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THE RIVERS OF WAR by Eric Flint

THE RIVERS OF WAR

By Eric Flint

Pub Date: May 17th, 2005
ISBN: 0-345-46567-9
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

First of a two-volume alternate history saga from the author of 1632 (2000, etc.).

This installment, at least, features more true history than alternate. Readers without some detailed knowledge of the events and figures Flint uses—the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston—will have a hard time seeing where Flint’s plot diverges from reality, and even by the end no major changes have been rung. The irascible Andrew Jackson massacres the Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, as he actually did, and the young Sam Houston distinguishes himself in storming the Indian defenses. The British burn Washington, D.C., and Jackson defeats them in New Orleans, largely according to the script. Only a few scenes hint at greater divergences to come in the second installment. Otherwise, it’s simply battle after battle. Flint certainly has a knack for recounting military encounters and maneuvers, deftly mingling explication of strategy with pulse-quickening frontline action; but off the battlefield, his characters flirt with caricature, particularly Jackson, who storms and sputters and cries “Tarnation!” a lot.

A pleasant diversion for military history buffs, but other readers will likely desert.