Tag Archives: Harry Turtledove

Salamis by Harry Turtledove Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two men and the neutral country they call home are caught in the midst of a legendary battle between two warring Marshalls of Alexander the Great in author Harry Turtledove’s historical fiction novel, “Salamis”. 

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The Synopsis

In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great’s marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos’ son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refuse his offer.

Menedemos and Sostratos take the Aphrodite to Egypt for business…and to tell Ptolemaios what has been going on. Just before they leave, they learn Demetrios has invaded the island of Cyprus, which Ptolemaios dominates. He is advancing on the southeastern town of Salamis, where Ptolemaios’ brother, Menelaos, has concentrated his forces.

After they pass on their news, Menedemos does business in the brash new city of Alexandria while Sostratos travels up the Nile to old, old Memphis to trade there, and to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Ptolemaios, meanwhile, readies a fleet to rescue his brother and drive Demetrios back to Asia Minor.

Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing the Aphrodite along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world’s greatest naval battles. 

The Review

A wonderful deep-dive into ancient history, author Harry Turtledove has done it again with a stellar novel. The balance the author achieves with the historical background and events of the war between Ptolemaios and Demetrios and the personal relationships and struggles of the protagonists Menedemos and Sostratos is remarkable. War was an all too common event in this period of history, and getting to know the characters personally who were caught in the midst of this war was fascinating to see unfold.

The author’s use of imagery shone brightly in this narrative, with the cities of Salamis, Alexandria, and Memphis coming to life and exploring pivotal locations in Ancient Greece and Egypt. As a history fan, exploring the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s passing as his successors fought over who deserved to rule over the empire he had built was amazing, and giving the role of protagonist to a small historical figure and a fictitious character both was an inspired choice. 

The Verdict

Enthralling, action-packed, and historically driven, author Harry Turtledove’s “Salamis” is a must-read historical fiction novel. The fifth of the Hellenic Traders Universe that the author has crafted around Menedemos and Sostratos was a massive success, with an evenly-paced narrative and engaging characters that made the story come to life as one of history’s greatest battles became the stage for this plot to come to life. From the way, society ran during those days in places like Rhodes to the bond between a family being tested, especially for Menedemos, made this a truly entertaining read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed “The Master of Alternate History”. Within this genre he is known both for creating original scenarios: such as survival of the Byzantine Empire; an alien invasion in the middle of the World War II; and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by other authors, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War; and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream. His style of alternate history has a strong military theme.

https://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/turtledove.html

And the Last Trump Shall Sound by Harry Turtledove, James Morrow and Cat Rambo Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Three authors share a very relevant collection of short stories that showcase the horrors that await the United States if division continues to take hold in the novel “And the Last Trump Shall Sound”. 

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The Synopsis

Set in the near future, And the Last Trump Shall Sound is prophetic warning about where we, as a nation, may be headed. A politically torn nation watches as the Republicans solidify their hold over the US with a series of electoral victories and judicial appointments. Mike Pence leads the country, succeeding Donald Trump as the flag-bearer of an increasingly dogmatic movement.

There are parts of the country, however, that cannot abide by what they view as a betrayal of the nation’s founding principles. At what point do these communities break down and the unthinkable suddenly becomes the only possible solution…the end of the Union.

Harry Turtledove, James Morrow, and Cat Rambo give us three novellas, each following the other, describing the frightening possible consequences of our increased polarization–a dire warning to all of us about where we may be headed unless we can learn to come together again.

The Review

This was a marvelous, eye-opening, and engaging mixture of historical fiction/dystopian future novels with a “what if…” twist. The narratives each author brought to life capture the raw emotion and power that this world’s division has created in recent years, and showcases how the world and in particular the United States could look like if events continue to unfold the way they are. 

From a future that sees the West Coast states seceding from the Union to the leader of the free world turning portions of the United States into a religious-run state and the “resurrection” of the man who started it all, these author present ideas and futures which could prove to be our future. The way the authors write captures the emotion of our nation as it stands now: confusion, frustration, anger, and sadness all extend over us all right now. 

The Verdict

Fast-paced, engaging, and detail-oriented in its delivery, the authors give readers a marvelous yet haunting look into what the United States could become. In the face of racial tension, immigration horrors, pandemics and so much more, the American Empire as it stands could look drastically different in just a couple of decades. Utilizing real political and historical figures into a well-developed fictional political satire, these authors have delivered a memorable novel that cannot be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

James Morrow

“Watch out for James Morrow: He’s magic” is how The Washington Post’s Ron Charles describes the author.

Janet Maslin of The New York Times call him “a novelist of intellect, bravado and wildly phantasmagorical imagination.”

James Morrow’s fiction always presents an original (frequently outrageous and eccentric) take on any subject he tackles, often using satire to bring his point home. Much of his work has received high praise, not only from within the science fiction community but from the mainstream literary world as well.

Russian translations of his novel, Only Begotten Daughter, and collection, Bible Stories for Adults, led to him being invited to participate in the Fifteenth International Tolstoy Conference.

James Morrow calls State College, Pennsylvania, his home, where he resides with his wife, his son, and an enigmatic sheepdog and a loopy beagle.



Harry Turtledove

Dubbed as “The Master of Alternate History” by Publishers Weekly, Harry Turtledove has written a number of classic bestsellers in the subgenre, including How Few RemainThe Guns of the South and The Man with the Iron Heart.

He uses his study of history (with a Ph.D in Byzantine history) to create alternate worlds in intricate detail; crafting enthralling adventures that have garnered him high critical praise as well as making him one of the most successful bestselling authors in alternate history.

Turtledove has won, or been nominated, for nearly every major award in science fiction (multiple times, for many) including the Hugo, Nebula, Sidewise (alternate history), Homer (short stories), The John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction and the Prometheus Award.

Many consider him to be one of the most distinguished authors of alternate history to have ever written in that sub-genre―he is certainly one of the most critically acclaimed.

Harry Turtledove is married to novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters, Alison, Rachel and Rebecca.

http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/turtledove.html



Cat Rambo

Cat Rambo is a prolific science fiction and fantasy writer of short stories. Her two hundred plus stories have appeared in many anthologies and magazines including Asimov’sClarkesworld, and Tor.com.

She has been nominated for the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award, and been a finalist for the Million Writers and the Compton Crook Awards, as well as been on the Locus Recommended Reading List.

Cat was the co-editor of Fantasy Magazine from 2007 to 2011 and is a past President (two terms) of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She lives and teaches in the Pacific Northwest.