternate timeline setting is excellent. Each tidbit about the differences with our own timeline is very interesting. Here Alaska is a new land of opportunity. People can rise to the level of their own competence. With several points of view to follow, the pace can get a little frenetic. Although the jumping around can be a little confusing, each POV provides a critical piece to the story. The Riordan plot line is the one I enjoyed the least, as I felt it was the least critical to the development of the Republik.
This is the second novel set in this alternate universe. Readers should start with Russian Alaska. The prologue does do a nice job of refreshing readers on some of the action that took place in the prior novel. This is a worthwhile read for fans of alternate histories. This is not a more advanced universe. Technology is a few decades behind our timeline. Although the South winning freedom is part of what created this world, the CSA is not a focus. The USA and the Republic of California are the main allies as they try to keep other countries out of North America.