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Rally Cry (Lost Regiment, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
The premise of this series is that two regiments of the Union Army, in the waning days of the Civil War (1864, to be exact) , are seized transported to another planet by a mysterious tunnel of light. They land in an area occupied by medieval Russians brought there previously by the same mysterious mechanism. (Compare with Mark Twain's A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT, the inspiration for many a time-travel novel.) On the same planet are huge hordes of gigantic humanoid creatures who ride around the world from west to east and stop at various human settlements to demand tribute of two humans out of ten, whom they eat. The author never explains how so many of these horsemen can be fed by the numbers of humans available, even though they return only once every twenty years. In brief, the sturdy Yankee soldiers help the oppressed Russian peasants overthrow their feudal overlords and mount a successful war against the Tugars, as this particular horde is named. Yankee ingenuity enables them to build steam locomotives and railroads for them to run upon, plus other state-of the-art technology of the 1860s.
Unfortunately, the Tugars are only one of a number of similar hordes, each one of which must be debated in turn. Many members of the original 35th Maine and 44th New York Light Artillery are lost in each war, as well as the other humans who have joined their cause, and there are colonies of ancient Romans, Carthaginians, Chinese, Maya...all snatched up by the same tunnel of light. I forgot to mention that the Americans establish a republic based on the American model.
For me the greatest pleasure lies in the author's excursions into technology (I am a buff of steam power and weaponry). And the story does engage one as victory is repeatedly snatched from the jaws of disaster. This is why I persevered through five books and want to read the subsequent ones.
I want to give it 2 stars because "I don't like it" is more appropriate than "It's okay," but that isn't fair for the amount of work and research and development and storycraft put in.
I don't want to do spoilers in a top-level review, but it should definitely be a "buyer beware" sort of thing. If readers can stomach the distasteful parts, it seems like there's a good story and multi-layered conflicts within. I just cannot bring myself to continue.
The premise is similar to Pournell's Janissaries books, but that was about a company of Americans in the 1960's. The notion is fantastic, but as both authors are excellent writers, the reader can only applaud.
William Forstchen has deeply and extensively researched the Civil War and his description of the organization, life, and operations of the marooned regiment are accurate. This may not be true of his portrayal of the Russians, but perhaps this improves the story by making the interaction with the new arrivals easier.
Forstchen's strongest points are his battle scenes and his clear prose. There is too much about the protagonists self-doubts and the book could have done either without "romantic interest" or with a more robust one. The ending is a little too good to be true, but this is the first volume only...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
He does sometime refer to someone by his first name and then later his last, which can be...Read more