AMERICAN EMPIRE: BOOK ONE Twice in the last century, brutal war erupted between the United States and the Confederacy. Then, after a generation of relative peace, The Great War exploded worldwide. As the conflict engulfed Europe, the C.S.A. backed the Allies, while the U.S. found its own ally in Imperial Germany. The Confederate States, France, and England all fell. Russia self-destructed, and the Japanese, seeing that the cause was lost, retired to fight another day. The Great War has ended, and an uneasy peace reigns around most of the world. But nowhere is the peace more fragile than on the continent of North America, where bitter enemies share a single landmass and two long, bloody borders. In the North, proud Canadian nationalists try to resist the colonial power of the United States. In the South, the once-mighty Confederate States have been pounded into poverty and merciless inflation. U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt refuses to return to pre-war borders. The scars of the past will not soon be healed.
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June 25, 2002
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Excerpt from Blood and Iron (American Empire, Book One) by Harry Turtledove
When the Great War ended, Jake Featherston had thought the silence falling over the battlefield as strange and unnatural as machine-gun fire in Richmond on a Sunday afternoon. Now, sitting at the bar of a saloon in the Confederate capital a few weeks later, he listened to the distant rattle of a machine gun, nodded to himself, and took another pull at his beer.
"Wonder who they're shooting at this time," the barkeep remarked before turning away to pour a fresh whiskey for another customer.
"Hope it's the niggers." Jake set a hand on the grip of the artilleryman's pistol he wore on his belt. "Wouldn't mind shooting a few myself, by Jesus."
"They shoot back these days," the bartender said.
Featherston shrugged. People had called him a lot of different things during the war, but nobody had ever called him yellow. The battery of the First Richmond Howitzers he'd commanded had held longer and retreated less than any other guns in the Army of Northern Virginia. "Much good it did me," he muttered. "Much good it did anything." He'd still been fighting the damnyankees from a good position back of Fredericksburg, Virginia, when the Confederate States finally threw in the sponge.
He went over to the free-lunch counter and slapped ham and cheese and pickles on a slice of none-too-fresh bread. The bartender gave him a pained look; it wasn?t the first time he'd raided the counter, nor the second, either. He normally didn't give two whoops in hell what other people thought, but this place was right around the corner from the miserable little room he'd found. He wanted to be able to keep coming here.
Reluctantly, he said, "Give me another beer, too." He pulled a couple of brown dollar banknotes out of his pocket and slid them across the bar. Beer had only been a dollar a glass when he got into town (or a quarter in specie). Before the war, even through most of the war, it had only been five cents.