Monday, 16 December 2013

REBELS & DESPERADOS -the 1st review

As an independent writer, I live for moments like this- the first review of REBELS & DESPERADOS.

By Jim Fraiser

It’s 1888, when a delicate peace exists between the Confederate States of America and the United States of America, the latter having been vanquished in 1863 after a Rebel victory at Gettysburg. CSA President James Longstreet manages a Confederacy that has freed its slaves, annexed California and taken north Mexico by force, calling it State of South Texas. Britain, still at war with France, controls Canada, except for a lawless region including Alberta, Montana and several other American and Canadian states. This area is called the Disputed Zone, or the Cauldron, a haven for outlaws, desperados, rebels and renegade Indians.
If this wildly creative setting is not enough to grab your attention (it certainly caught mine!) then the unique plot certainly will. It concerns the meanderings through the aforesaid hostile territories of CSA secret agent and train wrecker “Black” Judah Lee, his “dark angel” whore Bella, his compatriot Big Drake and Drake’s bigger wife Carmen, and Lee’s would be nemesis, soldier Lawrence Thorenson. Of course, the Mounties, Pinkertons as well as Confederate and American troops are hot on Lee’s trail, as he pursues a secret CSA mission. Along the way, there are shootouts, brothel sex (described once as “riding a wild bronco through a volcano”), elaborate duels, train and bank robberies, and much more wanton sex. Raunchy Western humor abounds, as with a character’s comment, “I’d f**# a snake if it had ears,” explaining that the ears would give him something to hang onto!
Injected into the fiction are historical characters such as Longstreet, his Vice President Nathan Bedford Forrest, and former CSA Generals Jubal Early and George Pickett, who wage one of this ebook’s most intriguing duels. And there’s the Confederate battleship, Jefferson Davis.
The body count and carnage are prominent characters in this wild shootout, and the dialogue is as salty as that of any other book ever written. But the action is non-stop, the story riveting, and the weird mixture of alternate history and western story such that I read the whole thing through in one sitting.
There are even accompanying maps and wanted posters to augment the wild men and often even wilder women. A few mis-steps occur to be sure, e.g., rare editorial lapses and the fact that Bedford Forrest was never such an elegant speaker. But this is fiction, after all, and alternative historical fiction to boot.
If you like a really wild west, a plot that moves like a nuclear locomotive, and well-drawn, bizarre characters mingling with real-life ex-Confederate generals, this is the story for you!