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Thande's Retro Look at Sea Lion Press Titles

Thande

The End is Nigh / Eat at Joe's Cafe
Published by SLP
#1
Hi everyone. I've started posting updates on a thread over on AH.com looking at old as well as new Sea Lion Press releases - as there may be newer members who didn't see their publication the first time around, or the original story threads that birthed some of them. I may as well crosspost these here, where they'll be visible to casual visitors to this forum who don't yet have an account. Please feel free to sign up and ask questions about any of these books!


The Inaugural Thandean Sea Lion Press Book Review of Books (Trigger Warning, Includes Books)

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By a funny coincidence, the Random Factor (Like A Tractor) has drawn mostly books from our earlier tranches - which is good because that's what I wanted. It does also include The People's Flag, which is one of SLP's more recent releases, but - well, I'll just get right into it. (Click the links on the titles to go to the SLP page for that book which contains the links for Amazon and alternative purchase methods).

The People's Flag by Tom Black (Meadow on SLP):
1917. The Kaiser declines to resume unrestricted submarine warfare.
1919. France collapses into Syndicalist revolution.
1921. Britain signs the 'Peace with Honour', formally ending the Great War.
1925. An incident involving Welsh miners leads to a General Strike, which soon becomes the British Revolution...

In the opening volumes of this faux-history book, scholars from another timeline come together to write a flowery and officially-sanctioned history of the Union of Britain, a socialist republic on the island of Great Britain. From its fiery birth through to bureaucratic political manoeuvres, this book spans the years 1925 to 1940.

Based on notes from early builds of the Hearts of Iron modification 'Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg', and penned by a former 'Kaiserreich' developer, 'The People's Flag' fleshes out the backstory of the Union of Britain, and offers speculative detail on other radically altered countries in the 'Kaiserreich' universe.

Lovers of 'Kaiserreich' and newcomers to the entire setting alike will love Tom Black's ('Agent Lavender', 'Zonen', 'Meet The New Boss') history book from another world.

Thande's thoughts: I'm actually reading this properly for the first time right now, and enjoying it. @Meadow (Tom Black) started posting it here on AH.com waaaay back in 2010, but this version is obviously greatly improved. I particularly enjoyed Meadow's attempt at mimicking Jeremy Clarkson's writing style, from a TL where he grew up in post-Syndicalist Britain and is mainly train-mad rather than car-mad.
Fun fact: seeing the original thread was my first exposure to Meadow and at the time, I thought he was a filthy casual as a result of some of the odder 'writing decisions', not realising the scenario was based on the Kaiserreich mod for Hearts of Iron and thus he was stuck with trying to justify some AH-questionable stuff that had been put in by other people. Funny how things turn out isn't it, now he's running the world's first AH publisher and publishing my books.



Festung Europa by Jon Kacer (CalBear on AHcom):
What if the Third Reich had managed to defeat the USSR? How would the US and Great Britain have reacted? What would have happened to Europe if Hitler and his evil minions had gotten the change to pursue their mad schemes to Germanize the Continent?

If after an uneasy truce the war had reignited, but with the vastly more powerful weapons of the late 1950s replacing the Me-109s and Spitfires? These are a few of the questions that are examined in this landmark work.

Starting with an overview of the world leading up to the resumption of all-out war between the Allies and Nazi state, we see the all-too possible results of the Nazi Party in control of Europe for an additional decade and longer. This is followed by a detailed examination of the tactics and politics that might well have resulted in a WWII far more destructive than what was experienced in our time.

Written in the style of an actual history of the War done years after its conclusion, Festung Europa approaches one of the great “What Ifs” of alternate history in a unique manner.

Thande's thoughts: This book began as "The Anglo-American/Nazi War", written on this forum by CalBear . Yes that is meant to be the Nazi flag on Europe, but we want to sell this in Germany, where it was assumed at the time we weren't allowed to depict swastikas (I think this was later clarified). This is one of SLP's most popular releases, though its Amazon review score occasionally takes hits from Nazi fanboys upset that Cal portrays 1960s Nazi Germany as not only evil but laughably incompetent, having long since purged anyone who knows what they're doing. I can't say that's a reader demographic group we particularly want to appeal to.


The Curse of Maggie by Tom Anderson (Thande on SLP):
Since 1979 just four men and two women have occupied Number Ten Downing Street and the office that comes with it, all but one serving for many years. But things could have been different. By contrast, since that same year of 1979, Japan has changed its Prime Minister 14 times and Italy 22 times. What if we lived in a world where Britain was just as much a land of mayfly Prime Ministers as those countries, where no-one since Margaret Thatcher has successfully held the office of Prime Minister for a full five-year parliamentary term? A world where one might almost think that Number Ten was... cursed.

The Curse of Maggie is the tale of another history, a history where our memories of the last three decades are hauntingly familiar yet subtly different, their events shaped by the decisions of many more men and women at the apex of power — but never for very long.

Thande's thoughts: First posted on AH.com. The first of the books on this list by MOI! My first 'proper' British political TL, after a couple of failed attempts. I picked the title to be deliberately controversial, of course. I really enjoyed doing the worldbuilding in this one, with butterflies stemming from John Major cracking down on paparazzi after they drive Princess Diana to suicide - which saves the careers of some public figures, but also means investigative journalists don't find out a number of abusers and scandals. And yes, the "four men and two women" line in the blurb has now been obsoleted by Events!


Making Murder Sound Respectable by Bob Mumby (er, Mumby on SLP):
“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

The Fascist and Communist dictatorships left a bloody stain on the 20th Century, leaving tens of millions dead in their wake and a bitter taste in the mouth for hundreds of millions more when they encounter those ideologies. But what if they had never got the opportunity to do that damage?

A world where the Russian Revolution didn’t produce a Communist superpower, and Hitler never found success at the ballot box. A world where the political fears and tensions of the 1930s continued, unmolested by the pressures of total global war.

In Making Murder Sound Respectable, Bob Mumby explores this world through a very different British election night, from the perspective of a group of students watching the results on television. While they worry about what kind of curry they want, events unfold in the background that reveal a glimpse of a radically different world. Communist and Fascist thugs clash in the streets, and foreign commentators pontificate on whether the Union Party has strayed too far from Oswald Mosley’s principles, while far from Britain’s shores the forces which have been contained for a century may yet be unleashed.

Thande's thoughts: First posted on AH.com. @Mumby 's first outing. I've often wondered what the dark side of the apparently unambiguously positive POD of 20th century wars being averted is, and here we see that there are downsides to certain violent ideologies never having been given a chance to discredit themselves. The election night framing device is great and provided inspiration to me. I just wish it was a bit longer!


The Loud Blast that Tears the Skies by Chris Nash (now writing as Katherine Foy; formerly Agent Boot on AHcom, Kato on SLP):
1908. The United Kingdom stands upon the cusp of a tumultuous century; a century of far-reaching political, social, and economic change. That change will accelerate rapidly within a few short years, as Liberals found the welfare state and reform the British constitution, and as a Sarajevo gunman plunges the world into total war.

But what if the meteor that harmlessly crashed into remote Siberian forest in the summer of 1908, had instead brought death and destruction to Edwardian London? What if the British Empire, at the height of her confidence and hubris, lost both her capital and her government? What kind of world would have emerged?

In The Loud Blast That Tears The Skies, Chris Nash explores a world where First World War generals rebuilt a shattered Britain, where blood is shed not in the fields of Flanders, but in the streets of London and Glasgow. A world where German engineering put a man on the Moon, and threatens mankind with annihilation. A world where British diaspora preach libertarianism from the American west, and where old Russian revolutionaries are fêted in exile. Told from the perspective of a British political history, it is the tale of a world whose leaders are very different from those we knew – but yet who are sometimes strangely familiar.

Thande's thoughts: First posted on AH.com. This is a great idea for a TL and a good way of constructing it - a mix of the 'leaders list' format with asides in between. I actually saw this very POD discussed by Prof Simon Conway Morris during the Christmas Lectures of I think 1995, but I asked @Kato about (aboot?) this and apparently it's a coincidence. It was also an inspiration to me for "The Twilight's Last Gleaming" which we'll cover later.


~~~

I hope you enjoyed this inaugural rundown - please feel free to ask questions here about any of these books!
 
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Thande

The End is Nigh / Eat at Joe's Cafe
Published by SLP
#6
The next choices by my Random Factor (Like a Tractor) are two books out of AndyC's Fourth Lectern duology and EdT's Fight and Be Right series - so I'll do the whole of those at once now. Two very different series, but both excellent.

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The Fight and Be Right Series by Ed Thomas ( @EdT on AHcom)

Fight and Be Right
Winston Churchill remains one of the most famous figures in modern history.

But if you had asked about Churchill in the late nineteenth century, another political giant would come to mind, one almost entirely forgotten today. Like Winston, he had the ability to coin a memorable phrase and make a great speech; like Winston, he was also a mercurial opportunist with a fondness for drink who delighted in irritating his more genteel colleagues.

Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father, had all of his son’s gifts, perhaps even more; but on the few occasions when history remembers him at all, it is as a tragic figure who died early and never quite fulfilled his vast potential.

So, what if?

In Fight and Be Right, Ed Thomas explores the other Churchill as he shatters the British party system, causes shockwaves in Europe, and brings about a very different 20th century…


The World of Fight and Be Right
In Fight and Be Right, Ed Thomas charted the alternative political career of Lord Randolph Churchill. But what about the strange world that resulted from his dramatic entry and departure from the political stage?

From the ruined streets and totalitarian oppression of Syndicalist London to the Russian ‘Robots’, and from the Jewish homeland in Australia to Longwood, Florida, home of the American motion picture industry, The World of Fight and Be Right explores a completely different, yet strangely familiar, 20th century.


The Blue Lotus
In Fight and Be Right and The World of Fight and Be Right, Ed Thomas explored the strange parallel history that resulted from the unlikely political success of Winston Churchill’s father. There are many stories to be told in this world. This is one of them.

It’s 1934, and as war rages across the globe the city of Shanghai preserves an uneasy neutrality between the rival alliances- until a young journalist is brutally murdered. Can the killer be brought to justice, or is the truth about his death too dangerous to be exposed?

Thande's thoughts: This series is rightly seen as the acme of alternate history. A wonderfully well-developed world evolving in startlingly unforeseen ways, with plenty of fun references for the discerning reader. The trademark of Ed's AH style, which I like to bring up, is to describe an absurdly implausible event and then go to a footnote saying "all of this is OTL so far". The Fight and Be Right books are both an entertaining insight into the late Victorian period and a thought-provoking study of just how different familiar 20th century personalities would have been in a different world. As explored in "The World of", some figures who bestrode the world like colossi in OTL are obscure criminals in TTL - and vice versa. "The World of" sees American journalist Benny Moss (and the reader really feels he or she can pat him- or herself on the back when he or she works out who that is!) interviewing various prominent figures of the peaceful year of 1940 following a great war, such as French President Alphonse Capone, exiled British Royalist 'Blue' leader Harold Macmillan, and the leaders of the Russian 'Robot' movement (which doesn't mean what you think it means!)

Aside from the sheer obscurity of his PODs, Ed's other trademark, as also seen in "A Greater Britain", is to pull the rug out from under the reader. One reads the 1890s chapters of a more successful Randolph Churchill becoming PM and going from strength to strength, taking the British Empire to a successful victorious war over General Boulanger's France - but one can never forget the framing device which tells us that, forty years later, things are looking quite different, and soon all that pink on the map will be a decidedly darker shade of red...

A word of warning that "The Blue Lotus" is a VERY short story, and while it has a commeasurately very low price, SLP would likely not release works of that length as an individual purchase anymore. With that caveat, I highly recommend the whole series.



The Fourth Lectern Series by Andy Cooke ( @AndyC on AHcom)

The Fourth Lectern
What if UKIP were given a lectern in the debates in 2010?

They weren’t, of course. Not in our world. But in a world very similar to our own, where the tiniest of changes happened, they were. And things turned out rather differently.

Ahead of the United Kingdom’s General Election in 2015, the populist right-wing, Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (commonly known as UKIP) was big news. What if their surge had happened earlier, in the dying days of a Labour Government?

What if four-party politics had taken hold in the last election, in the last moments before the campaign began?

What if the BBC, in attempting to close down arguments over whether the SNP and Plaid Cymru should be in the debates without excluding the Liberal Democrats, accidentally opened the door to UKIP?

The campaign would have been rather different. Election night more so. And the aftermath?

Andy Cooke’s counterfactual of a four-way election depicts a world eerily similar to our own.


The Fifth Lectern
What if UKIP were given a lectern in the debates in 2010?

That was the starting point of The Fourth Lectern. That book covered the few weeks around the alternative 2010 General Election, but what would have happened next?

In The Fourth Lectern, the door for the UKIP surge opened in 2010, just before the General Election that year, rather than a few years after it, as in our world. The resulting Government was fragile and a new election seemed inevitable – but was it? For how long could the embattled Prime Minister eke out his time? How long would it be until the next General Election?

And when it was to come around – well, the rules for having a lectern at the debates now seemed clear. And another Party wanted in…

In this full-length sequel to The Fourth Lectern, Andy Cooke continues his story of a world that – had a few ballot boxes arrived on time on a snowy December in 2007 – could have been ours.

See also: An Introduction to the Lectern series (a free-to-read article written by Andy about his thought processes when writing the books - try reading this if you're not sure whether to buy yet)


Thande's thoughts: Andy's a victim of his own prophetic success. These fantastic political thrillers were written in 2011/2012 and imagined the UK political landscape changing rapidly when the then relatively obscure party UKIP manage to inviegle their way into the inaugural British election debates of 2010. This then, however, proceeded to actually happen in 2013-2015, meaning the books are very impressive for those of us who read them BEFORE then, but newer readers may not be able to appreciate just how groundbreaking they were. But this doesn't really matter, because the books are still full of interesting plot twists and turns and well-realised 'characters'. Andy captures the personalities of major British political figures of the last decade very well here, many of whom remain relevant today for non-British readers who want to familiarise themselves with our recent political upheavals. In particular, a common joke is that when Andy has David Cameron outline his 'Big Society' political philosophy at the end of the first book, he does it more fluently than the real Cameron himself ever did! As for the outcomes of the elections in the books - do you want to see what happens when a First Past The Post voting system is strained to its limit? Then read on!


I hope you have enjoyed this Weekly Update of SLP's Catalogue. See you next Saturday!
 

Japhy

You're a real cold sonofabitch, Gunga Din
Published by SLP
Location
Albany, NY
Pronouns
He/Him
#15
I don't think it was bad (um, spoilers, I should have kept you in suspense, clearly). Actually wondered why you haven't put out more, although obviously no pressure.
I've had a busy few years.

Also I'm a hack and a fraud.
 

Thande

The End is Nigh / Eat at Joe's Cafe
Published by SLP
#16
NB these are aimed at the AH.com audience hence the AH.com references - I've given up trying to take these out for the posts here, just bear that in mind.



It's that time again lads and lasses, so let's unleash the Random Factor (Like a Tractor) and see what it pulls from the Sea Lion Press archives today!

As before, click the links to go to the SLP pages if you want to see purchasing options on any of these books.

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Timewreck Titanic by Rhys B. Davies (@TB3 on AHcom)
April 14th 2012:

A fleet of ships have gathered in the North Atlantic to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the most famous maritime disaster of all history. Suddenly, a pulse of light engulfs several of the ships, who find themselves on an open ocean dotted with icebergs. Desperately trying to make contact with the outside world, they detect no satellite or radio signals, except for a single vessel just off to the north, who is sending out messages of distress in archaic Morse code.

Her name is the RMS Titanic. She has struck an iceberg and is sinking.

Displaced a century into the past, the ships of the Titanic Memorial Fleet find themselves suddenly intervening in the very disaster that they had gathered to remember. Can they change the outcome of this night? Should they even try? What will be the consequences of introducing modern ideas and technologies into a world ill-prepared to handle them, on the brink of a century of catastrophic war and change?

And can they ever go home?
Thande's thoughts: This is a really good book. And a really long book. Seeing the paperback on Meadow's shelves was an experience, I'm telling you. It takes an interesting time travel / ISOT concept and really runs with it. You don't have to be a Titanic-head (of which we seem to have a demographically implausible number on the SLP forums) to enjoy this book, although it probably helps, with lots of nods to bits of trivia. It's got a lot of spirit and feeling to it, though I can't go into detail without spoiling plot points. A few things feel slightly contrived for drama in the final part of the book, but it really doesn't matter, we enjoy the ride. The writer's also not afraid to tackle social issues, which naturally has led to a range of Amazon review scores because there is a appears to be a negative correlation between intelligence and willingness to post Amazon reviews, but I thought he did it rather sensitively. Anyway, highly recommended not just as a good AH book or a good time travel book or a good Titanic book, but as - a good book.

Bearfish by John O'Brien (@Haggis on AHcom)
In January 1911, President Taft signed The Useful Animals Appropriation Act, and within months, the first hippopotomi arrived on the Calcasieu River.

In real life, none of this happened. But in Bearfish, John O'Brien offers a deep, amusing and often moving picture of an America forever altered by the introduction of one fateful animal that Americans chose to call the bearfish.
Thande's thoughts: A crazy concept from the crazy mind of Haggis? Well, as so often is the case in AH, this bizarre idea is based on a real bill seeking to import the hippopotomus to Louisiana which only just fell short of being passed by the Congress of a century ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippopotamus#Invasive_potential A clever little niche exploration of AH which shows just how weird OTL could have been (and is).

The Boy in the Storm by Nick Peel (@Nick NWO on AHcom)
'The Boy In The Storm' chronicles three days in the lives of a family and a government agent in Nazi-occupied Britain in 1957. This moving and personal tale of human survival under totalitarianism is intertwined with the historical events, starting in 1941, that led to the current situation. Past and present come together to weave a powerful new story from Sea Lion Press.
Thande's thoughts: Originally posted on AH.com under the title 'Lancashire Life', that mundane title underlines how this unique work focuses not on the shooty bangy big panzers and V6 rockets aspect of a Nazi victory timeline, but the very real cost of human suffering for ordinary people under the jackboot. It has met with considerable critical acclaim and strong Amazon sales.

T'Yorkshire Assembly by Jack Tindale (@Lord Roem on AHcom)
Yorkshire, whether you think of it as 'God's Own County', or an uppity region with a Pennine-sized chip on its shoulder, is nevertheless a place with a firm identity, which for many years has clamoured for more autonomy of its own. In the early-2000s, it was one of three regions in the North of England that was mooted for devolution, but a failed referendum in the North-East, coupled with an increasingly ambivalent Westminster, scuppered proposals before they began. Over a decade later, no real progress has been made to give the Three Ridings the powers available to Scotland, Wales, or even Manchester.

In T'Yorkshire Assembly, however, efforts prove a little more successful. In a travelogue across the region, politicians, academics, and journalists review the impact of fifteen years of home-rule for the ancient capital of, um, Bradford.

From rapturous support to entrenched cynicism, from Buffet Bars to Barnsley, and from Leeds to London, T'Yorkshire Assembly gives a look at devolved United Kingdom that is even more of a patchwork than our reality.
Thande's thoughts: As a Yorkshireman I must declare an interest here. This is topical, as Yorkshire devolution is back in the news for the upcoming 2019 UK general election - with firm proposals from the Liberal Democrats, more lukewarm ones from Labour and Boris Johnson saying he is 'mad keen' for a 'mayor of Yorkshire', apparently nobody has told him that's a Lancashire phrase. Which says it all really. Anyway, this is a fun exploration of the idea of New Labour's devolution proposals of the early 2000s being more successful. I well remember seeing the upcoming Yorkshire Assembly referendum advertised on the side of buses in 2003/4 - which never materialised after the Geordies and allied tribes rejected theirs. This story was originally posted on AH.com under the title "Wheer 'as tha been sin' I saw thee?" - you can see why we changed it for the international market. I do take credit for suggesting the glottal stopp'd Yorkshire The (T') rather than a standard English The in the new title. Ironically, Tindale himself has gotten more sceptical about Yorkshire devolution since writing the original story (economic realism's a hell of a drug) and has added an additional chapter for the published version which takes a more critical tone.

Shuffling the Deck by Tom Black and Jack Tindale (@Meadow and @Lord Roem on AHcom)
They’re Prime Ministers. But not as we know them.

Once called ‘the most intellectual parlour game around’, alternate history doesn’t have to be about Nazi zeppelins and steampunk empires. In this dry and witty re-imagining of post-war British politics, the authors take turns to place a familiar Prime Minister in an unfamiliar environment. James Callaghan, the darling of post-war prosperity and Britain’s first ‘television PM’? Anthony Eden, the hero who won the Second World War? To say nothing of the place in the history books held by Margaret Thatcher…

A self-styled ‘bit of fun’, Shuffling The Deck is nevertheless a must-read for alternate historians interested in whether circumstance is more important than ‘great man theory’ would have us believe.
Thande's thoughts: As you can tell from the blurb, "Shuffling the Deck" is one of Black and Tindale's early hits. It is indeed a 'bit of fun', taking the OTL Prime Ministers and changing their order and time period, but it also has a serious point behind it. It's a reminder that the image we have of someone's historical persona is very much driven by the circumstances in which they happen to find themselves. For example, someone who we think of as a great war leader might be remembered as a dull disappointment to people in a timeline where that war never started. There's a lot of very clever, historically literate sidelong references in here. This one helped inspire a number of my own stories, and helped codify the 'expanded list of leaders' style TLIAD format.


If you have read any of these stories and liked them, we greatly appreciate reviews, both on Amazon and on Goodreads. Don't feel you have to give a fifty-page critique, even just 'I liked it, recommended' would be highly appreciated.


See you next Saturday!
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#18
Bearfish has arguably taken on more of a relevance in the past couple years as more on more emphasis is placed on the environmental impact of livestock, when you consider that once the bill allowing for the importation of hippopotami failed to pass the next option to solve the meat crisis in the US was the beginnings of intensive livestock production in the United States. Not just a phreshness factor, hippo ranches in the US south might have been in the long term more environmentally friendly even with the risk posed to human life if they got loose and became entrenched.
 

Thande

The End is Nigh / Eat at Joe's Cafe
Published by SLP
#19
Excellent reviews. Calling us an 'allied tribe' of the Geordies is however unforgivable and I'll be putting you on ignore posthaste.
It's used in the bizarre archaic/taxonomic sense of 'allied' which just means 'put in the same category as', I went for it specifically because I knew it would sound incongruous :p
 

Thande

The End is Nigh / Eat at Joe's Cafe
Published by SLP
#20
Entirely forgot to do an SLP retro book update yesterday. Let's send the Random Factor, like a tractor, to find something...

I'm only going to do two books today, because they form a weighty (though sadly as yet unfinished) series...

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The Bloody Man by Ed Thomas (@EdT on AH.com)
Oliver Cromwell occupies a unique place in British history. While other great, flawed figures of our past such as Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington, Elizabeth I or Henry V are proudly remembered as national heroes, Cromwell – one of England’s finest generals, and the person who arguably did more than any other to establish the foundations of modern Britain -commands no such unanimity.

Some still passionately denounce him as a genocidal dictator, a ‘prototype Hitler’ who introduced military rule to the British Isles, banned Christmas and dancing, and ruled through fear and the ruthless application of force. Others argue that he was a liberator, a noble foe of tyranny and oppression, and the originator of the British tradition for tolerance.

The one thing that can be agreed on is that it is difficult to imagine what might have happened, good or ill, had a certain obscure Cambridgeshire Member of Parliament had not been present to influence the direction of Britain at one of the most tumultuous periods of the nation’s history.
An English Civil War without Cromwell. Let’s speculate.

The Fiery Crucible by Ed Thomas (@EdT on AH.com)
In The Bloody Man, Ed Thomas explored what might have happened had a young Oliver Cromwell emigrated to the New World before he had a chance to make a mark in England. Now, the trilogy continues…

It is 1647, and England is slipping back into Civil War. The King has escaped; London is burning; mad Prophets roam the streets and the Army has mutinied. There are many Bloody Men abroad. As the world’s history increasingly diverges from our own and the British Revolution gathers pace, Oliver Cromwell consolidates his own power in New England, and casts his eyes over a new prize…


Thande's thoughts: "The Bloody Man" is EdT's third major AH work after "A Greater Britain" and "Fight and Be Right". Like those works, it unlocks strange curiosities of a period the reader may have assumed he or she knew well, but is full of surprises. The POD of the always-controversial Oliver Cromwell deciding to leave for the American Colonies before the Civil War is actually fairly well known, as it is brought up in the beginning of the film "Cromwell" (1970, with Richard Harris as Cromwell and Alec Guinness as King Charles I). Cromwell in the early colonies is an interesting topic, but the real meat of this TL lies in revelling in the bizarre circumstances of the English Civil War and its colourful cast of characters. Ed uses some of the lesser-well known ones to great effect, such as the mad false prophet Thomas Totney (AKA ThereauJohn Tany) and the "Ranting Slut of Stepney". Ironic allohistorical false-friend terms are thrown about with gay abandon, such as the pacifist Quakers becoming known as "The Terrorists" and Thereau John's murderous legion of zealots dubbed "The Salvation Army". Featuring a protagonist named Winston Churchill (but not THAT Winston Churchill) is also a nice WTF moment. We also find out about other conflicts touching on the Civil War, such as France's Fronde. One of the most interesting things is how one realises just how a few stray bullets in the Civil War battles would have changed history (just as with the First World War). Figures who in OTL played big roles in Restoration England thirty years later are killed young in TTL, while some who died survive. It's a fascinating story, and I for one hope Ed is eventually able to complete the trilogy.