Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review # 288: The Phoenix Gambit by Douglas McDonough

Description: (from Amazon)
An alternative history of the Confederacy...
      The Confederate States of America, faced with almost certain defeat, embarks on a dangerous and deadly course of action in order to survive. The Phoenix Gambit is a riveting tale of diplomatic intrigue, political assassination, and complex military maneuvers. An international cast of historical figures interact on a continent spanning stage as desperate combat rages. The final battle for the survival of the new confederacy is fought between armies commanded by the legendary generals Robert E. Lee and George Armstrong Custer.


     Alternative histories are not one of my favorite books in the historical fiction genre, I much prefer renditions that are "true-to-history". That being said, I actually found The Phoenix Gambit an interesting twist to Confederate history. I could tell that author, Douglas McDonough, was very passionate about the Civil War and its players, his attention to detail in his characters, dialogue, and setting, (especially on the battlefield), definitely had an impact on my overall interest. The book was slow to start, but after I got to know a few of the characters, (of which there were very many), the pace started to pickup. The story-line was well-plotted, albeit confusing at times, however, I did manage to keep up with what was going on for the most part. I feel like I would have enjoyed certain sections more if I had a better background in Civil War history; I am pretty knowledgeable about Gettysburg because I live close and have relatives that fought there, but I am not too good with names, dates, battle locations, and so on. History buffs and those interested in the Confederacy will probably enjoy The Phoenix Gambit and its upcoming sequel, A Manifest Destiny,  but those with no Civil War background may find the story and its participants hard to follow. I also found several punctuation errors that could add to the reader's possible confusion. I liked the book, but I don't think that I will be going after the sequel. I did enjoy the author's writing style, but I still believe alternative histories are not for me.

Rating: Bounty's Out (3/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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