New Alternate History Book Review: Red Sky Blue Moon by Bruce Golden

Red Sky Blue Moon by Bruce GoldenBook Review by Darlene Santori

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484133226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484133224

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While the plot may seem well-worn, the setting and the circumstances surrounding Bruce Golden’s new book aren’t.  Red Sky, Blue Moon features an unusual bit of alternate history, wherein thousands of Earth’s inhabitants from various cultures are actually transported to another world.

Aliens who may have seeded the first life on Earth return eons later, collect humans in massive groups from various societies (along with animals from their environs), and transplant them on another world as a sort of science experiment.  More than a millennium later, these transplanted cultures have evolved differently than their forbearers who were left behind.

One of these cultures grew from the barbaric roots of Scandinavian Vikings, circa 10th Century Earth.  They have developed into a cutthroat corporate society in an early industrial stage.  The political machinations and corporate maneuvering combine to create an intriguing socio-cultural dynamic.  In addition, they’re racial purists to whom even the slightest birth defect or genetic disease is a social stigma.  Despite this, they are plagued by a cancer-like disease they call the “blight,” though few publicly acknowledge it when they find they’re stricken, because it’s a social blight as well.

When one corporation’s chief discovers the savages living on another continent have to trace of the disease, and also seem to have longer life spans, he plots to learn their secret–a secret which could bring him both wealth and power.

These “savages” as the “corporatocracy” thinks of them, were culled from various Native American Sioux tribes sometime in the early 18th Century.  They’ve only been on this world a few hundred years, and haven’t changed that much from the people of the plains most readers are familiar with.  It’s the juxtaposition of these two societies, and the conflict between them which forms the heart of this book (though the corporate Aesir are also in conflict with their lower-class Vanir workers).

As for the aliens who brought the humans to this world, their story is more of a footnote, told in journal-like excerpts in the prologue and at the beginning of some of the chapters.  Their eventual fate is a bit of a surprise.

The storyline of this book is somewhat predictable, but it’s the journey more than the destination that will enthrall readers.  Like his novel Evergreen,  this book is so rich in characters and detail that you won’t want to let it sit idle for too long, or you’ll forget who’s who and what’s what.  But it’s the attention to detail, and the marvelous world building, that make Red Sky, Blue Moon a completely enjoyable read.  That, and the fact that, like Golden’s other works, this book is fast-paced, moving through relatively short chapters, and keeping the reader hooked.  If you enjoy pages and pages of prosaic description, this book probably isn’t for you.  Golden is known more for his dialogue and authentic, memorable characters.  He doesn’t get bogged down with purple prose.  His scenes have more of a cinematic feel.

However, if you love world-building, this is the book for you.  Golden has taken the history, traditions, and cultures of the Sioux and the Vikings and woven them into a completely new world, much the way Frank Herbert used Islamic culture in Dune (not to say this book ranks with Dune).  And, a surprise at the end reveals they’re not the only Earth cultures kidnapped by an alien intelligence.

Red Sky, Blue Moon is an epic science fiction tale that should draw you in and hold your interest until the very end.  It’s the kind of book you want to read again a year later to see what intricate tidbits you might have missed the first time

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New Alternate History Book: Tannhauser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows by Robert Jeschonek

Tannhauser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows by Robert Jeschonek

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616611804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616611804

Available from

Available from

The year is 1954, and in a dark and violent alternate history, the Great War never ended. The forces of the Reich, led by the occult-obsessed Kaiser, have sold their souls to demonic powers as they scour the earth in search of paranormal weaponry. Meanwhile, President Edison has sanctioned the use of potent alien technology recovered at Roswell, in hopes of aiding the beleaguered Union in its fight against tyranny. As the war rages on, can anything – or anyone – tip the balance of power? Enter the Shogunate, a far-eastern warrior sect with their own shadowy agenda. When a small force led by “The Daimyo” Iroh Minamoto sets out toward the evergreen peninsula of Kamchatka, Union Major John McNeal and the 42nd Marines must discover their plans before it’s too late. To make matters worse, the nefarious Hermann Von Heizinger of the Reich’s Obscura Korps seems to be in league with the Shogunate. The race is on to control a weapon that could finally bring the Great War to its climactic end!

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Reviews of Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam (October 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0399157859
ISBN-13: 978-0399157851
Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 2 inches

Available from

Available from

I posted about Sharon Kay Penman’s new book Lionheart recently. So I thought now was a good time to see what the reviewers were saying about the book.

 Man of la Book certainly liked it – in particular noting the historical detail.

MisfitandMom loved the book as well, was not bored, but warned that it was not light reading – and we wouldn’t want that anyway would we?

Broken Teepee thought Lionheart was a deep and involving book and said that lovers of history would not be disappointed.

Raging Bibliomania also marveled at Penman’s historical detail and was enthralled by the politics and battles. They did wish though that more attention were given to the female characters.

So pretty good reviews all round from the blogosphere!

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