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Bring Me My Bow.

David Flin

Not even a little bit.
#1
As seems to be the custom, given that Bring Me My Bow has been released, discussion here would be welcome.

It's the first of a series, with at least two more books in the pipeline, and another being worked on in the Writing Forum. There's discussion in that thread about the progress of the story, but I'm also interested in general feedback.
 

David Flin

Not even a little bit.
#3
Ah. A line from the well-known "Jerusalem" by William Blake.
Indeed. It's Book 1 in the Building Jerusalem series. Burning Gold and Arrows of Desire are next in line, with Chariot of Fire being worked on even as I type.

The last can be found in the Writing Forum here, under the title Nor Shall My Sword, Phase 3. I suspect there may be others further down the line.
 

David Flin

Not even a little bit.
#5
Lucky s--- they are, managing to avoid the Catastrope / Thirty-One Years' War and subsequently, the Cold War.
Whether or not WWI can be indefinitely postponed is a matter I look into in the Blog articles, under A Delayed Start.

The long and the short of it is Probably Not.

There were just too many points of potential outbreak; several had been missed, and sabre-rattling had become the order of the day. They are already in what is effectively a Cold War, with both Alliance blocks manoeuvring for position both against the other side, and against their theoretical allies in places of competition.

And, of course, for individuals, a small, unimportant incident far from home can be just as deadly as a major calamity on the doorstep. We'll see what happens to them in subsequent books.
 

Omund the Wooden-Leg

Chazadjin Marmaduke Brandybuck
#6
Consider me impressed. An alternative history book that is much closer to an historical fiction novel than alternative history novel. The setting: vaguely early Twentieth century. No mention of the July Crisis 1914 being avoided. None of the characters discuss it, let alone speculate about what could have happened had it not been resolved.

Quite sympathetic characters (except Lt. Furley-Smith!) with their viewpoints and sentimental storylines. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
 

David Flin

Not even a little bit.
#7
Consider me impressed. An alternative history book that is much closer to an historical fiction novel than alternative history novel. The setting: vaguely early Twentieth century. No mention of the July Crisis 1914 being avoided. None of the characters discuss it, let alone speculate about what could have happened had it not been resolved.
Thank you. Squaddies and Tommies and such like tend not to discuss matters of high state - after all, most of them don't even have the vote (no women, and no men who didn't meet the property-owner qualification, so pretty much none of the Other Ranks). What their Sergeant thinks is rather more important to them than whether or not an ostrich gets shot because it's hungry. That makes it hard to paint what's going on in the wider world, and one has to rely on painting in the backdrops (such as an officer asking Thomas about Home Rule, or seeing the use of Airships, the depiction of the State Schools, and so on).

I decided quite early on that this series was fundamentally a story rather than a history. That means we'll get to see developments through the eyes of the characters; I pull some of the old exposition tricks to show a bit of developments elsewhere, but I'm working on the principle that it's better to understate than overstate.

Quite sympathetic characters (except Lt. Furley-Smith!) with their viewpoints and sentimental storylines. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
I tend to try and give balance to characters. In real-life, no-one is perfectly good or perfectly evil. And yes, I'm a sentimentalist at heart.
 
#8
I got the book Saturday afternoon (EST) and just finished it. One of the most intriguing books I've read in a while.

It's very much a slice-of-life story, and although there's no real exposition about the divergence or other major historical events, I could easily see how the world had progressed along different lines than our own. Most prominently, the airship has replaced the airplane, and while women still haven't gotten the vote, it appears that Africans have gained more rights, with things like integrated regiments with African chaplains! (although as an American, I'm not knowledgable about integration in the early 20th century British Army, so let me know if I'm wrong)

The characters are deftly handled. Characters come and go from the story, but in all cases it feels very natural. After all, people come and go in real life, and that's been captured in the book. The various settings - the barracks in England, London, and the airship - are all written well, although I must admit that for most of the book, I thought that we would get to see more of Persia in the book, and when that turned out to be false, I was disappointed. However, the landing at Persia was a perfect ending point, so I have no reason to complain on that front.

My favorite scene was the first hemisphere crossing. My grandfather served in the (American) navy, and he once told me about a similar experience that he'd had. It was a couple of years ago, so I don't remember the details, but from what I can remember, it involved King Neptune and dunking people who'd never crossed, but I don't think there were any bears involved. I'll have to ask him about it when I see him again. Anyways, that provided for a nice personal connection.

Of course, the book did have its flaws. The main gripe I had with the book was the return of Lieutenant Furley-Smith. After he fled, it seemed like he had gone for good, and I was very impressed that the book could carry on with no real villain. It goes with what I first said about characters. I also thought that Thomas used his "suspicions" of the Lieutenant's return to get closer to Nurse Charrington, and that it would ultimately be a satisfying red herring. In addition, when he did come back, it felt forced and unrealistic. Now that he's probably been established as a permanent villain, though, a fun suggestion would be to at some point turn him into a darker version of Lawrence of Arabia - uniting tribes around him to bring down British forces in Persia.

There was also some minor editing errors - notably, there were several words or phrases that were repeated, and I don't think it was intentionally written that way.

Overall, it's an excellent book, and it's well worth the price. I'm eagerly looking forward to the sequel to come out on SLP.

For a bit of clarification, this is the only thing I've read from this series, so if there's anything from the sequels I missed, that's why. I apologize if this is considered gravedigging, but I think this is relevant enough to the topic to post.
 

David Flin

Not even a little bit.
#9
It's very much a slice-of-life story, and although there's no real exposition about the divergence or other major historical events, I could easily see how the world had progressed along different lines than our own. Most prominently, the airship has replaced the airplane, and while women still haven't gotten the vote, it appears that Africans have gained more rights, with things like integrated regiments with African chaplains! (although as an American, I'm not knowledgable about integration in the early 20th century British Army, so let me know if I'm wrong)
Many thanks. It's deliberately intended as a slice-of-life story, and so divergences (which build up, obviously, as the consequences of things start to pile up) become more noticeable. Aside from the airships and the women vote, the two other main differences that have been looked at and which make a difference are Home Rule for Ireland still being a hot topic, and Haldane's 1907 Army reforms having been gutted. The British Army has reformed in terms of training and equipment as per OTL, but hasn't in terms of structure and organisation. You've still got a portion of the army intended for use in trouble spots, and the more socially acceptable portion of the army never leaving the social scene (HSO in the book; Home Service Only) from which the senior commanders of the army are drawn. If a World War were to break out, there is some doubt how useful the HSO regiments would be. Actually, there's no doubt. They would be worthless. Prior to Haldane's reforms, that's the case. The Haldane reforms have been rewritten to suit. The training remains; all soldiers (not merely rifleman, but every soldier in the army) needs to meet minimum marksmanship requirements (which, if I recall, was 10 aimed shots in a minute hitting a 4 inch square target). It's unlikely that the HSO regiments meet that, but the Regiment we're following does.

The model used for the Regiment in question is more based on the Indian Army regiments of the period, where Colonels had a lot more flexibility in appointments. Integration of different races within a regiment was a thing, and while rare, it wasn't unknown for an Indian officer to command British NCOs in a Gurkha regiment. As for picking up local troops and incorporating them into the whole: in the British army, it depends on which regiment you're talking about. For one of the socially elite regiments (such as the Brigade of Guards), no, not going to happen. They would look deuced odd on Pall Mall and Whitehall. For one of the regiments that went to trouble spots, there was rather less concern about the look of the thing, and rather more concern on "getting the job done."

A Chaplain in the British Army was in an odd position. Technically, he would be attached to the regiment, but not part of the regiment. The view was: How could he be part of the regiment when, at the end of the day, he took his orders from God, and not from the Army's Chain of Command. They didn't have a rank - the theory being that they had to be able to speak to anyone from the regiment without rank being an issue.

Clearly, at the time, racism was rife. A Zulu or a Sicilian or whatever would meet with the expected comments about Zulus being lower down the evolutionary scale, and all the rest of that nonsense. On the other hand, the British Army, and the Indian Army in particular, had got very used to fighting alongside people such as Sikhs and Gurkhas and countless others, and soldiers tend to recognise the value of having a good soldier alongside you, even if their skin was a different colour.

Overall, it's an excellent book, and it's well worth the price. I'm eagerly looking forward to the sequel to come out on SLP.

For a bit of clarification, this is the only thing I've read from this series, so if there's anything from the sequels I missed, that's why. I apologize if this is considered gravedigging, but I think this is relevant enough to the topic to post.
My understanding is that Book 2 (Burning Gold) is due out in October, and Book 3 (Arrows of Desire) in November. This is obviously dependent upon publication schedules, but that's my understanding of the plan as it currently stands. All usual caveats about plans potentially changing as circumstances change apply, but I'm confident that the schedule will be achieved. I'm working on the final draft of Book 4 (Chariot of Fire), and hope to get that completed Real Soon Now, and into the system.

As for what comes in the sequels, well, it's more slice-of-life, and it's fairly certain that things will happen in Persia.

I trust you enjoy the rest of the series.