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Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Opening Atlantis Kindle Edition
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The basic premise is that there is another small continent or very large island in the middle of the North Atlantic, with massive natural resources, and which at the time of its' discovery by European fishermen in the late middle ages (in the 15th century) had no indigenous human population.
The new land, named Atlantis after the legendary lost continent, is fertile and quickly settled by British settlers, with French, and Spanish settlements further south. The continents which we call North and South America are found a few years later at about the time they were really discovered, and named "Terranova" (e.g. "New Land"). Their history from that point, judging by tangential references in the book, appears to follow roughly the same track as in real history. But the main emphasis in this novel is on the story of the first three hundred years of the colonies in Atlantis.
In form this book consists of three linked novellas set at the time of the Wars of the Roses, 17th century pirates and buccaneers, and the Seven Years War respectively. Each tells of a key stage in the development of the colonies in Atlantis, as seen through the eyes first of Edward Radcliffe, who founds the first English settlement in the new land, and then of his descendants.
Turtledove once wrote that alternative history provides a "funhouse mirror" through which we can take a different perspective on real history. He has put this into practice: others have described his novels as having taken their plots from actual events but with different historial and fictional individuals and races playing the same roles.Read more ›
This opening volume runs for 519 pages and is complete in itself, but does leave the door open for sequels.
It follows the history of the new world via several generations of the same family. The first two hundred pages deal with the initial colonisation. whilst the first hundred lack drama things soon change in the second half when an exiled noble from britain arrives and brings conflict to the first settlement. Do stick with this through those opening pages because it does become a fair bit of a page turner once the noble turns up.
the next part of the book is a one hundred page long story of a struggle between two cousins. one a pirate, and the other a respectable trader. the latter tries to bring the former down. this is a very engrossing tale of warfare.
as is the next part, a two hundred page section dealing with war breaking out in the new land between british and french and spanish settlers, as a result of similar happening in europe. the writing really considers how war would take place in such a setting, and the jungles and the strange creatures of the place are vividly described. two of the main characters in the part also have moral debates about slavery and then sovereignty, offering food for thought.
This does take a while to get going, but it then becomes another entertaining read from a master of the alternate history form. I look forward to The United States of Atlantis the forthcoming next volume