Harry Turtledove, Liberating Atlantis Review

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Harriet Klausner's review of Harry Turtledove, Liberating Atlantis


“Liberating Atlantis ”

Written on: 17/10/2009 by Harriet Klausner (18660 reviews written)

Liberating Atlantis

Harry Turtledove

Roc, Dec 2009, $25.95

ISBN: 9780451462961

In The United States of Atlantis, Victor Radcliff led a revolt to liberate the island continent from its British masters (see The United States of Atlantis). During the revolt, Victor sired a son with a slave. However, decades after leading the USA to victory, his grandson from that improper union Frederick Radcliff is a well kept house slave owned by Henry and Clotilde Barford.

An incident with his vile owner Clotilde has him kicked out of the house and away from his beloved Helen into the field. Already questioning how the Founding Fathers including his paternal grandfather omitted liberty for so many, Frederick angrily has had enough. He flees, but not long after his desertion, he leads a growing slave insurgency. The powerful slave owners try to force their hand picked politicians to bring the forces of the USA to put down the rebels. However the Atlantis Senate remains divided as the two lead Consuls, abolitionist Newton of the North and slave holder Stafford of the South paralyze the government with their disagreement re the growing revolt. With the Union in peril of splitting apart a reluctant Newton finally supports sending troops to put down the revolt.

The third Atlantis tale (see Opening Atlantis) continues Harry Turtledove's sort of alternate American historical saga. The story line is filled with plenty of action, but is character driven. Stafford is Calhoun and Newton is Webster as they debate the merits of their respective position while a reluctant Radcliff leads the insurgency. All three are solid with strong beliefs that come across as genuine; ironically Radcliff with the most to gain and lose is the doubter of the trio. Fans will enjoy this deep look at the situation that led to the American Civil War and its aftermath through the lens of an enjoyable thought provoking alternate history.

Harriet Klausner

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