Great review. I know firsthand how difficult it is to write an ultimately positive review that still points out the flaws in the work when they exist, but you did it well. Since I love obscure/what if military conflicts I'll have to check this out myself.
That's such a great moment, the best of the 'and this is how the outside world is reacting to this' bits. The first book is so frustrating because there's quite a few genuinely good narrative scenes and then we're back to 30 pages of exposition.
But I'm very much enjoying your comments as you read it and hope you keep them up.
Book, repeatedly, earlier: "General Blandon was sent to the Oriente to sideline him"
General Blandon, now: "Obviously they needed a great genius to manage the whole Oriente but, and I'll grant you communication is slow, it almost seems like I've been sidelined......... nah, couldn't be. Still, better show up Alba by
only to find it's a lot harder when you say "WE COULD GO TO WAR" for ages and attack at the exact place Peru always knew you'd attack during the height of their mobilisation. "Chilean officers refuse to acknowledge difficulties"
Wait, no, here comes a coup, and now Alba's heelturning his way through the countryside's civilians and we get a truly nasty scene of Peru's General Markholtz attempting Operation Pawn Sacrifice with his conscripts. You do not want to be a Native Peruvian in this story.