More fantasy-history from the prodigious Turtledove production line (Into the Darkness, p. 218, etc.). This one's an American Civil War battle variant, with the author working hard to turn every familiar concept on its head. The kingdom of Detina is riven by civil war, the north having rebelled against the south and defiantly crowning Grand Duke Geoffrey as its king. In the warm north, flaxen-haired serfs—the land's natives who were enslaved by dark-haired invaders, now the ruling aristocracy—work the plantations. The northern soldiers, or knights, are generally superior, and wear blue. In the south, King Avram desires to reunite the country and free the northern serfs. The southerners are more numerous, but shopkeepers, not soldiers, wear gray. Both sides feature cavalry mounted on unicorns. The weapons of the conflict are crossbows, pikes, and suchlike medieval hardware; instead of firearms, both sides wield magic, and again the north has the edge. The generals of both armies communicate via crystal balls. Despite all this, matters proceed in fairly typical Turtledove fashion, with lots of talk and maneuvering, and very little actual fighting.
Turtledove has a following, but nevertheless: shrug, so what?