From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The first of a projected two-volume series, Flint's witty, tightly written alternative history presents a subtly revised version of events in the final year of the War of 1812. In March 1814, in the Mississippi Territory, Gen. Andrew Jackson's Tennessee Militia and Cherokee warriors fight a decisive battle against the Creek Indians. In August, a young Sam Houston, the adopted son of a Cherokee chief, arrives in Washington in time to help defend the Capitol building from invading British troops. The British fail to reach Fort McHenry, but they do get to New Orleans, where they adopt a slightly more intelligent plan of attack than in reality. While the enlightened political and racial attitudes of some white characters may seem unrealistic, such views weren't unheard of even in the South before significant expansion west and the emergence of the cotton kingdom. Flint (1632
) offers historical figures rarely seen in fiction, such as James Monroe, in pre-Doctrine days, and the British general Robert Ross (not
killed outside Baltimore); thorough scholarship in Napoleonic-era warfare; and strong, credible women. Fans will cheer even louder if this outstanding start turns out to be the first of a long saga. 6-city author tour. (May 17)
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Flint's new alternate-history saga explores the possibility that the Trail of Tears never occurred by depicting a thoroughly different War of 1812. It begins with Andrew Jackson's campaign against the Creeks, in which the Cherokees fought on Jackson's side. Young Sam Houston, an adopted Cherokee, and Patrick Driscol, an Irish rebel and Napoleonic Wars veteran, are sent to Washington, arriving just before the British do. Though Flint does not eliminate the "battle" of Bladensburg (alas!), his British don't burn Washington and never get to Fort McHenry. They do get to New Orleans, however, where, despite a more intelligent plan of attack than Pakenham actually used, Jackson repels them with the aid of some free black naval gunners, the Cherokees, Houston, and Driscol. And Flint's Pakenham survives. Flint has thoroughly mastered storytelling, and his characterization is masterly. His characters, historical and invented, are plausible for the time and place, and he makes neither an icon nor a demon of anyone. Irresistible for Flint's 1632 series fans and, indeed, for alternate-history buffs in general. Frieda MurrayCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved