From the master of alternate history comes an epic of the Second Civil War. It was an epoch of glory and success, of disaster and despair. Twenty years after the South won the Civil War, America writhed once more in the bloody throes of battle. Furious over the annexation of key Mexican territory, the United States declared total war against the Confederate States of America. And so, in 1883, the fragile peace was shattered.
But this was a new kind of war, fought on a lawless frontier where the blue and gray battled not only each other, but the Apache, the outlaw, and even the redcoat. Along with France, England entered the fray on the side of the South, with blockades and invasions from Canada.
Out of this tragic struggle emerged figures great and small. The disgraced Abraham Lincoln crisscrossed the nation championing socialist ideals. Confederate cavalry leader Jeb Stuart sought to prevent wholesale slaughter in the desert Southwest, while cocky young Theodore Roosevelt and stodgy George Custer bickered over modern weapons--even as they drove the British back into western Canada.
Thanks to the efforts of journalists like Samuel Clemens, the nation witnessed the clash of human dreams and passions. Confederate genius Stonewall Jackson again soared to the heights of military expertise, while the North's McClellan proved sadly undeserving of his once shining reputation as the "young Napoleon." For in the Second War Between the States, the times, the stakes, and the battle lines had changed . . . and so would history.
Once again, Harry Turtledove has created a thoroughly engrossing alternate history novel, a profoundly original epic of blood and honor, courage and sacrifice, set amidst the raw beauty of young America's frontier wilderness.
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April 28, 1998
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Excerpt from How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove
Excerpt: Chapter One: 1881 Buffalo bones littered the prairie south of Fort Dodge, Kansas. Colonel George Custer gave them only the briefest glance. They seemed as natural a part of the landscape as had the buffalo themselves a decade before. Custer had killed his share of buffalo and more. Now he was after more dangerous game. He raised the Springfield carbine to his shoulder and fired at one of the Kiowas fleeing before him. The Indian, one of the rearmost of Satanta's raiding party, did not fall. Custer loaded another cartridge into the carbine's breech and fired again. Again, the shot was useless. The Kiowa turned on his pony for a Parthian shot. Fire and smoke belched from the muzzle of his rifle. The bullet kicked up a puff of dust ten or fifteen yards in front of Custer. He fired again, and so did the Kiowa. The Indian's Tredegar Works carbine, a close copy of the British Martini-Henry, had about the same performance as his own weapon. Both men missed once more. The Kiowa gave all his attention back to riding, bending low over his pony's neck and coaxing from the animal every bit of speed it had. "They're gaining on us, the blackhearted savages!" Custer shouted to his troopers, inhibited in language by the pledge his wife, Libbie, had finally succeeded in extracting from him. "Let me and a couple of the other boys with the fastest horses get out ahead of the troop and make 'em fight us till the rest of you can catch up," his brother suggested. "No, Tom. Wouldn't work, I'm afraid. They wouldn't fight--they'd just scatter like a covey of quail." "Damned cowards," Major Tom Custer growled. He was a younger, less flamboyant version of his brother, but no less ferocious in the field. "They bushwhack our farmers, then they run. If they want to come up into Kansas, let 'em fight like men once they're here." "They don't much want to fight," Custer said. "All they want to do is kill and burn and loot. That's easier, safer, and more profitable, too." "Give me the Sioux any day, up in Minnesota and Dakota and Wyoming," Tom Custer said. "They fought hard, and only a few of them ran away into Canada once we'd licked them." "And the Canadians disarmed the ones who did," Custer added. "I'll be--dashed if I like the Canadians, mind you, but they play the game the way it's supposed to be played." "It's cricket," Tom said, and Custer nodded. His younger brother pointed south. "We aren't going to catch them on our side of the line, Autie." "I can see that." George Custer scowled--at fate, not at the family nickname. After a moment, the scowl became a fierce grin. "All right, by jingo, maybe we won't catch them on our side of the line. We'll just have to catch them on theirs." Tom looked startled. "Are you sure?" "You'd best believe I'm sure." The excitement of the pursuit ran through Custer in a hot tide. Whatever consequences came from extending the pursuit, he'd worry about them later. Now all he wanted to do was teach the Kiowas a lesson even that sneaky old devil Satanta wouldn't forget any time soon. He shouted over to the regimental bugler: "Blow Pursuit." "Sir?" the bugler said, as surprised as Tom Custer had been. Then he grinned. "Yes, sir!" He raised the bugle to his lips. The bold and martial notes rang out across the plain. The men of the Fifth Cavalry Regiment needed a moment to grasp what that call implied. Then they howled like wolves. Some of them waved their broad-brimmed black felt hats in the air. From long experience, the Kiowas understood U.S. horn calls as well as any cavalry trooper. Their heads went up, as if they were game fear-ing it would be flushed from cover. That's what they are, all right, Custe