A RAINBOW OF BLOOD THE UNION IN PERIL BY PETER G. TSOURAS

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Copyright 2010.

In the last book the Union had a decisive victory over the British Navy at Charleston. Only it proved a pyrrhic victory. The fleet was forced to abandon the blockade and British and French aid comes pouring into the South. In the north British forces still are poised in upstate New York and threaten New York City. Portland is under siege. Rosecrans army is also trapped in Chattanooga after the defeat at Chickimauga. The only bright spot is Sherman’s swift crushing of the Copperhead revolt in the Midwest. He becomes known as ‘hanging Billy’ for all the Copperheads hanged.

Further setbacks as the French army has a decisive victory in Louisiana over an incompetent Union general and liberates New Orleans. Sensing his chance Lee launches an all out assault on Washington with the backing of the Royal Navy. Luckily the Union has now gone all out in mobilizing the country. Patriotism is on the rise and tens of thousands flock to enlist or reenlist. Many that were on the fence or against the war change their minds. The Irish that resisted the draft are more than anxious to fight the British. Fifteen thousand join in one day in New York City. General Sharpe forms the Central Information Bureau to gather intelligence. New weapons like repeaters, gatlings and balloons are being produced. Russia decides to support the North and negotiate a treaty to enter the war. They are still upset at the humiliation of the Crimean war and see this as an opportunity to plant the cross on the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

Soon Lee’s attack on Washington is beaten back with the help of the coffee mill guns. A balloon manages to sink two Royal Navy ships from the air marking the beginning of aerial warfare. General Hooker the disgraced general of Chancellorsville has a chance at redemption. With the Army of the Hudson manages to deliver a defeat to invading British forces in upper New York at Clavernack. The Union sets in for a fight for the survival of the nation.

The second book sees plenty of battles. I love how Tsouras has such a grasp of the history of each unit in the fight. His battles come off with all the various things that can go right or wrong. The random chance that sees plans succeed or fail. The personalities that can overcome or impede victory. Plus we get to see Lincoln be a total badass when he bashed the head in of his would be assassin during the Battle of Washington. This is riveting reading and I just love this series.

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BRITANNIA’S FIST FROM CIVIL WAR TO WORLD WAR BY PETER G. TSOURAS

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Copyright 2008.

It is late 1863 and the Civil War is going good for the Union. Gettysburg and Vicksburg have dealt the South what seems crushing blows. Still Confederate raiders continue to plague northern shipping. This is abetted by the British government turning a blind eye to companies building the raiders. Laird Brothers are constructing two raiders for the South. Known as the Laird Brother’s rams the two ships have state of the art armored turrent and big metal battering rams mounted on the front just like ancient triremes of old. Such ships would be a serious threat to the Union’s commerce. Now in our time diplomatic pressure resulted in the British halting delivery of the ships. In this divergent timeline Lincoln decides to send a warship to intercept them as they leave port.

So the U.S.S Gettysburg intercepts the C.S.S. North Carolina. Only the action takes place in British waters and the H.M.S Liverpool attempts to stop the Gettysburg. A battle results that sinks the Liverpool. Now the North finds itself at war with Great Britain. Soon after Napoleon III enters the war against the North to protect France’s adventure in Mexico. To make matters worse the Copperheads those anti-war democrats rise up in the Mid-West and free thousands of Confederate prisoners. The British strike from the north and capture Albany and start setting the Hudson Valley to the torch. Maine is invaded but the presence of units lead by Gettysburg hero Chamberlain prevent the capture of Portland a vital railroad hub. Now the city is under siege. It ends with a spectacular battle to lift the blockade of Charleston between the British fleet and the North’s fleet of ironclad monitors.

This is the first in a trilogy dealing with an alternate history that sees Britain and France enter the Civil War. I am so glad that I found this series at Half Price because it is the finest alternate history I have ever read. Tsouras a former Army intelligence officer and military historian has replaced Harry Turtledove has my favorite in alternate history fiction. This book is an exciting read from beginning to end. The scenario is plausible and he uses real historical figures with fictional ones used sparingly. He has an extensive bibliography and even goes to the trouble of making up fictional sources for his alternate facts. He has the foresight to put those in italics so you don’t go searching for them.

He wisely decides to use two lesser known figures as the central characters. On the Union side General George H. Sharpe and the English Lt. Colonel Garnet Wolseley. Interesting both are heads of the intelligence services considering this background in that field. It is about how the Union was fighting tied with one hand tied behind it’s back. That many modern weapons like the Spencer repeater and Gatling gun were openly suppressed by the head of Army procurement General Ripley who had a distaste for ‘newfangled gimcracks’. Now with two of the greatest industrial and military powers in war against them the Union has no choice but to mobilize for total war using every new innovation to tip the balance. I absolutely loved this book and the other two in the series also kept me in suspense as we will see in future reviews.

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE ISSUE 521

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THE DOCTOR IS IN interview by Marcus Hearn

An interview with Jodie Whitaker the new thirteenth doctor. Not much to it as they wanted to keep her debut secret.

THE DOCTOR FALLS interview by Benjamin Cook

An interview with Rachel Talalay who directed the final of Peter Capaldi.

THE LAST BATTLE By Benjamin Cook

An article on the making of Twice Upon a Time the final episode for Peter Capaldi.

BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS Interview by Benjamin Cook

An interview with John Smith a Canadian special effects who did the Christmas special.

THE MAESTRO By Mark Ayres

Dudley Simpson who died in 2017 at 95 was a composer from Australia who did the music for episodes from the first to fourth doctor.

MELODY MAKER By David Huckvale illustrated by Sean Coleman

More on the scores of Dudley Simpson.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX By Matt Sanders

An account of recreating the old Tardis for the Christmas special.

THE PHANTOM PIPER By Scott Gray Artist: Martin Geraghty

The comic section on an ongoing story part three. The Doctor is on some planet trying to get help with a message on his Tardis.

MR. HARGREAVES Interview by Emily Cook

Adam Hargreaves does a popular childrens books featuring potato like characters. He is doing one for all the doctors.

THE FACE OF EVIL By Alan Barnes

A look at the making of the Tom Baker series The Face of Evil.

Plus reviews of episodes, books DVDs and merchandise that is upcoming.

So I are doing something a bit different is having a magazine instead of a book. A friend at work had an extra magazine and gave me it. So I finally got around to reading it. Basically it was so-so. The interviews and technical articles didn’t really interest me. I found the article on the Face of Evil the most interesting. Some of the reviews weren’t bad. Otherwise I don’t think magazines like this appeal to me.

OMEGA SUB 6 RAVEN RISING BY J.D. CAMERON

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Copyright 1992.

The Liberator has just picked up the two surviving families in New York. Now they are going to rendezvous with Perry and any survivors he picked up. The ship makes contact with some helicopters that are following them. They claim to be from the surviving Federal Government. A meeting is set up on an island in the Potomac. There Captain Donovan meets the new President Harry Murphy. Murphy was the former speaker of the house and now under the line of succession the President. At first Donovan is glad that the government still survives. He is taken to Raven Rock an underground facility where the COG(Continuity of Government) is located.

It becomes clear that the current President is a power mad dictator. He is drafting all the citizens he captures into his COG. Including Percy who is captured in Georgia. He has plans to brainwash the crew of the Liberator. Luckily Donovan and Percy manage to break out with freed prisoners and escape. They make it safely to the sub and threaten to nuke Raven Rock if they try to stop them. The cowardly President backs down but vows revenge.

The final book in the series went out on a high note. They find the government run by a power mad dictator. We find out the white-shirts were created by a chemical C-210 that was used during the war and somehow mutated. A subplot is resolved on their home island with the dogs being captured and peacefully domesticated. Indeed the story ends with them requesting Liberator bring back plenty of dog food.

A good solid series with potential in exploring an entire planet and having kooky adventures among the survivors. But the Soviet Union collapses and most of these type series evaporated into the mists of time. Apparently the threat of nuclear war was gone and publishers scrambled for other ways to end the world. So we never do find out the further adventures of the U.S.S. Liberator as it cruises the world helping survivors.

OMEGA SUB 5 DEATH DIVE BY J.D. CAMERON

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Copyright 1992.

The crew of the Liberator and colonists have settled down in their new home on the island of Espiritu. They run into a problem of some mysterious animals that are attacking and have killed someone. Donovan’s brother Charlie is left behind to deal with this threat as the sub takes off for New York. Finally they will rescue the survivors that they found out about. Along the way they have to battle a pod of radiation psychosis infected sperm whales. They go through the Panama Canal that is now opened thanks to their last visit when they nuked it open. Going along the East Coast they get another message of survivors. A group in Argyle Georgia are besieged by white-shirts. So Percy the executive officer and a seaman are dropped off to make it inland. They manage to find an old Chevy Chevelle and make it to Argyle. Only the compound has been overrun by white-shirts. They do manage to rescue a brother and sister from the crazed zombies. The Liberator reaches New York and in the nick of time rescue the two families from being overrun by white-shirts.

So the fifth book finally gets around to going and rescuing those two families trapped on an island in New York. Nice of them to finally get around to it and like any good cliche story they come in the nick of time. We find out the island they have established themselves on has a problem with a pack of killer dogs. It also establishes some mysterious survivors with sighting a helicopter and a brief radio broadcast. Otherwise not a lot happens in this book. Except of course getting the Liberator to the east coast and doing some more exploring.

OMEGA SUB 4 BLOOD TIDE BY J.D. CAMERON

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Copyright 1991.

The Liberator comes on a group of ships around a yacht. After chasing the boats off they board the yacht and find a man killed and woman barely alive after being raped and tortured. They also find the thirteen year old daughter hiding underwater to escape the attackers. They find out the boat was attacked by pirates from Borneo. The pirates attacked survivors on Funafuti in the Ellice Island chain. So they go there to check it out. While scouting the island Captain Donovan is captured. The pirates are from Borneo and lead by Pagon the Invincible. Pagon an educated man has plans for world domination starting in the south Pacific. His Golden Dawn is headquartered on Peleliu island. The crew of the Liberator manage a daring rescue and they nuke the pirates to end their threat.

So David Robbins is back writing and will finish off the series. I enjoy his writing and he crafts an enjoyable action tale. The sub is attacked by a flock of seagulls and it is theorized that animals as well as humans have been effected by the radiation psychosis. So we have had wolves, jaguars and sharks go nuts as well as seagulls. Interesting that Donovan seems to love using nukes to solve his problems. In the last three out of four books nukes have been employed quite casually. Hordes of psychotic white shirts in San Francisco. Nuke’em. Need to blast a hole in the Panama Canal. Nuke it. Need to wipe out crazy Bornean pirates. Nuke’em. Not complaining. I mean that is an effective way to deal with problems. I guess after a nuclear war there isn’t any need to restrain such behavior.

OMEGA SUB 3 CITY OF FEAR BY J.D. CAMERON

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Copyright 1991.

The Liberator continues its search for a base in the south Pacific. Meeting up with the colony ship that set out from San Francisco they stop at Papeete in Tahiti. The city is eerily deserted with signs of radioactivity that has dissipated. So taking some supplies the group heads out to Espiritu. There they find a suitable base. Occupied by its lone inhabitant Baltimore Jack a WWF wrestler that bought the island and retired there. With a base secured they get a message from survivors in New York. So the Liberator heads out to rescue them.

The sub goes to the Panama Canal to see if its still usable. The canal was heavily bombed during the war. It is now enlarged by 1 to 5 miles in some places. Half way through they come to their first obstacle a huge crater that blocks the canal forming a long waterfall. On the north shore are hordes of white shirts. The people afflicted with radiation psychosis. On the south shore is Ciudad Romanus the lavish citadel of President for life Romanus of Panama. Here they finds the dictator under siege from drug lords from Colombia out to get his gold. Now they have to fight off these crazies and radiation crazed jaguars.

So for the third book Michael Jahn returns to the series he started. This was another enjoyable story. This would be his last book for the series. Ones after would be written by David Robbins. Not sure why he didn’t continue on but I liked his work. We now have a permanent base for the Liberator. They decide to nuke the crater and open it up then wait a while for it to calm down before heading out to New York. The gold that the dictators were fighting over was radioactive so it was worthless. They picked up some quality machine guns and a micronuke unit. A small nuclear reactor build by the French for home use. Some other interesting facts about the future. The 1996 treaty that ended the Central American War made cocaine legal. The first year funded the revamping of the American education system. The second paid for a national healthcare plan. Oh and the NFL had an expansion team in Leningrad.

So Jahn ended the story with them finally sinking the German sub Nemesis but left it open that maybe the sub escaped. His ending was a sort of open ended final with Donovan and the crew of the Liberator having many adventures that became legend.