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The Rivers of War (The Trail of Glory) Hardcover – May 17, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: The Trail of Glory
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (May 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345465679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345465672
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once upon a time, there was a famous American statesman named Sam Houston, who was very badly injured at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. His life changed very much for the worse, and he failed at everything he tried, even with the friendship and patronage of Andrew Jackson. Finally, after living with the Cherokee and watching them be forced on the Trail of Tears, he went to Texas and immortality.

Once upon a time, there was a writer of alternate history named Eric Flint, who decided that with one small change in history, he could plot a way around the Trail of Tears, the Mexican War and the Civil War. What was the change? Houston doesn't get as badly injured at Horseshoe Bend.

On this slender reed, Flint builds one of the best alternate histories ever written. Excruciatingly well researched, he picks real characters like Tiana Rogers (the Cherokee "princess" Houston married in the Original Time Line) and Andrew Jackson (who carried around a trunk full of general's hats so he could stomp on them when he got mad) and Major Ridge, one of the Cherokee leaders best known to the government in Washington.

Flint follows Houston to Washington, where he organizes the defense of the US Capitol against the British, and then to New Orleans, where he, and his sidekick Driscol (the Troll) figure importantly in the eponymous Battle.

This is the first of an alternate history series (at least a trilogy) which should take us well into the last half of the 19th century that might have been, had just one little thing been different.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit liked it, and well he should. You will too.

Take this book on your summer vacation. Don't say I didn't warn you if you spend your time indoors reading it.

Walt Boyes

The Bananaslug. at Baen's Bar
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Format: Hardcover
The Rivers of War (2005) is the first novel in an Alternate History series about the American Frontier. In 1814, Andrew Jackson attacked the Northern Creeks fortification at Horseshoe Bend; the first man over the wall was Ensign Sam Houston. A few months later, Winfield Scott led his brigade of outnumbered regulars against British veterans south of the Chippewa River bridge; the British were defeated, but retreated in good order. Later, Admiral Cochburn invaded Washington and burned the White House.

In this novel, Sam Houston receives only a minor flesh wound in the Battle of the Horseshoe. He becomes a protege of General Jackson and privy to his intentions. Reaching an understanding with Jackson, Sam discusses the situation with The Ridge, an influential Cherokee chief, and other Cherokees.

At the suggestion of Jackson, Captain Houston and Lieutenant John Ross take a party of Cherokees to Washington to discuss American policies toward the Southeastern indian tribes with Secretary of State Monroe. The group also includes the children and nephew of Major Ridge; Sam is charged with finding them suitable schooling. Tiana Rogers goes along just because she wants to.

Lieutenant Patrick Driscoll has also come to Washington to recover from his wounds. A former master sergeant, Driscoll finally accepted a commission after loosing his left arm above the elbow at the Battle of Chippewa. He is accompanied by Private Anthony McParland, a former deserter from the US Army who learned the error of his ways after an abortive execution.

Houston and Driscoll both witness the invasion of Washington by the British and they resolve to defend the city. Each starts gathering "the shattered fragments of disparate units" as US forces retreat toward Georgetown.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rivers of War suffers just a little from being a preliminary for what will likely be the main story in the second book. Nevertheless, it stands up pretty much on its own. The premise is that Sam Houston is only slightly wounded in a battle during the War of 1812 (in real history he was laid up for the rest of the war.) That starts a whole series of events that brings not only Sam Houston, but some of his Cherokee relations to the Battles of Washington and New Orleons and what promises to be a far kinder (and more exciting) fate for the Cherokee nations years later, which doubtless will be related in the second book. I'm looking forward to it.

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Format: Hardcover

"In 1814, we took a little trip..." This old Johnny Horton tune was about all I remembered about the War of 1812. Oh, and the British burned the White House.... You may be certain that you'll know a good deal more about this chapter of American history after you've read Flint's latest. And be very well-entertained en route.

Flint's aim in this first of a new series is to construct a plausible Native Nation on America's western frontier, from the Cherokees and the other four Civilized Tribes who were dumped into Indian Territory (now eastern Oklahoma) in the first half of the 19th century, with unhappy results in our timeline (though they're doing OK now). Flint makes it clear that, with the number of European immigrants pouring into the Southeast, the tribes were going to lose their land, one way or another. He's trying for a less-horrible eviction than the Trail of Tears. What if the Tribes moved 'voluntarily', with their cultures +/- intact, and developed a hybrid culture that would affect America for the good?

I'll be following the progress of this what-might-have-been saga with great interest -- particularly since my Scotch-Irish ancestors helped make this history, and picked up a little Cherokee blood en route.

I came away from _Rivers of War_ with a more three-dimensional mental portrait of Andrew Jackson, a major character here, and who I'd previously filed under "boorish rabble-rouser". He looks much better (or at least more complex) in Flint's portrayal. Most of his characters were historical figures (including Sam Houston, a protagonist), though Flint ceerfullyly admits to fleshing-out the less well-known ones to fit his story. His battle scenes are unflinching, and may be too graphic for some.
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