One of my wargaming heroes is Chris Stoesen - blogger, historian, researcher, scenario writer and all around good egg can now add novelist to his resume.
CSS Appomatox is an altnerate history novel set in a world where the Confederacy won the American Civil War. In Chris’ carefully thought out and quite plausible version of events, the Confederacy has made its own peace with its past. Slavery is abolished and blacks even serve in the CSA military. The South has established an uneasy cold war peace with the North, and forged alliances with some of the European powers including Spain, except for Germany, a Northern ally. This book begins as Germany picks a fight with Spain over her Caribbean holdings, Cuba and Puerto Rico. The Confederacy commits her newest technology, an armed airship, to stop the German expeditionary forces. I need to be careful that I say airship and not balloon. It is definitely not a balloon.
The hero of the novel is Thomas Devareaux, a tough and technologically minded naval officer who is luckier in war than he is in love. He has a series of adventures in the air and on the land, and is supported by a crew of sailors, marines, technical wizards and shadowy intelligence operatives. I won’t spoil the plot for you.
CSS Appomatox reminded me a little of the alt-history novels of Harry Turtledove, except with a much tighter focus on a small cast of characters. I won’t flatter Chris by competing him further to the likes of a writer like Turtledove. There are some rough edges to his style, and you definitely know that you aren’t reading the work of a professional writer. However, how many of us can say that we’re written a novel? Probably a lot fewer than the number of us who have wanted to write one.
CSS Appomatox is self-published and available on Amazon as an e-book. It’s as cheap as chips so treat yourself to a copy in your e-stocking.
Reading Chris’ book makes me want to order the Avalanche Press title Zeppelin from its Great War at Sea series and put some warships against giant balloons … not balloons, Zeppelins! Zeppelins! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
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