Friend, fellow author and blogger, and fount of esoteric and amazing knowledge, Alma Boykin, has brought out the first book in a new series she's calling 'The Powers'. This one's titled 'A Carpathian Campaign'.
It's an alternate-history approach to the Central European conflict during World War I. I found it fascinating, because I've studied something of that place and time. It can only be described as incredibly complex in the real world, never mind in fiction! Blood and cultural relationships built up over centuries of palace intrigue (in multiple palaces), open and clandestine warfare, invasion and counter-invasion, and religious clashes, made it a real melting-pot.
Alma has brought into this book something of her earlier 'A Cat Among Dragons' series, although she says you don't need to have read them in order to enjoy this one. On her blog, she described the new book like this:
Welcome to a Europe where Fredrick the Great didn’t keep Silesia, where Vienna still has its walls in 1914, and where both humans and non-humans quietly rule Eastern Europe.
“There won’t be a war this year. There wasn’t one in 1908, or 1909, or 1910, and the fussing in the Balkans doesn’t count.”
Or so István Eszterházy believes. In the world of the Powers, the ancient creatures that have worked with the great Houses for a thousand years and more, István knows that even if war comes, it will be fast, brief, and he’ll be on the winning side. And that cavalry rules the battlefield.
But 1914 is different.
I've already finished it, and I know I'll be re-reading it again soon, to savor the complexity of the interwoven story lines. She brings in supernatural and elemental forces and intertwines them with the progress of the First World War in a unique way.
I won't pretend that this is light reading, but if you enjoy fiction steeped in history, with newly added elements that make you stop and think now and again, this one's for you.