9780345464071

The Grapple (Settling Accounts, Book Three)

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780345464071

  • ISBN10:

    0345464079

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2007-06-26
  • Publisher: Del Rey
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Summary

"A profoundly thoughtful masterpiece of alternate history." Booklist It is 1943, the third summer of the new war between the Confederate States of America and the United States, a war that will turn on the deeds of ordinary soldiers, extraordinary heroes, and a colorful cast of spies, politicians, rebels, and everyday citizens. The CSA president, Jake Featherston, seems to have greatly miscalculated the North's resilience. But as new demonic tools of killing are unleashed, secret wars are unfolding. The U.S. government in Philadelphia has proof that the tyrannical Featherston is murdering African Americans by the tens of thousands in a Texas gulag called Determination. And the leaders of both sides know full well that the world's next great power will not be the one with the biggest army but the nation that wins the race against nature and scienceand smashes open the power of the atom. "Turtledove never tires of exploring the paths not taken, bringing to his storytelling a prodigious knowledge of his subject and a profound understanding of human sensibilities and motivations." Library Journal "One of the strongest books in the extended series." sfsite.com "Compelling." Publishers Weekly

Author Biography

Harry Turtledove is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy. His alternate-history works have included several short stories and novels, including The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; The Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; Settling Accounts: Return Engagement, and others. He is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts

I

Funereal music poured out of the wireless set on Brigadier General Clarence Potter’s desk. For three days, Confederate stations had played nothing but somber tunes and even more somber commentaries praising the courage of the army whose survivors had just surrendered in Pittsburgh.

Potter’s mouth twisted. Behind steel-rimmed spectacles, his cold gray eyes flashed. That army should have taken Pittsburgh away from the damnyankees. With their great industrial center gone, the USA should have had to make peace. From everything the Intelligence officer knew, Pittsburgh was a wreck. That would hurt the United States. But the army that should have conquered it was gone, every man a casualty or a prisoner. That would hurt the Confederate States even more.

The latest dirge-tempo march ended. An announcer came on the air. “Courage, self-denial, modesty, and the willingness to make every sacrifice are the highest virtues of the Confederate soldier,” he said. “It was not the lust for conquest which caused the Confederacy to take up arms. This war was forced upon us by the destructive aims of our enemies.”

Well, what else could the man say? If he came right out and announced that Jake Featherston wanted to go to war long before he became President of the CSA, it wouldn’t look good. Potter knew perfectly well that it was true. He also knew that what was true and what made good propaganda often had not even a nodding acquaintance with each other.

“Our soldiers are completely imbued with the importance and the value of the ideas now championed by the Freedom Party,” the announcer said. For better and for worse, Potter knew how true that was. The announcer went on, “The Confederate soldier is convinced of them to the very depths of his innermost being, and that is why the Confederate armed forces form an invincible bloc having as its spiritual foundation the sublime ethics of a soldierly tradition. It is, moreover, inspired by belief in its high mission of protecting the Confederate States against the longtime enemy to the north, the enemy who would gladly deny our great nation its very right to exist.”

Again, he wasn’t wrong. This was the fourth war between the USA and the CSA in the past eighty years. But if the Confederates were so bloody invincible, what went wrong in Pennsylvania? Potter, a confirmed cynic, would think of something like that. Would the average Confederate who was listening? Maybe not.

“We see the most magnificent example of this in the sacrifice of the troops fighting at Pittsburgh,” the announcer went on. “That let our armies farther west build up new dams to hold back the raging Yankee torrent and continue to preserve the Confederacy from the annihilating rule of the USA. Cut off from all possibility of receiving reinforcements, surrounded by implacable foes, they fought on with bayonets and entrenching tools after their ammunition was exhausted. Truly their courage and devotion will live forever.”

The music swelled once more: yet another sorrowful tune. Potter sighed. Putting a good face on disaster was always hard. He wondered why he kept listening. Knowing what the rest of the country was going through was useful. That had something to do with it. The rest was akin to picking at a scab. The pain held a perverse attraction.

He started a little when the telephone rang. Turning down the music, he picked up the handset. “Potter here.” If anybody needed to know what he did, that person had got hold of him by mistake.

“Hello, Potter there.” The voice on the other end of the line was a harsh rasp every Confederate citizen recognized at once. “I need you to be Potter here, soon as you can get on over.”

“Yes, Mr. President. On my way.” Potter hung up. He turned o

Excerpted from The Grapple by Harry Turtledove
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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