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Liberating Atlantis Hardcover – December 1, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Followers of Turtledove’s Atlantis trilogy (Opening Atlantis, 2007; The United States of Atlantis, 2008; and this book) won’t be surprised that it concludes with an Atlantean Civil War. Nor will those familiar with Turtledove’s oeuvre be surprised that his expertise on the American Civil War makes the third book the trilogy’s best. To get a this-world fix on its animating conceit, imagine that Nat Turner was George Washington’s mulatto grandson, who, threatened with death, determined to be free and raised a formidable slave army. Such is what Frederic Ratcliff does in Atlantis, where the Slave Power isn’t as formidable as the American South was and racism isn’t as strong. Ratcliff and his Native American general, Lorenzo, face a respectable professional army led by hard-bitten Balthasar Sinapis, a European exile with a mysterious past. At the nominal head of that army on alternating days are pro-slavery consul Jeremiah Stafford and his anti-slavery partner, Leland Newton. Political bickering, effective guerrilla tactics, and unfamiliar terrain lead to a situation in which the army must negotiate peace or be slaughtered. Then the light dawns on both parties that fighting to decisive victory or defeat will ruin Atlantis for everyone. The Treaty of Slug Hollow is hammered out and presented to the Senate. More obstacles remain, and the Senate offers a mixture of horror-struck opposition, hair-tearing doubt, and sighs of relief. In the end, readers may, overwhelmingly, join in joyously launching their hats skyward. --Roland Green

About the Author

Harry Turtledove—the New York Times bestselling author of numerous alternate history novels, including The Guns of the South, How Few Remain, and the Worldwar quartet—has a Ph.D. in Byzantine history. Nominated numerous times for the Nebula Award, he has won the Hugo, Sidewise, and John Esthen Cook Awards. He lives with his wife and children in California.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Hardcover; First Edition edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451462963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451462961
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In The United States of Atlantis, Victor Radcliff led a revolt to liberate the island continent from its British masters (see The United States of Atlantis). During the revolt, Victor sired a son with a slave. However, decades after leading the USA to victory, his grandson from that improper union Frederick Radcliff is a well kept house slave owned by Henry and Clotilde Barford.

An incident with his vile owner Clotilde has him kicked out of the house and away from his beloved Helen into the field. Already questioning how the Founding Fathers including his paternal grandfather omitted liberty for so many, Frederick angrily has had enough. He flees, but not long after his desertion, he leads a growing slave insurgency. The powerful slave owners try to force their hand picked politicians to bring the forces of the USA to put down the rebels. However the Atlantis Senate remains divided as the two lead Consuls, abolitionist Newton of the North and slave holder Stafford of the South paralyze the government with their disagreement re the growing revolt. With the Union in peril of splitting apart a reluctant Newton finally supports sending troops to put down the revolt.

The third Atlantis tale (see Opening Atlantis) continues Harry Turtledove's sort of alternate American historical saga. The story line is filled with plenty of action, but is character driven. Stafford is Calhoun and Newton is Webster as they debate the merits of their respective position while a reluctant Radcliff leads the insurgency. All three are solid with strong beliefs that come across as genuine; ironically Radcliff with the most to gain and lose is the doubter of the trio. Fans will enjoy this deep look at the situation that led to the American Civil War and its aftermath through the lens of an enjoyable thought provoking alternate history.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third in the "Atlantis" series from Harry Turtledove which currently consists of

1) "Opening Atlantis"
2) "The United States of Atlantis"
3) This book, "Liberating Atlantis"

This series looks at the history of the United States through the prism of an alternative history world in which there is a large island or small continent in the mid Atlantic. The first book described the discovery of the island, named Atlantis, and its early history, which bore a remarkable resemblance to that of the US colonies up to about the seven years war. The second book essentially tells the story of the American War of Independence but translates it onto the island of Atlantis. This book tells the story of how slavery came to be abolished through a civil war in the mid-nineteenth century, though the parallels with real history are not nearly as close as in the second book.

During that second book, the character who corresponds to the historical George Washinton had an affair with a black slave girl, which resulted in the birth of a son.

"Liberating Atlantis" begins two generations later. Frederick Radcliffe, grandson of the general who defeated the |British and gained freedom for White Atlanteans, is a house slave on a plantation in one of the southern states of Atlantis. He doesn't usually dare use his famous surname within the hearing of his master or other whites because slaves are not supposed to have surnames.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A thing to keep in mind, though the book jackets don't make this nearly clear enough, is that Liberating Atlantis is the third novel in a trilogy. That said, while not qualifying quite as a stand alone, one doesn't HAVE to have read the first two novels.

Liberating Atlantis is Harry's vision of what would have happened had Southern slaves in our country taken up arms in an organized way and fought a revolution against their white enslavers. The slave leading the uprising is Frederick Radcliff, grandson of Victor (the main character in the previous installment). He was born and raised a slave, and by middle age he was entrenched in his life there. Then, by an accident of fate (a warped floorboard), his life changed....and days later he took advantage of an outbreak of yellow fever, obtained a cache of guns, and started an uprising. Nat Turner, with better luck, in other words. The Atlantean army, led by Consuls Newton (a northerner sympathetic to the revolution) and Stafford (a fire eating southerner) is dispatched to fight him. The novel's inner monologues are from these three men, with their differing viewpoints.

And therein lies the issue: Those monologues, along with Radcliff's conversations with his chief advisor and his wife, and Newton and Stafford with each other, are so repetitive and one note as to be exasperating. Radcliff, when he's not talking about strategy, bitches about his life as a slave (understandable mind you), while Stafford keeps ranting about how blacks are inferior to whites and how dare they revolt. Newton is meant to be the one in the middle, the voice of reason, and while he pulls it off....well I got tired of it all after 200 pages. And that's not even halfway through the book. Add to that a telegraphed ending.....
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